You love photography. Your photos have been complimented by tons of people, and some have even suggested you pursue photography as a career. But though you’re a dreamer, you know you’ve got to study something that’s going to make a living for you. You don’t want to live paycheck-to-paycheck all the time like other artists.
So, are there any jobs as a professional photographer that pay a living?
What is a Professional Photographer?
A professional photographer is a person who makes their living from taking photographs.
Professional photographers center their careers around the art of photography by charging clients for the time that is spent taking photos, editing the images, and the photos themselves.
Professional photographers are also able to earn money through the displaying and sell of their photos in galleries, through book anthologies, and other means.
Do Professional Photographers Have Associations or Unions?
There are a number of associations for photographers. One of the largest associations of professional photographers in the world is the Professional Photographers of America. It’s an organization which has over 29,000 members in 64 countries around the world.
This association helps its members by increasing its members’ exposure, increasing its members’ business, and increasing its members’ creative repertoire.
How to Become a Professional Photographer
Becoming a professional photographer is a career choice that anyone can choose. However, it’s a highly competitive field, and though it may not require a photography degree, it does require talent, and business savvy, as well as a drive for constant self-improvement in the art of photography.
There are ways that you can improve their chances of becoming a professional photographer, besides getting a degree, though a degree can improve your chances by teaching you skills you might not otherwise learn on your own.
- Research the best kinds of equipment and techniques that are used for the kinds of photos you want to take.
- Frugally obtain the equipment that is necessary to take high quality photographs.
- Take the time to get to know how your equipment works and how it can best be put to use.
- Acquire and then learn to use editing software.
- Make a portfolio that best captures you, your work, and the niche your work falls into.
- Make sure your potential clients can see who you are and how your work will result in their desired photographs.
- Never stop learning new skills.
- Take free seminars.
- Join photography groups.
Your Own Photography Business
Creating your own business is an important step in a career as a professional photographer.
You should employ several, or all, of these techniques for building your business.
- Get an internship with a professional photographer, studio, or advertising company that uses in-house photographers.
- Develop interpersonal skills to help with negotiating with customers.
- Create long-term goals, and the short-term steps used to reach those goals.
- Create a work schedule you can adhere to.
- Advertise your business.
- Be willing to take risks with new offers and opportunities outside of your comfort zone.
- Turn every opportunity into a chance to network.
Types of Photography and Photographers
Different types of photography require different types of photography techniques.
These techniques involve the correct use of lighting, angles, and high-quality lenses and other equipment.
There are many areas in which professional photographers may work:
- Commercial Photography
- Black and White Photography
- Travel Photography
- Food Photography
- Panoramic Photography
- Special Events – Such as weddings or graduations
- Crime Scene Photography
- HDR Photography
- Documentary Photography
- Candid Photography
- Motion Photography
- Still Life Photography
- Architectural Photography
- Fashion Photography
- Photography of Fine Art
- Time Lapse Photography
- War Photography
- Photography used in Advertisement
- Landscape and Nature Photography
- Wildlife Photography
- Beauty Photography
- Aviation Photography
- Macro Photography
- Underwater Photography
- High Speed Photography
Tips to Become a More Successful Professional Photographer
Some professional photographers have offered these tips to help others seeking photography as a career to succeed in this highly competitive business.
- Have a fantastic website that highlights your best images.
- Don’t be afraid to take hard jobs and set difficult goals.
- Know the questions to ask your potential clients.
- Respond to clients contacting you as soon as possible.
- Set aside and maintain times of the day for surfing the web for photography research and inspiration.
- Keep work and personal life separate.
- Keep a consistent work schedule.
Anyone Can Pursue Photography
Photography is a growing area that’s easy to get into. To succeed, however, you’ll need to do a variety of things to stay at the top of the knowledge base in the industry. Don’t be afraid to experiment, ask questions, spend a lot of time learning and researching, and trying out new techniques and ideas.
Overall, you’ll find more than two dozen forms of photography that may lead to a successful career. Experiment with these types to discover the areas of photography that most inspire you and allow you to succeed.