So many professions start out as a hobby, and in the modern-day working climate where more people are working from home and starting their own businesses as opposed to sticking to a 9-5 job, it’s no wonder aspiring photographers are growing in numbers. But it’s one thing to devote your time and passion to doing something purely out of joy, and everything changes once you decide to make it your career. Although a challenging endeavor, it’s far from impossible, and if you truly wish to turn your talent into a day job, there are several key steps you’ll need to take in order to succeed.
Get the right gear
Most newbies in the world of photography start out by experimenting with their phones and mediocre cameras, simply because proper professional-level equipment is a serious investment. However, if you have decided to advance in that direction, you’ll definitely need to consider the best options for you and the particular niche you’re interested in, if you have already done your research.
In addition to the camera itself, you’ll need accompanying essentials such as various lenses, a tripod, a high-quality charger, memory cards, and flash in order to make quality photos. For those of you who wish to have their own studio and set up photo session indoors, you will also need proper lighting, diffusers and the like.
Focus on education
Playing with the camera in your free time cannot be compared to the real effort of mastering certain techniques and trying to tackle the finesse of each photo you take. Even more importantly, you will need to refine your own ability to spot a brilliant moment and have enough skill and expertise to take the right shot.
You should get properly informed about good schools for professional photography, where their course leaders are well established in the field. For instance, the Master in Photography at Raffles Institute in Milan is led by Denis Curti, a benchmark among critics of international photography who has curated exhibitions dedicated to such lens masters as Helmut Newton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and David Lachapelle. The schools are known for their focus on various aspects of becoming a professional photographer, from storytelling through photography to building your portfolio. You should always strive to learn from the best in the business when you start developing your own career.
Create your brand
Even if you already possess the unique skills and the education, you cannot move forward with your plan unless you truly put in the effort to create your business from scratch. That means building a name, a logo, designing your website, choosing the right social media to promote your business, and finding the right clientele to reach out to when the time is right.
It takes so much more than talent to transform into a true professional. You will need to learn how to budget and manage your business from a financial standpoint, and you will also need to stay consistent in your branding efforts in order to stand out.
Network, mingle, connect
Once you have your brand ready to launch, make the effort to get your name out there and let people know you are open for business. From attending conferences, and various networking events, all the way to hosting your own seminars and workshops, you should use and make your own opportunities as often as possible.
Online is perhaps one of the best ways to make your voice authentic and open a line of communication with other professionals and potential clients as well. Most importantly, other pros in your region are not just your competitors. If you develop a solid working relationship with them, they can refer clients your way and vice versa when the opportunity arises, so stay in touch with other photographers you trust.
Build your business plan
This is officially no longer just a hobby, but a calling, and with that in mind, you need to treat it as you would any other entrepreneurial effort. Define your short-term and long-term goals, your budgeting and marketing strategy, and your social media outreach. And of course, don’t forget to continuously evaluate your strategies in order to make changes as you move forward, and help your business flourish by learning from those initial and inevitable mistakes.
Although this highly creative profession comes with a challenging learning curve that never truly ends, those who are genuinely passionate about it will enjoy the process. Keep an open mind, stay dedicated to your goal, and the world might just become richer by another brilliant artist with a camera.