How can I start making my photography a career?
There is an intense debate on how photography can become a career. So, without further ado, let us discuss some tips that some sources agree upon.
First, learn your craft. You have to become more familiar with how cameras work, how film is developed, and how lighting works. Lauren Lim, a professional photographer, explains, “The real value of manual mode shooting is in how it forces you to understand what’s going on with your camera, and the light around you. Learning this early on will help you get more control over your images, and improve your shooting skills quickly.”
Lim is quick to reassure you, this is not a case of preferring the “old school days” over our current technology. “So this isn’t some photography snobbery here. Learning how to shoot in manual mode is going to help you in a ton of ways, and the sooner you can learn how to do it, the more benefit you’ll see!”
Another factor that you need to keep in mind is that photography does not work in a vacuum. You need to become a business person. “When we got started we thought that if we had great photography skills, we’d have a successful business. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re starting and running your own business, you need to wear a baker’s dozen of hats.” You will start to work on your business skills, your financing skills, and so on. “The sooner you realize that you’re going to need to become good at a LOT of different things, the sooner you can start improving at them all. Great photography skills are important, don’t get me wrong. But you need to have a LOT of other ones if you’re going to make a business out of it!”
You are going to have to multitask, so maybe you will have to learn about finance, about booking, about everything that it takes to make your business successful. These things, also, take time. Be patient. Success is not going to come to you in a month, a week, a few hours. It takes years, just like with any career. “When we first got started, we figured we’d have a wildly successful business rolling within a year. Fast forward 6 years, and we’re still trying to get there. It takes time to get good at photography. It takes time to get good at marketing. It takes time to get good at customer service. It takes time to get good at business organization.” Give yourself a chance to learn what it takes to become a successful photographer.
Not only does it take business skills to succeed as a photographer, but it also takes “people skills.” In other words, you need to communicate clearly with other people. “Photography is a people business. Even if you’re a landscape shooter, your clients are people. And the better you can work with, and take care of, the people you do business with, the more success you’ll see.” Good luck!