- 16 Ways to Make Money With Photography in 2021
- 4 Photography Business Tips I Wish I'd Known When I Started Out
photo by PeopleImages via iStock
Given the fact that a lot of people picked up photography as a hobby during the lockdowns last year, it’s no wonder why I’ve been getting tons of questions about how to become a pro photographer.
Of course, learning how to become a pro photographer isn’t a task for someone without a little time to spare. If you’ve gone back to a full time job and barely have time to take photos every week, then you may need to re-prioritize if you’re serious about opening a photography business.
But, since I didn’t want to leave you all hanging, I found a video by Tin House Studio filled with tons of photography business tips to help you learn how to become a pro photographer in 2021. I’m going to give you a brief overview of some of my favorite expert photography tips from it.
Set Aside One Year’s Salary
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As Tin House Studio pointed out, some of his professional photography tips aren’t the sexiest, and this is definitely one of them. But, if you’re serious about learning how to become a pro photographer, then you also need to get serious about saving.
I recognize that having a whole year’s salary set aside in savings is not a realistic goal for almost everybody on the planet. But, by giving yourself a lofty goal, you can convince yourself to be a little more financially serious. Plus, there is no better year to make the argument that you have to set aside one year’s salary in order to run your own business. Many photography businesses crashed and burned during the pandemic because they weren’t financially sound.
If you need to try and hit this goal in increments, that’s fine. Try to save one month’s salary first. Then, three month’s salary. Eventually, your ultimate goal of having a whole year’s salary in savings won’t seem so lofty.
Only Buy Equipment That Will Make You Money
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When you’re learning how to become a pro photographer, you are constantly going to be online. You’re going to be looking at the work other photographers are producing. You are going to be watching YouTube videos looking for tips and tricks. You are going to be reading blogs about how to make money and how to invoice. Every single one of these social media sites, YouTube videos, and blogs are going to have affiliate links. I know because I use affiliate marketing to run this website.
It is going to be really difficult to prevent yourself from buying a ton of new, fancy equipment that sounds like a ton of fun. But, before you buy any new photography gear, you need to ask yourself one very important question: is this going to make me money?
If the answer is yes, then by all means purchase it. But, if the answer is no, then you need to move along until you find new gear that will actually be financially beneficial to you. If you already have a 35mm lens, then you likely don’t need another one. However, you could use the money you were going to spend on that newer 35mm lens and purchase a drone instead so that you can expand your portfolio and expand your client base.
Choose a Specific Type of Photography
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If you’re wondering how to become a pro photographer, then you should also be wondering what you want to become a pro photographer in. As Tin House Studio pointed out, there are far too many general photographers in the industry today and many of these general photographers end up going out of business because they can’t find enough work.
It may seem counterintuitive to try and find more clients by being more specific in the type of work you’re doing, but it isn’t. If you’re competing with 1,000 portrait photographers, you’re going to have a far harder time finding clients than if you’re competing with 10 aerial photographers.
Being more specific in the type of photography you pursue also means that you are more likely to get larger jobs. If you have a portfolio that is fully stacked with aerial photos, then you are far more likely to get a big, expensive aerial campaign with a local business.
Make Cold Calls
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I think it’s important to point out here that learning how to become a pro photographer is not always fun and games, sometimes it’s making cold calls.
You should be making a certain amount of cold calls every week. Only you can establish what number is feasible for you. You also need to take into account that you’ll need to do a certain amount of research to figure out which types of clients you should be targeting and factor this time into your weekly goal.
Become comfortable with hearing “no” and keep going.
Use Social Media
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I end up writing about using social media at least three or four times a week. If you’re trying to figure out how to become a pro photographer in 2021, then you need to make yourself accessible to your clients through whatever means necessary. I recognize that most people hate social media, and even though I use it religiously I wouldn’t say I love it, but I know it’s important for my business.
You need to be posting photos on Instagram daily. You also need to be using new features on social media sites, like stories. As you start to build a serious audience, you will also start to build a serious client list. If you do these things and engage with potential customers on the daily, then you’ll find that you have more success drawing people in and paying you for your photographic services.