If you have an interest in photography, there may come a time when you consider turning your hobby into a business. Thousands of people do this successfully every year, but there are some things you have to understand before you quit your day job to work as a professional photographer. As well as being able to take great pictures, you’ll need to carry out many of the day to day tasks required to run a business. Sales and marketing skills are just as important as camera skills when you enter the competitive world of professional photography.
The following points will be of great help if you want to start a photography business.
1) Great camera skills are the foundation.
In the age of smartphones and cheap digital cameras everyone can take good photographs. Modem camera technology means it’s easy to produce correctly exposed and sharply focused pictures with little skill. This means that a professions photographer has to be able to produce work of exceptional quality.
Customers won’t be willing to pay for your work if they can take similar shots themselves. Being able to make the most of cameras and the features they offer is the foundation of professional photography. You must understand key camera skills such as how to select the right aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings in different lighting conditions.
2) Professional photography equipment is a must have.
Expensive cameras won’t make you a better photographer, but it’s a fact that cheap equipment produces poor-equality results.
Full-frame digtal SLR (DSLR) cameras are a minimum requirement for professionals. High end DSLRs are robust and reliable, and they produce consistent results. Cameras have to be able to stand a few knocks and exposure to the elements on professional shoots. It’s wise to carry a spare camera body when shooting a wedding or other important event.
3) Competition is intense in professional photography.
Making a living doing something you love has an obvious attraction, so thousands of people try to make it as a professional photographer every year. If you want to be a success, you have to stand out from the competition. Developing your own style is an effective way to build a following and attract regular work. Study the work of great photographers and artists, and you’ll begin to understand how to use composition, color and expression to create great pictures. As well as consistently producing great photographs, you have to give exceptional customer service and offer fresh ideas if you want to stay ahead.
4) Your pricing must deliver profit.
You may be doing something you love, but you have to charge the right fees. If you want to make a living as a photographer. Knowing how to price each shoot is something many photographers struggle with. Prices must take account of editing, travelling and other costs you’ll incur, as well as actually taking pictures. Check out the prices of other photographers to see what’s realistic, but don’t sell yourself short.
5) Building a portfolio helps you to build a business.
Potential customers will evaluate your work by looking at other pictures you’ve produced. Building and managing a portfolio allows you to showcase the best of your work on demand. This should be a continuous exercise, and updating your portfolio to reflect changes in style and improvements in the quality of your work means you keep things up to date. Print pictures to display in an album as well as sharing them on your website and social media accounts.
6) Technology in photography is constantly improving.
Some photographers avoid using technology as if it’s cheating in some way, but professionals should embrace every new tool and innovation available. Drones are a recent example, and customers are beginning to ask wedding photographers if they can produce aerial group shots.
Digital cameras are constantly improving, and new technology means they can shoot in low light and produce the kind of images past generations could only dream of.
7) You must be prepared to take on a range of work.
If you take photographs as a hobby, you can choose exactly what you shoot. This isn’t the case when you turn professional. Particularly when you’re starting out, you must be prepared to take on a range of jobs to pay the bills. Shooting local sports teams and events may not what attracts you to making money with your camera, but it’s a way to get your business known.
If you have an eye for photography and are prepared to develop camera and business skills, there’s nothing to stop you from turning professional. It may be a struggle at first, but good professional photogaphers are always in demand.