The transition from novice to professional photographer isn’t an overnight adventure – in spite of everything, if it turned into clean all and it might be doing all right?
Thankfully even though, it’s virtually no longer an not possible feat. In reality, there are some of actionable steps which you can work on every day, week, month, and year good way to correctly get for your cease intention: being paid to do what you love the most – photography.
How to become a professional photographer
We’ve read countless guides, how-to’s, and down-to-earth advice from full-time photographers in order to cut through the fluff and present you with the real facts. Here’s how you can transition from a hobbyist photographer into a professional.
Learn manual mode
It might seem like a basic area in which to begin, but many hobbyist or amateur photographers may not have moved out of their comfort zone, also known as ‘auto mode’. Many photographers insist that if you’re not shooting in your camera’s manual mode, then you’re simply not being a true photographer.
Take time to learn about terms such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. and more importantly, begin to experiment in order to see how they relate to one another, as well as how they impact your images.
Once you understand these various options, your work will transform into the eye-catching, crisp, and clear works of art that professional photographers are celebrated for.
Master your editing process
While we can all dream of being able to capture the perfect image in just a single click, editing is a part of every professional photographer’s workflow.
For amateur photographers who may not have had in-depth experience with professional editing software, it is recommended that they start small. Use free online photo editors (such as BeFunky, for example) to play around with settings such as saturation, exposure, contrast, etc. in order to understand how each of these elements work within your image.
Once these settings have been fully understood, amateur photographers should then move onto using professional editing software such as Photoshop and Lightroom. Not only can these programs transform your images and lift them to new heights, but mastering these editing skills is actually vital to becoming a pro.
Here’s a helpful tip, however: unless you’re embracing surreal or fine art photography, you still want your images to look natural.
Get a website
If you really want to take your photography seriously, you’ve got to present it in the most professional light. Platforms such as Flickr, 500px, and Tumblr (for example) are wonderful sites for photographers to share their work and establish relationships with other like-minded creatives, however when presenting your work to potential clients or publications, a free-to-use site simply won’t do.
Invest a small amount of money into purchasing your own domain name and finding a host for your website. WordPress has a number of free-to-use, sleek themes and designs for your site, or you could even invest some more money into purchasing a super professional-looking theme. Want a stunning website which successfully represents your brand (a.k.a your photography)? Simply hire a designer to get it just right!
Once you’ve perfected the look and feel of your own website, you’ll want to add in vital pages such as information about yourself, how to contact you, testimonials (if you have any), and links to your social media.
Enter photography competitions
Not only is entering photography competitions fun, but it also gets your creative juices flowing, especially when the competition has a particular theme or motivation. Another huge benefit which could come from entering your images into contests is that if you win or become a runner-up, you gain immense exposure for your work – plus some pretty cool prizes if they’re on offer!
Luckily, you’ll find the world’s largest collection of photography competitions right here (on Photo Contest Insider, of course!), with competitions from all around the globe and targeted towards various levels of photographic experience.
Always have a professional manner
When wanting to make the shift from amateur to professional photographer, it makes sense to also develop a very professional, business-like manner when dealing with clients. Even a little politeness goes a long way and a friendly, co-operative, and skillful photographer is way more likely to attract repeat clients and paid work.
When dealing with emails, you’ll want to respond as soon as possible (within a 24-hour period) and be sure to remain courteous and respectful in all of your communication – whether it be over the phone, online, or in-person.
Another element of being professional is to remain organized at all times and be sure to always back-up your work to prevent any stressful disasters.
It’s also important that you present yourself in the most professional light in terms of the way you dress on a job. Although you’ve probably heard it a million times by now, first impressions count. Clients also want a photographer who is reliable, so punctuality is of the utmost importance.
No one said the journey from amateur to pro photographer would be easy, but one thing is for sure – it’ll certainly be worth it. When you’re facing disappointment or just generally having a ‘flat’ day, visualize how amazing it would be to earn a living from doing what you love. Let this thought spur you on to continue striving for that (very realistic) dream.