17 Mar How to become a professional photographer?
Our Director of Photography, Matt Reed has given us an overview of his personal experiences in getting into the photography industry. So want to know how to become a professional photographer? We have both a snazzy video and an overview on the subject. Take your pick!
Step 1: Learn the skills
There is no shortcut here. At some point, you have to get competent with the camera. This learning lasts for years and fortunately there is no shortage of amazing training available to help us these days.
It comes down to recognising how you best learn. Do you prefer reading books, watching videos online, plugging into a photography training course or a university degree, working alongside other photographers to see how they do it? Work out how you best learn and go with that.
There are some pretty incredible online training platforms like Creative Live, Photigy, YouTube, Lynda, Kelby One, Alison Courses, Open2Study and a bunch of others.
There is still no substitution for “camera-in-hand time”.
The most important thing to remember is, always keep a camera in your hand, take thousands of photos, experiment, win some, lose some, just keep learning.
Step 2: Get the word out
So you’re building the skills and can now take some pretty nice photos. Now you need people to know about you. It’s time to spread the word. There are a couple of options…
Work for a photography business
A swift way to get deep into the photography action is to join an existing photography business. That way you can plug straight into their “system” and start learning and photographing projects they have. It’s also a wonderful opportunity as you may get to work alongside other photographers, which almost guarantees a LOT of learning.
Go it alone
Tell your family, tell your friends, tell the world that “Hey, I do this and I’m available to do this”. You can never have too many people knowing what you do.
Social media is an incredible world and with none or very little money needed, just your time. You can really build a following on sites like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat… and the new ones that will continue to pop up.
The good old humble website is still a super valuable resource for when people want to check out what you do.
Step 3: Repeat, repeat, repeat
So the above sounds pretty simple, and it is. That doesn’t mean that it’s quick though. Continue to learn, continue to tell people what you do, continue to challenge yourself, continue to take better photos… and keep that camera in your hand.
Knowing what sort of photographer you want to be
So the blessing and the curse of photography is there’s a ton of different types of photographers you could be. Photography knows no limits! You can do food. You can do weddings. You can do commercial. You can do products. You can do nature. You can do underwater. You can do travel and editorial.
There really is a heap of different opportunities, directions and pathways to go.
However, if you’re trying to do a bit of everything then it can get tricky because there’s equally a ton of people trying to do everything. It does help massively if you can pick your thing and become a master at that thing.
Saying that, it’s pretty common to not know what you want to focus on at first. Maybe even for a long time. If that’s the case, relax about having to choose and keep shooting everything. It won’t take you too long before you notice you start to get less excited about taking some types of photos and more excited about others.
Do less of the less exciting and more of the more exciting and before you know it, you’ll find your groove.
But when you do, it’s also ok to change over time. Gone are the days we need to do the same thing over and over forever. Keep going for what lights you up.
We wish you all the best in this fun, creative, challenging, rewarding and ever-changing journey.