Are you an aspiring photographer and think you're ready to get started selling your work? You've been out shooting constantly, have enough photos that you’re proud of and want to start making some money, but are you really ready?
There are a few things you need to check off the list first, before you go out there and market yourself. The first thing is confidence. Here are eight things you should do if you want to become a confident, successful, money-making photographer:
1. Invest in the Necessary Equipment
In the beginning, you'll need a decent camera and a decent lens. That’s it. And, truthfully, sometimes these don't even need to be decent, it’s amazing what can be done with inexpensive equipment.
Outside of shooting, you'll need a computer so you can edit and post your photos online. Later on down the line, you'll probably want to add more equipment to your bag, like a reflector and strobes, but you don't need these to start out.
2. Get Experience
Take pictures whenever you have a chance. You not only want to get good at your desired style, but you want to build a portfolio of your work. So, if you want to be a child portrait photographer, takes pictures of your own children, your nieces and nephews, your friends’ kids.
Do it on an entry level. You don't always have to be paid for work, by shooting for free in them beginning, you will gain valuable experience, and confidence.
3. Put Together a Portfolio
Go through your photos and choose your favorites – the ones that speak to you, that are different, that stand out in some way. Build a portfolio of your best work and put it online.
4. Take Any Job That Comes Your Way
Even if it doesn't sound appealing, the tiniest, most boring job could lead to something much bigger and more exciting. Don't turn down jobs, you don't want to miss out on what could have been a great opportunity.
5. Shoot for More
Once you have decided what kind of photographer you want to be, work towards getting there. If you want to be an architecture photographer, but your paying job has you photographing car parts, then start building a portfolio based on your passion.
Have two portfolios, one for products, and one for landscape photography. Show the landscape portfolio only to clients interested in it. Aspire to move up.
6. Spend Half Your Time Looking for Work
Whether you're working on your photography as a part-time gig or investing all your waking hours on it, you need to spend half that time looking for work. Get on the phone, start calling potential clients. As you talk to more and more people and see interest in your work, your confidence will go up, as well.
7. Know When to Move On
As you start to grow, you want to bring your existing clients along with you. If they weren't paying you very much when you started out, as you get better at what you do and feel more confident in your work, you will be able to ask them for more.
You want your clients to grow with you. If they don't want to, however, then you need to know when it’s time to move on. If you are worth more money, you will get it from other clients.
8. Find a Mentor
If you don't already have someone in your life that you look up to professionally and who inspires you, then find someone. There are always photography clubs or groups you can join, or get introduced in the community. Find another photographer that you admire and connect with; they can help you stay focused on your goals.
Following these eight steps will help you gain the confidence you need to start making money as a professional photographer. Take the time to do it right, it can only help you improve and succeed.