Do you want to become a professional photographer and don’t know how to get started?
In this post you will find out how!
Everybody loves taking pictures of special moments in life, of trips, of celebrations and other special occasions. With the evolution of digital cameras and smartphone cameras, taking pictures has become part of our lives.
Many people who like photography and enjoy taking photos would like to develop in this area as a professional. With dedication and the right step by step, you can become a pro photographer, starting today!
In this post you will discover what are the 8 steps to become a professional photographer. You can begin your photography career today!
Let’s get started.
1. Choose a niche
A niche is an area of knowledge within the photography world that you like best. You need to choose one or a few styles of photography to start with. It can be landscape photography, reflection photography, children photography, wildlife photography, minimalist photography and dozens of other styles.
When you focus on a niche, your development is much larger. In a short time, your photos will be professional images. This way your photos will draw the public’s attention and you can start working on becoming a reference in your chosen niche.
To choose a niche, you can check our following posts with tips and techniques on many types of photography to see which one (or ones) you like the most:
2. Understand how pro cameras work
It’s important to understand how Professional Cameras work, you need to know what are the basic settings and take some test photos. You can search for tutorials on YouTube for how to use a specific camera, search for something like “How to set up camera Olympus Mark III”.
You can read our post How to Zoom In On Photoshoots of Any Camera to get a better understanding of how to search for material on the Internet to learn about a camera based on its brand and model.
It is important to know each function of your camera’s menu because you will know exactly what to use in your camera’s menu in any situation in which you have to change the settings quickly.
For example, you can test shooting in manual mode, you can test shoot in RAW, you can learn how to set up the camera shutter speed, the aperture, the ISO and so on. When you know your equipment, you know its features and how to take better photos with it.
3. Learn about photography pre-production
After you’ve chosen a niche and learned the basic features of pro cameras, it’s time to learn about photography pre-production. That is: how you set up Photography Gear and how you compose a photo scene and to make everything look perfect before you start shooting. For that, you need to understand about different photography equipment, such as lighting gear (LED lights, reflectors, flash diffusers), tripods, camera lenses and others. Sensors, reflectors and diffusers, tripods. If you are thinking of becoming a professional photographer you should know the necessary equipment.
One specific part of the photography pre-production process that you need to master well is lightning. You must know how to work the lighting available and how to use artificial light correctly. When you understand those things, your photos will have a different quality. So study about light and go deeper into the subject.
You can read our following posts to learn more about photography pre-production and photography gear:
4. Practice and practice
Practice hard: take photos and more photos! No matter where you go, remember to carry your Camera at all times, on trips, on weekend hangouts, when you have free time during the week and even at home! Practice more and more, even if it’s in your home’s garden, make plenty of photos of all styles, with different camera settings, even if it’s just for testing! Photography is a very practical art! You must combine all the technical knowledge you have studied with practice. And, most importantly: you have to practice while you learn!
5. Learn about photo editing
Knowing how to edit photos will increase your professionalism a lot! And you can also learn to edit while you learn about technical photography while you edit
Don’t think you need to be a pro to edit your photos or learn about major software programs like Photoshop in depth. You can learn about basic editing like brightness correction, contrast enhancement and even saturation adjustment, and add some filters to it, those simple steps will enhance your photos like you can’t imagine!
That’s pretty easy and can be done either online with free photo editing sites or even with free photo editing smartphone apps. Just don’t over-think it because basic photo editing can be done with any software, be it a website, on an installed computer program or a smartphone app. So, trust your first search results and put it into practice!
6. Create your photographic identity
A photographic identity is the way you shoot photos, how you compose photo scenes, the captions, the positioning of the photo’s elements in your photos, the way you edit photos and so on. Having a photographic identity is very important to be recognized by the audience. Your technique has to be unique.
To create your photographic identity you have to be critical about yourself (in a positive way) and know to recognize when a photo you shot is not so good and what needs to be improved in your future photo shoots. You need to discover if it was the lighting, the framing, the editing or any other part of the process that didn’t work to correct and improve it the next time.
You can search for inspiration from other photographers when you’re starting because when you see photos of other professionals, you will notice many techniques. So, search for photographers on Instagram and also for their websites to see their work. Understand your photography niche, search online for the work of photographers of the same niche to get ideas. You will notice that each photographer has a different style of work, and that will help you start creating your own photography style!
7. Grow your brand as a photographer
Seek to be original in your creations. Find what has not yet been done, which could be a photo niche that has not yet been developed, another way to present your work on the internet, create your style, your way of developing your work.
When you finish your first work as a photographer, even if it’s just one, create a website to demonstrate your photo portfolio. Having an online portfolio is important so that people can get to know your work. There are several ready-made websites, with templates that you can use, so do a little search (especially on YouTube) for the phrase “create photography portfolio website easy”. This phrase is disorganized on purpose to increase the number of results.
You can divide your portfolio into many categories, one with information about you, one with contact information, and one about your work with photos that you’ve shot.
A portfolio will also help you create your brand. This is very important, when you have a professional name and a logo, your work becomes more professional.
You can register your brand and even make it your own photography company! Over time, your work becomes more known in the market and you get greater recognition from large companies that will want to work with you!
8. Build your online presence
Other than a portfolio, you can use social media and other online platforms to build your online presence. You can have an Instagram page about your work. Instagram is the best network for promoting photography work. But use Instagram correctly, don’t put pictures in mosaic, have a good description, a good profile picture, leave your email address on the bio, use stories and search for tips on how you can grow on Instagram.
Also, don’t mix your personal life with your professional life on your Instagram page. Post only photos of your work. You can create a personal Instagram and put it in your professional Instagram description as a disclosure.
Use your professional Instagram Stories to communicate with your audience, Stories are the best communication tool that you can use to get your audience to know you.
You can also have a professional Facebook page and other social media accounts, all professional. You can record videos and post on YouTube to help the audience to see who is behind the work. People like to interact with whoever owns a professional online profile.
When your brand is already recognized, you can even create your own products and courses for your audience!
Great! Now you know the 8 steps you need to follow for becoming a professional photographer! So don’t hesitate to put what you’ve learned into practice, starting from today! The important thing is to get started!
You can also share your thoughts in the comments below!