We now live in a world where DSLRs are everywhere, making more and more people label themselves as photographers. There’s also quite a few of those that’s been into photography for a while and have honed their skills. They’re usually labeled as professional photographers, while those starting out are labeled amateur photographers. On the contrary though, amateur photographers are supposed to be those that photograph only for the pleasure of photography without meaning to turn a profit. And professional photographers are those making a living out of photography.
The opportunity of turning pro will always be open to those who would take the time and effort to get serious. Everything will work out as long as it’s supported by a good photography skill mixed with good manners and entrepreneurial skills. The problem is that there are many that recklessly dive in, pricing themselves too cheap, making their photography business a short termed one.
Becoming a professional photographer isn’t easy. Many think that a good camera and a mediocre photography skill will be enough to make it into the business. This is definitely not true. To become a professional photographer, one would have to take note of the following:
1. A professional photographer has to be ready to shoot in any way the client requests, even though it’s not within their taste as photographers. A photography business really is catering to the needs of the clients. Like, for example, maybe you as a photographer loves to shoot in black and white while your clients requests colorful shots. You will have to set aside your personal style and adhere to the wants of the client.
2. Not just a good photo. However great your photo skills may be, if you can’t market yourself well, no clients will knock on your door. But if you’re only good at marketing and your photo skills are mediocre at best, clients still won’t be interested.
3. Construct a budget of 35% of the price tag for your services. If your services has a price tag of $100, then you should at least get a $75 clean profit for your work in order for business to continue to grow.
4. Have a solid partner. It’s almost impossible for a photographer to work alone. A photographer needs a team that at least consists of a makeup artist, a lighting person, a props guy, and a 2nd photographer.
5. If this profession is a boat, it’s getting over crowded and weighed down. The more people getting into this profession, which they are, the heavier it is to float to the top of the profession.
6. Harsh competition is what happens when there’s too many professional photographers. The scary phenomenon is that now, photographers (especially those starting out in the business) would gladly drastically lower their prices to drum up customers. This, in turn, will make the photographer profession look cheap. Photography is an expensive business because the tools it require are relatively pricey. If the profit turned in is too minimal, there would not be enough funds to fund the grown of the business.
7. You should also be communicative and a people person. However great your photography skills may be, if you’re not comfortable directing clients/ models to pose well, then this business really isn’t for you.
So, still interested in jumping into professional photography? If so, great! Keep up your skills in photography, marketing, networking, tech upkeep and client communications. Good luck!