- How to Become a Professional Photographer (Amazing Career Guides)
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
- ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography
Starting to make money with photography is one of the toughest challenges for anyone looking to get a career. A while ago, there was this viral joke around the Internet, saying that if you want to make money with your camera, sell it.
We're not into such pessimistic approaches, and instead, we'd like to offer you eight ways to start earning a living as a photographer.
One of the most important assets, if not the most important, for any photographer starting a career is confidence. If you don't have it, you're finished before you even start. Confidence will get you your first jobs, it will help you get better ones and eventually help you establish a name in the local market.
(Success Tip:Take better photos with this simple deck of cards)
Besides confidence, you need a camera and a lens. Believe it or not, that is all you need in terms of gear to start asking for money. Obviously, you have to be good at using them, but the point is you don't need a fancy studio and a large case full of gear to get started.
There's no long road like this without any mistakes. One of the most common is bad use of time. As an aspiring pro, you must spend 50% of the time looking for new clients. That means making phone calls and sending emails, not just waiting for people to call you and give you work.
It's a tough way of life in the beginning, but as you do more of this stuff, that all important confidence will grow.
Obviously, you can't go into business without a portfolio. Your first attempts at putting together a body of work will center around your family, friends and coworkers. Photograph them and their families for free so that you will have what to show to potential clients.
As you gradually get better, you will need to ask for more money. Some clients will grow along with you, others will prefer to find another beginner photographer for the same amount or less. It's their choice, you need to leave them behind and find better clients who will respect your work and pay for it accordingly.
The photography industry is a much divided one, and sadly not all branches and photography genres generate income, or enough income to sustain yourself or your family.
It's very important for you to understand that you can run two photography businesses at the same time, just as long as they never meet each other in front of the same people. Wedding photography is by far one of the most profitable categories, but if you have a love for photojournalism, it might be hard to earn a buck from day one. In such a case, you can grow your wedding photography business (that has one name and website) and use part of the earnings to finance your personal projects (that have a different name and website). For each potential client, show only the work they're interested in seeing/buying. Don’t show a future bride and groom your photo project with trailer parks. You get the idea.
For the full list of ways to make money from photography, check out this great video made by The Slanted Lens.