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Becoming a professional photographer is great if you want to get paid for using your skills. It does not require a college degree but you need to be self-disciplined, have a good eye and be able to produce quality products. Photography is a very competitive field hence the need to carefully examine yourself as well as the business to improve your chances of success. Here are a number of things that will help you to become a successful photographer.
· Develop photography skills
First, you need to develop photography skills which will help you take great photos. There is no right or wrong way of learning photography, you can opt to get a college degree on photography or teach yourself by reading books and experimenting. Whichever way you choose, you will be able to learn the necessary photography skills including how to use editing software in order to produce the best images.
· Obtain the right equipment
The equipment you will need highly depends on the type of photography you choose but you will basically need two camera bodies and several lenses for different situations. If you are planning to create an in home studio, you will need additional equipment for lighting. You also need to acquire a photo editing software to help you edit photos.
· Find your niche
You cannot be a jack of all trades. In order to be successful in photography, you should specialize in a particular area especially one that is not flooded and you are most passionate about.
In the beginning, you can try different areas before finally settling for one that people can associate you with. Example, you can focus on either landscape photography, wedding, sports or a photographer that shoots amazing studio portrait. Whichever area you choose, become an expert in it and use it to your advantage.
· Network with everyone
You should take advantage of every opportunity you get to network. Attend photography trade shows and network with as many people as you can, give them your business card and they may refer business to you in the future.
Also, take some time to appreciate other people’s work, ask questions on things you are genuinely interested in, you can even share their work with interested clients and they will certainly help you in the future in case you need their help.
· Research photography tips
Being knowledgeable and up to date with photography tips and tricks is essential to becoming a successful photographer. This not only helps you to know how to properly use your camera but it also helps you to create great photos.
Research on how to use the camera remote, gear and the lenses. Having this information significantly improves the quality of your photos.
· Advertise the business
Make business card, create a website, network with everyone and inform them about your photography business. Posting your photos on social media with the consent of the clients will also help advertise your business. Instagram is one of the best social media site where you can promote your business by posting photos so that many people can see.
Before posting your photos on social media, you should watermark them to protect them as well as advertise your business. Also, inform clients to watermark the photos in case they need to use them on their social media sites.
· Set goals.
Goals are what takes you forward in life and goal setting is the first step to success. Therefore, you should create both long term and short term goals to bring you closer to becoming successful. The goals should be realistic, measurable and should have a deadline or a time frame. Example of a short term goal can be being able to book 5 clients in two months. This will help you establish a clientele in a year which is the long term goal.
Ensure that you write the goals down. This is because written goals represents your internal desires and you are more likely to achieve goals after writing them down as they act as a constant reminder of what needs to be accomplished.
· Set your rates and create a contract
To set the rates, consider the amount of time spent on the shoot, the cost of the gears, cost of the CD or prints of the final images as well as your experience. You should not overprice as it may scare clients away, also, a low price will also make you look desperate and unprofessional as a photographer. You can compare the rates of other photographer in the area to help you set a reasonable rate.
Also, before you agree on taking up any photo shoot, ensure that the clients signs a business contract which includes everything from the cost of the photo shoot and the things you are liable for. Example, indicate that you are liable for the photos that accidentally damaged or deleted as well as the terms for ending the contract.
· Manage your money
Everything always comes down to money. You should have a business bank account, create a ledger and regularly balance your budget. Update your ledger including all the monetary exchanges weekly and ensure you can account for all monies spent and keep all the receipts related to the business for future reference.
Also, ensure you always have enough money to sustain the business for around six months. This way, in case you have a business emergency, you will have enough money to live by until you can get another job.
· Travel the world
A great photographer should stay on top of things, learn everything and from everyone, see new places and know new people. Travelling the world not only enlightens you but it is also a great way to network.
Also getting to meet with other photographers all over the world acts as a source of inspiration which in turn enhances creativity.
· Take care of your body
Physical fitness is linked to your success as a photographer. If you fail to exercise, eat unhealthy meals or sleep for less hours, it will make you less productive and reduce your creativity. For this reason, you should find a way to stay healthy by exercising and eat healthy to enhance your productivity.