Many people dream of turning their passion for photography into a full-time career. In some ways, the barrier to entry into the market has never been lower. However, the competition is immense.
There are many paths to becoming a professional photographer; this graphic is only meant as a rough guide to hopefully speed up your journey a little bit. In no way I am stating that I am a master photographer or a business guru, I have simply created this to help any other budding photographers out there.
The first thing you need to do is clearly decide what type of photographer you want to become. There are many genres of photography from aerial to underwater and everything in between. I would recommend following your passion, shooting what you love. Although some genres may not pay as well as others, if you follow your passion, you will have much more fun and satisfaction.
Invest in Yourself
Once you decide what type of photographer you want to be, it’s time to invest in yourself and improve your photography and editing skills.
Simply put, like most things, the more you shoot and work on your craft, the better you will become. Many people believe it takes 10,000 hours of work to truly master a skill.
Learning from an experienced mentor in person or on an online course or workshop can speed up this process dramatically. Going back to college or university is not always the best option for aspiring photographers, as it can be quite expensive with no guarantee of a job at the end. It is definitively worth weighing the options and costs involved. For some people, it may be a better decision to stay at your day job while you train and learn the skill set required.
Another option would be to assist or second shoot once you have the basics mastered. Often these jobs will not be advertised, so you will need to reach out to local photographers and studios.
Going it alone
The sad fact is that there are not too many full-time photography jobs out there, so the best option for most people is to become a small business owner themselves. It’s a lot of hard work, and your income will be based on the quality of your work and how well you can market yourself.
It is not all bad news, however, as there is plenty of money to be made and many lifestyle advantages to being self-employed. So, if you want to become a professional photographer, what are you waiting for?
About the Guest Contributor
Rob is a Nottingham based wedding photographer, obsessed with developing and improving his craft. He loves business and marketing just as much as photography. When he is not running his photography business, he enjoys spending time with his friends and family.