Over the years, I have been asked on many occasions 'how do I become a full-time photographer?' Unfortunately this is by no means a simple question to answer, so this is probably why I have taken so long to write this post.
Firstly, you would need to answer a few very important questions.
Do I love photography enough to:
- Give up a stable income?
- Work harder than ever before?
- Love the busy times and hold on during the quiet times?
- Commit 100%?
If your answer is a resounding YES to the above, then continue reading.
Now comes the time to make decisions and plan.
- Niche: What will you specialise in? Start off with a few ideas as you gain your knowledge and experience.
- Equipment: What equipment will you need to capture the images? Have a few key items to start. Photography equipment is expensive so do your research before any purchases.
- Software: What software do you need to handle the downloading, backups, culling and editing of the images?
- Location: Do you need a studio for your photography? Some specialities will need a studio whilst others not.
- Education: What education will you need to invest in to pursue your craft? Bear in mind that you will need to learn photography and editing skills.
- Business: If you are wanting to start your own business (instead of pursuing photography internships) then you will need to do your research as well as decide on name of business, location and overall brand. You will also need to have a website, dedicated email address and social media presence. This all takes a lot of thought and planning so best not to rush this task.
- Research: Speak to others in the industry and listen to their valuable advice. Find a mentor if possible.
- Pricing: Once again, do your research and work out your starting point. Be realistic but don't undervalue YOUR time.
- Income Streams: Have alternative income streams especially for those dreaded quiet times This can be by selling photo stock, teaching workshops, creating photo content for various sites and much much more.
- Workflow: Create a quick clean workflow so that you can deliver your images quickly and efficiently.
- Portfolio: Build your portfolio and place onto your new website and social media platforms. This is a great way to promote your new business.
- Networking: Network with others whether in the photography industry or not. The more people you meet, the better. It is all about visibility.
- Competition: There is a lot of competition in the industry so you will need to stand out from the crowd. Don't let this be your too-low-price. Let this be your fabulous work, customer service and your excellent turnaround time. Make each client feel like a V.I.P.
- Trends: Constantly do research on photography fashions and trends. Even if the current styles are not your cup of tea, always be aware of what is happening. These trends may inspire you in different ways.
- Keep learning: To become a photographer is not a destination but rather a lifelong exciting journey. Continually improve your skills and style.
- Critic: Be your only and OWN worst critic. You must be proud of your work.
- Hold On: It takes time to become established, so don't expect everything to happen overnight. Many of our favourite and well known photographers have been in the industry for ten + years.
If becoming a photographer is your dream, then nothing and nobody will stop you from pursuing your dream, working your dream and loving each and every day come what may.