If you have an interest in the art of photography and are wondering how to become a professional photographer please read the following tips, as they will help you in your journey. Those that are computer literate will have a slight advantage these days as the art of photography has switched to almost fully computer based. Back in the days it was more hands on as the photographer was responsible for creating every aspect of the shot; the lighting, setting, and effects, not to mention they then had to develop the prints. Technology now eliminates many of those skills once needed.
First step to go pro
The first step would be to obtain a fairly decent camera, along with a computer and editing software. If you can afford it, start off with an entry level professional camera, as they have many more features that you can learn and the faster you adapt to them the better off you will be in the long run. The majority of professional photographers use Mac computers because of their graphic abilities and the ease of editing. The universal program that the pros use is Photoshop. With these three items you will have the tools to learn the tricks of the trade and get a lot of great experience.
This brings us to the next point, and that is practice! Before digital cameras it was extremely pricey to learn photography. They would have to shoot film and then develop it themselves or pay to have it developed. Either way, it was very expensive to practice and learn. Now, the initial expense is fairy large but there is no cost associated with practicing. Digital cameras allow you to shoot as many pictures as you would like!
Don’t limit yourself
To truly learn the art of photography you will want to be very diverse, and shoot a variety of subject. On of the biggest mistakes new photographers make is limiting themselves to one subject matter or style. Take your camera everywhere you go and experiment with different shots and elements. Constant practice and experimenting with different settings will help to fully develop your photography skills.
As amazing as the new technology is (GoPro anyone?), it can also make potential professional photographers very lazy and develop bad habits. Even though technology is amazing and it makes capturing great photographs fairly easy, you still need to learn the basics, as photography is a form of art. A great way to learn is from other professional photographers. There are many workshops available hosted by amazing photographers, and these are a great way to learn techniques for a variety of situations. Try to take some classes from photographers with 20+ years of experience, as it will be much more beneficial because of the education you will receive. Many of the newer photographers will emphasize their classes on Photoshop skills and editing photos. Sure, those are important parts but if you are serious about wanting to know how to become a professional photographer then you will want to know the history of photography and get insight and suggestions from those that have been involved for many years and have been there through the technology chance. Anyone can snap a digital picture and try to edit it in Photoshop. True professionals treat it as an art form still and you need to learn as much as possible to fully develop into a professional.
You will also want to start a portfolio to showcase your work, and this can be done relatively easily and fairly inexpensive. You can register a domain name and host a wordpress blog for under $15. They even have photography specific templates that will allow you to upload your images and present them in a very professional manner. Keeping it well organized and broken down by category will help present it in a way that will be easy to view. Also, make sure to create a contact page on the site so viewers can get in touch with you. You never know when your first request for your photography services will come from!
A great way to get your name out there is to volunteer your services. A perfect example of this is photographing youth soccer games. It is a win-win situation for everyone and we are going to explain why right now. You will get a lot of experience doing so and there aren’t any out of pocket expenses, just your time. Work out a deal with the league that allows you to shoot the games and tell them that you will upload all of the photos on your website in a special section so the families of the players can visit the site and download them. This is a way to get a lot of traffic to your site and help build your name and gain exposure. This is a great way to market yourself as a professional photographer in the beginning. Depending on your schedule and free time available you can adopt this method to many situations such as community events and sporting events, both youth and high school.
Never give up
The road to becoming a successful professional photographer is not an easy one, as it requires a lot of experience and practice without compensation for your time. If you truly love the art of photography the journey will be very enjoyable as you will be going what you love and learning along the way. It is important to understand that it takes time to master this craft and it will also take an effort to brand yourself. Many hopeful professional photographers want to work as freelance photographers and cover a wide variety of topics and subjects, and some wish to work for a company is a set/specific role, such as a catalog photographer for a major clothing company. Either way, it will require dedication and continuous practice to develop your style and hone your skills. For those that are serious about learning how to become a professional photographer, follow the above advice and treat it as a hobby in the beginning. When you love what you do it will never feel like work.