How to be A Photographer: Professional or Otherwise

How to be A PhotographerIt can be really easy for anyone to feel like a photographer.  Nowadays, digital cameras are widespread and it seems like everyone has a phone with a camera, and some people cannot go a day without snapping a “selfie”.  While these individuals can probably state some pretty aesthetically pleasing, cute, and candid pictures– they are by no means real photographers.  Taking a fabulous photo requires more than just a good arm angel, a sweet smile, or a pretty backdrop.  A fabulous photographer knows that there is skill, detail, and artistic perspective that goes into each shot.  So what does it really take to be a photographer?  We are here to help you figure that out.  Set your camera down for a few minutes and read on!

A Great Photographer

There are various types of photographers out there, but today we are going to look at the two basics: a great photographer and a professional photographer.  Being a “great” photographer might seem like it can be open for argument, but there are certain shots you can take to capturing the best photo possible with your resources.  Let’s take a closer look:

  • Having a camera:  This might seem like a no-brainer, but taking great photographs is going to require a lot of trial and error, so it is nice to have your own camera.  We are not talking about your iPhone camera, but an actual camera.  It does not have to be fancy or expensive either!
  • Play around:  Experiment with all the settings and functions that your camera has to offer.  There are plenty!  Read your instruction manual.
  • Take pictures:  Go ahead and start snapping away.  The more you practice, the better you will get.  Initially, choose a simple and easy to shoot subject such as a flower or a still object.
  • Experiment:  Try taking pictures in different settings at various times of the day, and in different lighting.  This is going to help you get an idea of all that you can achieve with your camera.  Slowly start taking pictures of different things, as well as action shots.

Photography is all about being an artistic and giving your own perspective to what you see in the world.  Find your perspective and your style in photography and your photos will develop along with it.

A Professional Photographer

The difference between being a great photographer and a professional photographer can depend on what you get from it.  Generally, professional photographers are employed, get paid for their work, or have a steady flow of clients.  If you are looking to turn your photography into a full-blown career that where you can receive monetary value for your photography skills, we are going to show you some basic steps:

1.    Have a relationship with your camera:  Relationships are all about knowing and understanding the other party, and with your camera, you are going to have to do just that.  There is no need to begin with a fancy, expensive camera.  Cameras all do the same thing: they take photographs; so make sure you get comfortable with doing that first before you move on to anything more complex.

  • Know how to properly use your lenses.
  • Understand the different types of camera gear that is available.
  • Surf the web for photography tip, tricks, techniques and possible upgrades.

2.    Start organizing your work into an online or print portfolio (doing both is a good option).  As you get started, you are going to want to show yourself off to whoever you meet or talk to.  Even if they are just family or friends, using them to get the word out can prove helpful.

  • Set up photo shoots to build your portfolio.
  • Make a goal of photographing something every day to monitor your improvement.
  • Use friends or family as models to save money in the beginning.

3.    Once you have your portfolio up and running, you can start thinking about developing your own business.  This can get a little tricky, so remember to be patient and persistent!

  • Obtain a business license.  Requirements for this can differ by states, so do some research beforehand.
  • Know your budget.  Unfortunately photography is not the most money-friendly profession, so know what you have to work with before you start making new, or too many, purchases.

4.    Now, it is time for some goals.  With any business or entrepreneur adventure, you are going to need to set goals for yourself, a timeline, and an overall plan.

  • Every photographer will have their own customized and personal goals.  Some examples are: to have 15 photo shoots by the end of the month, or to take 20 headshots in the next six weeks.
  • Decide on your rates and factor in the equipment, time, skills, and abilities you have to offer.  Consider setting up certain photography packages that your clients can choose from.
  • Develop contracts that you will have for each of your clients or customers.  When you have your own business, it is important to have signatures and to get things in writing.
  • Market yourself!  No one can go to you if they are not aware of you.  There are plenty of ways to put yourself out there: word of mouth, business cards, social media, volunteering at events, or on a website.

5.    Developing your own business for photography can be a challenge, but also can be rewarding and profitable if you stick with it.  Slow and steady wins the race!

Little Reminders

No matter what journey you decide to embark on with photography, here are a few things to keep in mind to make the overall process a bit more satisfying:

  • Ask questions
  • Don’t be afraid to do something differently
  • Keep a journal or notebook to jot down ideas
  • Have a good, fast, and reliable computer with good editing software

No matter what you do, do not lose your passion for photography.  You might lose sight of where you started, but stop once in awhile and take a look back at where you started.  If you remember this, you and your photographs will have a much better chance of always evolving.