How to Become a Professional Photographer

How to Become a Professional Photographer

Professional Photography may be an excellent choice for a person who wants a career that uses their creative talent. If you want to become a professional photographer, you may want to prepare yourself to start small while perfecting your crafts and building your portfolio. The following tips should be able to help you get started and be on your way to a career in photography.

1. Know your equipment

One of the most common misconceptions about becoming a professional photographer is that it requires a fancy camera. What people don’t know is that expensive cameras may not make the photos any better from the camera you may already have. While it is a great idea to improve your business, becoming a great photographer has less to do with the camera, but more with the ins and outs of the basics*.

2. Education

If you are serious about becoming a professional photographer, a Bachelor of Arts in Photography may provide you with more options when pursuing your career. Although talent and a good eye for photography may not be something that can be taught, by receiving a degree in photography, you can learn to hone in your skills, learn new techniques, as well as learn how to grow your business**.

If you feel a bachelor’s degree is not the way to go, you may also be able to take courses in earning your associate’s degree. Although, going this route, you may not have as many options as you would with more education. It all depends on what you are looking for and what your goals are in your craft.

3. Build your portfolio

Before you get recognized by someone, it may be important that you build a portfolio to show your talents. In this way, you will be able to charge clients appropriately for the services they will get. You will also be able to be more confident in your pricing and produce a level of quality consistently. Also, it may be wise to make sure that the portfolio has more than five to ten photos so that people can see your great work*. Give variety and, if you have a specialty, make it known what that may be.

4. Have your own business

Photography, like several other art professions, is a competitive field to get into. If you are going to become a professional photographer for money and not just a hobby, it may be a good idea to have your own small business if you feel that is what you need to do in order to reach your definition of success. Start making your business plans and answer critical question like, “Who are the target clients?” and, “What kind of business strategy should I use?” It is a good idea to have all the documents and research you need in order to answer such questions.

If you do not wish to have your own business, there may be other options as well. You may be able to work for a newspaper or magazine. You could go into advertising or do portrait work at a studio. You could work in fashion or travel to exotic locations to take pictures for scientific organizations. You may also be able to work in the medical field as a scientific photographer***. All of these may be great career choices and may require at least an associate’s degree to be considered for the role.

5. Make sure to have a means of sharing your work

It is a helpful tip to know that if people can’t find you, you don’t get any business. A great way to make your photography known is to advertise your business. You may be able to launch a website, make business cards, network with the local community, and talk about your business with people you meet. You never know who you are going to meet and who can open doors for you and your next photography job. It may be helpful to be prepared for anything. This means carrying your business cards and portfolio with you whenever you leave the house, and be open to the possibility that business opportunities may come at any time.

6. Decide your specialty

By earning your degree in photography, you may be able to learn about many different conceptual and technical techniques involved in the art****. You are given the chance to develop your skills and find our what your specialty may be. This may be your opportunity to hone in your skills, as well as learn new ones. Upon completion, you may be ready to start your career in a specialty you feel confident and passionate about.


Interested in professional photography? Feel free to use our photography school finder at the top of this page to explore various photography programs available near you and online. ↑


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