How to Become a Professional Photographer
Professional photography is an excellent career choice for anyone who wants to get paid
for using their creative talents. It's one field where age and college degrees aren't as
important as a good eye, a quality product, and self discipline. Photography is a
competitive field, however; so be prepared to start small, while you perfect your craft
and build a portfolio of your best work. The tips below should help get you started.
1. Start out by speaking to other professionals in the field. They are normally willing
to give advice to individuals interested in their field. Besides if you speak to the right
people they will tell you the pitfalls and upsides right from the start. Ask if you can
follow them around for a day of work.
2. Consider enrolling in a photography degree program, or taking classes at an art
school. You'll make connections and get advice and critiques. Once you are ready, purchase
the best equipment you can afford. Remember that this is an investment and will make a big
difference in your future. Try sticking to name brand items to ensure you will have
service and parts available when, and if needed.
3. Understand that your biggest investment should be your lens. They should be the
removable kind that you can put on another camera body if you decide to upgrade later.
4. Study how-to photography books. Lighting and composition can either make or break a
photograph, and there are many excellent step-by-step study guides that will teach you the
techniques the pros use. Much of this information can also be found by using search
engines (e.g: Google).
5. Practice to get experience. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Always having your camera handy
will enable you to take photos in different places and of different subjects.
6. Evaluate each photograph you take. Ask others to critique your work. Put your
questionable shots in a separate file, so that you can go back later and correct any
mistakes on your photo editing software. Many pros will tell you that they hardly ever
take a 100 percent perfect photo. Programs like Photoshop and/or Corel Photo Paint will
always be handy when making a good photo great.
7. Strive for originality. Photo editors appreciate pros who can give an old subject a
fresh look, so don't be afraid to experiment. When trying to take a great photo, you can
sometimes take up to 100 or even more shots experimenting before taking the one you really
want. Be patient and don't give up.
8. Build a quality portfolio. Buy a good quality leather ring binder, and take a
handful of your best prints and put them in plastic sleeves. Label each one with your
name, address and phone number, so when a client asks to see samples, you're prepared.