Turning any artistic hobby into a profession can be challenging for most, be it crochet, painting, digital art, or photography. Aside from the high competition, there a lot of paths you can take, and one is not always better than the other.
Nevertheless, becoming a professional photographer is not impossible, nor is it always very difficult. While there are no shortcuts to reaching success in your chosen career path, here are some strategies that can give you a great start into your career:
Address your weaknesses
Before you start your professional photography business, it’s best to identify and address your weaknesses first. Although you don’t need to be perfect or an expert at what you do, it’s always a good idea to ensure that you have the basics down pat (depending on the genres you intend to focus on). For instance, if you struggle with posing people and you plan to go into wedding or fashion photography, you may want to work on this skill before becoming a professional photographer
Consider marketing services
Not all of us have the knowledge nor skill to properly market our business to others, and marketing is one of the most important factors of an art-based business. Even if you have the best portfolio, you need to have a marketing plan in place to actually get people to see it.
If you are struggling with the marketing aspect of business, considering hiring a reliable marketing agency for photographers. This type of agency specializes in helping professional photographers show their work, advertise, curate their content, and reach potential clients in the best ways possible. Aside from that, they can help you design your website, which plays a bigger role in customers’ first impressions than your portfolio does.
Make a contract
In a photography business, establishing professional relationships with your clients is imperative. This takes more than just making small talk; you have to ensure that your agreements are on paper and that they know exactly what they can expect from your work.
Having a contract is a way to protect your business in case you and your client come into a disagreement. It is easier to prove terms if an issue arises; much easier compared to only having an oral agreement. Furthermore, it makes your business look more professional, and clients will have better confidence in you knowing the terms to which they are agreeing.
Get a contract template from a trusted business lawyer. Modify the template with each deal so that you don’t have to make a separate one for every client. This way, you can save time, money, and not have to deal with lots of paperwork.
Don’t invest in gear right away
If you have the means, go right ahead. But if you are working with a limited budget, stick to what you have and make the most of what your current gear allows. After all, skills are more important than your equipment.
However, if the equipment you are currently working with is not sufficient for the type of photography you want to do, consider renting before you invest in new gear. This is especially useful if you have to shoot something high-end that calls for better camera equipment. Furthermore, you get to test out different cameras to help you determine which one you should buy in the future when you are ready to invest.
Shadow another photographer
You may not be a beginner photographer, but professional photography may be a lot different from what you are used to. For instance, if you want to shoot weddings, do you know which spots to shoot from and how to interact with guests? Or which moments of the wedding do most couples want to capture?
Shadowing a professional photographer can help you make up for the lack of actual experience, especially for event photography. The last thing you want is to show up at your first job not knowing what to do, so it’s best if you build experience as an apprentice first.
Utilize social media
Using social media is one of the easiest and most effective ways to promote your photography business. Social media platforms are highly picture-centric, and by posting great photos, you can easily capture the attention of prospective customers who come across your content on their feeds.
Photography, just like other forms of art, can be profitable. Although building your business may be rocky at first, it is not all that difficult if you have the right strategies in place, starting with the ones mentioned here.