How to Become a Professional Photographer: A Complete Guide

How to Become a Professional Photographer: A Complete Guide

The ability to listen to clients and be attentive to details is the first quality that will help you succeed in the profession of a photographer. A good specialist is not someone who extols his skills, endlessly showing his portfolio. It is someone who, at the meeting before the shooting, will ask about all the wishes and pay attention to details to ensure that the result fully satisfies the clients’ ideas. This is someone who is constantly developing his skills and can also give tips, such as suggesting the best Instagram editing apps. Read more about this topic on Skylum’s blog.

How to learn professional photography from scratch

Training is the main thing to focus on when you decide to become a photographer. It’s up to you to decide which path to take. You can search for information on the Internet, watch thematic channels on YouTube, read basic books, and practice. A quicker and easier way is to take specialized courses. In the profession of a photographer, it is important to develop an artistic vision. The sooner you start training it, the better.

  • Watch movies and TV shows. You can start with lists of acclaimed classics, or with your favorite pictures, but the important thing is the other. Pay attention to colors, lighting, framing, and changes of plans, take screenshots and try to repeat them later. You don’t have to do exactly the same thing, this exercise will help develop your creativity and imagination.
  • Don’t bypass art either – painting, graphics, sculpture, architecture. All areas have something useful for you. Shape, volume combinations, style – everything is important. Both mass culture and gallery art will be helpful.
  • Watch current shoots in major international magazines. Study the cast of the teams that did the shoots, and subscribe to photographers, stylists, art directors, and models you like. The same goes for big fashion houses and younger designers. This will help you understand the current state of the industry.

Where to start

If you plan to make a career as a famous photographer, you should start by choosing a direction for your photography. Once you have determined your preferences, begin to learn the intricacies of creating photos in this genre.

For example, if you decide to become a wedding photographer, think through several scenarios for staged photos with the newlyweds, their relatives, and friends. Also, gather a database of locations for wedding photography, and work through ideas and concepts for unusual shots. Or another variant, if you are attracted to promotional photography, pay attention to the backstage from the shoot. Pay attention to the professionals: how they work with models and props, how they arrange the light, and what duties they delegate to assistants.

What you need to become successful

At the initial stage ask yourself questions: what do you want from the work of a photographer, what will make you an outstanding specialist and how will you differ from other professionals?

  • Create a template for a photography contract. Most often, novice professionals neglect the paperwork, based only on a verbal agreement with the client. This causes problems and misunderstandings after the work is done. Successful photographers always draw up contracts, prescribing the rights and obligations of each side.
  • Improve your photographic equipment. In the beginning, you can rent cameras to understand what kind of device is better for your purposes.
  • Engage in the promotion. To become a recognizable photographer, you need to create your website or pages on social networks, posting information about yourself, services, and portfolios with your work.
  • Never stop learning. To maintain your skills, you need to constantly evolve: get up-to-date information on online courses, take internships with famous photographers, and consult with mentors.

Tips for beginners: how to start earning

Take lots and lots of pictures every day. Don’t despair if you fail to get 50 shots. That means one thing: 51 will be a success.

  • Offer budget shoots in lucrative segments. For example, wedding photography often costs unaffordable money for young couples. Many would probably agree to a short photo session on a half-hour walk. The newlyweds get memories, and you – the first experience and earnings.
  • You can also start earning on photo stocks. Sell your photos one by one or in whole sets. You can focus on unique images. 
  • Submit your best work to contests. You may be noticed and offered a profitable partnership.

And finally, constantly improve your skills. You don’t have to take several courses a month, develop yourself by reading interesting articles. You’ll find all the information a photographer needs on Skylum’s blog. We wish you inspiration and good luck on your creative journey!

For more articles, visit OD Blog.

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