It often starts with a passion for photography and when the positive feedback about your work continues to grow you will often be encouraged to consider whether you might be able to develop your talent into a successful career as a professional photographer.
There are a number of major challenges and hurdles you will have to overcome if you want to achieve the level of work that keeps the shutter clicking continuously and the money flowing for your services.
Here is a look at some of the ways you might be able to break into professional photography, plus some tips on ways to open the sort of doors that will give you the chance to display your talents and develop your reputation.
Discover your focus to build your career
Becoming a professional photographer can often involve taking on a series of different jobs and never turning down the chance to earn some money, especially in the early days when you are finding your feet and paying the bills is near the top of your list of priorities.
You might find yourself doing family portraits one minute and a corporate photo shoot the next, and that might be ok to a certain extent if you are busy and you are at least fulfilling your target of earning enough money to keep your head above water.
However, you will probably feel that your talents are being underused and you might not actually enjoy some of the photographic work you are doing, which could eventually show.
It can often pay to cast a critical eye over your own work and try to pick out what it is that defines your photographic style, then focus on your strengths by using some descriptive terms in your advertising and images used, so that people start to see you for your specific strengths rather than just another professional photographer.
Finding your niche is often fundamental to success
When you are doing the basics such as sorting out your business registration and arranging insurance for professional photographers you will be sorting out a trading name or utilizing your own name, but it’s what you do with that name that really matters.
Defining your style will also help to define your niche and if you play to your specific strengths this can often guide you toward the areas of photography and opportunities where you can excel and become renowned for.
It might be that you have a particular talent for getting the lighting spot on every time or it could be that you are particularly personable and able to get people to relax in front of the camera.
Whatever it is that defines you as a photographer, use these attributes to develop a niche and you should find that this approach will be influential in helping to grow your reputation and your business.
Being an awesome photographer should, in theory, be a recipe for success but having a talent for taking pictures is not enough to pay the bills unless you become adept at marketing those skills in the right way.
The commercial downfall of many talented photographers can often be attributed to a distinct lack of enthusiasm for marketing. You really have to sell yourself relentlessly and be prepared to promote yourself at every available opportunity.
It is always a smart move to remember that you are running a business and a limited and ineffective marketing strategy is going to put you under pressure to find enough work, so be prepared to commit to this important aspect of being a commercial photographer.
Do your research
You should always aim to keep an eye on the competition and find out the names in commercial photography in your area who you will probably be competing against.
Checking out your competitors can be useful in a number of ways.
It can help you see the sort of style and work they offer and it gives you a good idea of the rates being charged for certain types of work, so do your research and see where you want to pitch yourself in terms of rates and the type of photographic services you are going to offer.
Finally, remember that persistence often pays off eventually. You will undoubtedly take some knocks along the way and be rejected for jobs you thought you were just right for, but if you know you have the talent to succeed as a photographer, stick at it and the rewards will come.