So you want to be a professional photographer, here is how

Professional Photographer – Do you have what it takes to become a professional photographer?

Buy a nice camera.  Take some nice photos.  Hey, this is fun!  Maybe I should quit my job and become a professional photographer!

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Not so fast.  Consider that any “fantasy job” is a dream for hundreds of thousands of other people just like you.  Running a bed and breakfast, owning a restaurant, taking photos for a living — these are all high on the fantasy list of many people but the reality is to be successful in any of these ventures is risky, involves and lot of hard work.  These jobs require relentless drive to stand out from the pack, be the top of your game and compete with lots of local competition.

You need to access your local market of potential clients and get an idea of the local competition.  Are there good photographers in the area?  Are they cheap?  Many do this as a hobby and undercut those trying to earn a decent wage for their work.  If your local market is flooded with cheap photographers, it will be difficult for you to compete.

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Commercial photographer Mark Timberlake gives these tips:

What Are The First 10 Steps To Become A Professional Photographer?

  • Be confident in your equipment, know your equipment, most photography is high pressure.
  • Make sure your website looks stunning, your website will sell your photography.
  • Put your prices on your website so that you get rid of time wasters, set an hourly rate, a half day rate and a full day rate.
  • Look for commercial work for businesses, that is where the real money is.
  • Network at local business networks, wedding events, anywhere where your potential client hangs out, you will pick up work that way.
  • Do your first 3 jobs for free so that you can build a portfolio of professional work, find friends or relatives that need a photographer.
  • Build a local following on social media, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are your best sites to start with.
  • When sharing photos on Instagram make sure you tag them with your location so that local users can find you.
  • Set up your Google My Business Page and get some reviews from happy local customers on it straight away.
  • Never ever drop your prices, always have a set price then offer a discount if someone is hard balling you or you want to run a promotion.