20 Essential Tips to Be a Professional Photographer
Wish to take up photography as a career?
Here are the few tips to start with::
Matching up to the rigors of professional photography is no mean task. It is a highly competitive and challenging field, where the photographer with the right skill set, equipment, and experience shines through by producing images that are both marketable and at the same time visually appealing. This is only possible under the careful guidance of a acclaimed photography , where one gets to learn and apply the techniques of professional photography.
Here are a few tips which will help you make the transition from an amateur to a successful professional photographer:
Education & Training:
- Do proper research – It is very important that you do a proper research on your chosen genre of photography, and keep yourself continually updated. You need professional guidance, from a photography institute of repute, where all technical aspects & current market trends are explained in details by the faculty therein.
- Learn from an Institute of repute – It is absolutely essential that you join a training program on photography from an institute with good reputation. This would not only help you master the techniques under the guidance of an experienced faculty, but would also give you a better understanding of the market dynamics & trends in your chosen genre of specialization at a later stage.
Temperament & skill set:
- Train your eye – Photography is an art form. Working professionally, it is very important to train one’s eye to recognize all the basic elements of imagery, viz. tone, color rendition, balance and overall composition. It helps immensely if you take up a photography training course from an institute of repute.
- Know your equipment – It is imperative as a professional to know your equipment like the back of your hand. Go through the manuals, read all instructions, to get the most out of your gadgets. Also discuss the matter with the faculty of your institute who, through their decades of hard-earned experience, would be able to guide you as to how you can get the best out of what you have.
- Be organized – It is very important as a professional to review one’s work from time to time. Be organized, structured, and keep your work folio up-to-date. Also get your work folio reviewed by the faculty of your institute, and always ask them to suggest ways for improving the same.
- Brainstorm & get your works reviewed by the faculty of your institute – At the amateur level, it is very important that you get your works reviewed by the faculty of your training institute. It is also important that you follow their advice and guidelines at the nascent stage, learn as much as you can from them, and then apply the techniques in your own individual style.
- Get the best gadgets & equipment – Professional photography demands quality imagery, which is sell-able, and can be used for branding & promotional campaigns by agencies and corporate houses. Here, quality matters. Buy the best that the market has to offer, under the careful guidance of your training institute, to stay ahead of the pack. Also, take their advice for any additional equipment / accessories which you may require, or may come in handy for your chosen line of work.
- Participate in workshops / forums organized by your institute – Workshops and forums provide a wonderful opportunity to share ideas, learn about the latest trends and thus enrich yourself. It also serves as a platform to build your network and connections which will eventually help you grow in your line of work.
- Be a part of social media – With the advent of social media it has become a whole lot easier for aspiring professional photographers to interact, share, and discuss their works. Get your website up-n-running, under the careful guidance of your training institute.
- Choose the right genre – As a professional it is very important you choose the genre of photography. Discuss this matter with the faculty of your training institute, take their advice and then identify what suits you best, and stick to it.
- Be a creative businessman – As a professional photographer, you must think like a businessman, and be creative at the same time. With a plethora of opportunities in commercial, advertisement, and industrial photography segment, one must brand and promote one’s work in the best possible way to reap the benefits. Do your homework. Always take the help of the faculty of your training institute in this matter, who would be able to carefully guide you through the process of screening the best agencies, where you can showcase your work and make a head-start.
- Tap into the profitable segments – To be successful as a professional photographer, it is very important that you identify and tap into the segments that are most profitable. Wedding, fashion, food, product – all these genres are highly lucrative, and provide fantastic opportunities for aspiring professional photographers to gain sustainable employment. Discuss the matter over with the faculty of your training institute, who, through their experience and knowledge would be able to suggest what’s best for you, and guide you accordingly.
- Choose the right genre – As a professional, it is very important you choose the genre of photography, identify what suits you best, and stick to it.
- Be a creative businessman – As a professional photographer, you must think like a businessman, and be creative at the same time. With a plethora of opportunities in commercial, advertisement, and industrial photography segment, one must brand and promote one’s work in the best possible way to reap the benefits. Do your homework. Look for the best agencies, and showcase your work.
- Tap into the profitable segments – To be successful as a professional photographer, it is very important that you identify and tap into the segments that are most profitable. Wedding, fashion, food, product – all these genres are highly lucrative, and provides fantastic opportunities for aspiring professional photographers to gain sustainable employment.
- Act like a professional – If you aspire to be a professional, first you must act like one. Honor the terms & conditions of your clients / agencies / media or corporate houses and the like. Ensure there is no breach of trust while rendering your service. This will help you a long way in your professional career as a photographer.
- Be punctual and deliver what you promise – As a professional, it is absolutely imperative that you are disciplined and punctual with regards to your work. Also, it is important that you’re aware of what you can deliver and what you cannot. Be organized, and get things laid on contract if need be, so that there is no room for confusion in the end. Also it is important that you present your work folio before hand, so that there is no misunderstanding with regards to what you can deliver, and what they expect from you.
- Start small, and slowly work your way upwards – You cannot take a leap before learning how to walk. You must be practical, and plan your career accordingly. After completing your photography training course from a reputed institute, you can kick-start your career by assisting and working under the careful guidance of a mentor for your chosen genre. One typically can earn approx INR 5000 – 6000 per assignment at this stage, but the experience one gains from it is priceless. After having mastered all the technical aspects, the nitty-gritty’s of professional image making process, one can then move on to the next stage, and start working as a professional independently. In the early stage, one typically can earn approx INR-15000 – 20000 by working for small clients and agencies. Slowly, with time, the clientele base will expand, and the earnings consequently will quadruple. So the trick is to be patient, start small, and then work your way upwards.
Today, photography as an art form is no more a niche domain. With an ever expanding economy, advertising, branding & promotion has now come to the fore, and visual imagery drives businesses across all market segments, and consequently the demand for professional photographers has sky-rocketed like never before. The word ‘photography’ itself can be broken down, and deconstructed to highlight what it actually stands for, in the broader context:
A – Attitude
In the end, to be successful as a professional photographer – as in any profession for that matter – one must have the tenacity to ‘go-through-the-grind’. One must persist, learn from one’s mistakes, and keep pushing forward all the time. Like the famous marketing wizard Zig Ziglar said: “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”