Taking a step and making your hobby a profession? If already thought of it, then this article is for you. Even if your friends say you make photos better than anyone else and it’s not that they necessarily lie 😋, it’s not always easy to make the first step and decide to start earning money with your hobby even though if it’s something you like most of all. But don’t worry, you’re neither the first nor the last. What’s important is to think of all things you have to deal with in the beginning. Like in any other field, planning is essential, so here is a guide for you to help from scratch.
- Be ready to sweat. Success doesn’t come immediately. There will be moments of severe doubts and disappointments. You will think there are too many photographers already and they are better than you. You will be too critical of your work. The voice in your head will probably try to kill your business even before you finish processing your first photo session 😣. Don’t let this voice overwhelm you, take a deep breath and continue doing what you’ve planned to do🤘.
- Don’t worry about professional equipment. Some people want to rush and buy the best gear at the market thinking it will make them look professional. Take your time before investing all your savings in the last Hasselblad. If you have something better than a P&S camera, keep on using this 📷. As soon as you feel confident enough and earn your first photography money, you’ll be able to buy something else. You will also understand better what type of gear you need. If already have a good DSLR and a prime lens (or a couple of them), it’s perfect. Experiment with it enough before changing to something more expensive.
- Keep on expanding your portfolio. Even if you decided to focus just on wedding photography or realized that you were born to make portraits, keep on taking your camera with you everywhere, take pictures of what inspires you and learn something new. Professionals are always open-minded and never stop practicing.
- Start building your own network. Remember that nothing works better for your business than word of mouth. A positive Facebook review from friends of your friends who received a couple of lovely portraits from you for free might work better than a paid ad. So, don’t refuse if people ask you to volunteer on some event or take a picture of them in exchange for a cup of coffee. Loyal clients will help you build a strong portfolio, and that’s what you need for a successful photography business.
- Be present online. It’s not necessary to launch your website ending with .com right in the beginning of your career as a photographer (you can do it later) but creating your Facebook page and/or Instagram is necessary—that’s where you find your first clients without a need to pay for hosting and domain. Read some tips on how to look professional on Instagram here. Later, you can create your photoblog on a separate platform. Here you can find how to do it on Wordpress in three easy steps.
- How much to charge? This question bothers many beginners. Some of them are ready to work for free while other can ask not less money than established photographers do. It all depends on the quality of photos you produce and your confidence in what you do. Can you deliver consistent images when you’re 100% sure they are in focus, accurate in color and have a correct exposure? Also, think about how much you’ve already invested in yourself. Did you pay for photography education, gear, and accessories, or do you visit paid workshops on a regular basis? Thinking about time you spend on improving your skill often helps to determine the price.
- Set your long-term goals. But don’t stick to the final result. Developing a business is a dynamic process, and there will always be ups and downs. Just keep in mind your ideas and plans and follow the chosen path. Do you want a certain amount of clients per year? Is your goal to open your own photo school? Do you want to make a particular sum of money in two years? Write down your business plan answering these questions.
- Talk to other professional photographers. Be in contact with people you admire in your professional field, read success stories in down moments and share your experience when you feel great. Being surrounded by people who do the same work will help you cope with difficulties, motivate you and make you grow all the time.
And finally, remember: if you keep on pushing the same button, sooner or later you will become successful 💪🏼.