The advent of digital photography has led to an explosion in photography, both as a creative art form and as a career choice as well. The basics of becoming a photographer are incredibly easy now; You can buy a camera and some equipment, learn photography from a multitude of free online photography courses, practice your photography skills, find a niche that you can focus on. You can indeed find your own answers to the question – how to become a professional photographer.
However, though it sounds easy, the truth is not that simple. Photography is an extremely competitive field that requires you to have talent, skills, marketing acumen, and discipline to make your mark as a professional photographer. To be successful, professional photographers need to not just be talented; they also need the tenacity to put in long hours, compete hard due to supply-demand imbalance, and manage their business as an entrepreneur.
1. Start by asking the right questions:
Professional photography can be an excellent choice for a career if you can manage the right balance between your creative passion and entrepreneurial instincts. Just like starting any other business, put together a list of questions that you need to answer for yourself before you begin your photography career and think about how to be a professional photographer.
- What motivates me?
- Am I prepared to start small and persevere alone?
- Can I work alone as a photography professional?
- Which photography specialty niche excites me?
- What are the gaps that I can fulfill in my local area?
- How do I improve my skills?
- What value would I offer to my clients?
2. Find the right answers and a mentor
You would find the answers to most of your questions through research, both online and offline. Go to photography talks, exhibitions, and seminars. You would meet a lot of photographers in these events, and you can get a lot of answers directly from them. There are a number of online photography communities that you can become a member of. Some of the answers that you seek will come from structured education, and some answers will only come with experience and time.
3. Get the right photography education
Professional Photography is one of the very few fields where structured training is not a prerequisite. You can self-learn, practice, and improve your skills without going to a formal educational institute. However, it can add a lot of value to your career, skills, and experience as a professional photographer.
A lot of professional photographers have taken photography courses at top photography schools, universities, or design institutes. Besides a formal course of instruction to develop their skill sets, a photographer should have a keen eye, oodles of creativity, and technical ability. We have listed a few simple steps to get you started.
hoose wisely from the many Photography Courses available.
A wide range of photography courses from Photography Certificate programs to Masters level courses is available.
The Certificate Photography programs can be completed in a few months. They help students learn essential skills and knowledge in photography. These programs cover the basics of:
- Fundamentals of photography.
- Principles of Digital photography, how to use Photography software, and image manipulation techniques.
- History of photography and foundation of film photography
4. Do a Photography Internship with a Professional Photographer
If you’re a young, budding photographer, look out and network with other professional photographers and mentors. Never shy away from getting feedback about your work. You are eventually going to make a living based on the quality of your work.