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The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Professional Photographer

When it comes professional photography, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Or in this case, the camera lens. Technological innovations in digital photography have made it easier for photographers to create outstanding pictures.

But what really separates the hobbyist from the professional isn’t just the equipment; it’s the creative skill in using the tools of the trade, the eye for detail, and the acumen to sustain this craft as an income-generating venture. Here are some points to consider if you wish to make a career in the world of professional photography.

What are you passionate about?

Focus on what interests you. For example, ask yourself: Who are your favourite photographers and why are you inspired by their work? What kind of subjects do you want to take pictures of? What topics or concepts appeal to you?

Research about your interests. Read about the techniques and themes used by the photographers that you admire. Review photographs done by experts in the field on the subjects and topics that you’re interested in. Compare them with your own work and note any similarities or differences.

This will serve as a great kick-start to your creative journey as a photographer so you can find your niche. Or take a risk and discover new interests to focus your craft on.

Solid foundation of the fundamentals

Every professional started out as a beginner who had to learn the basics. While you can always self-learn and practice, joining a photography training course will help you develop the essential skills you’ll need. You’ll learn how to make full use of the creative and technical aspects of photography. And you can always upskill to further hone your craft with advanced photography training.

It is expected that you know how to use your equipment, inside and out – from every button and setting of your camera to using different kinds of lights to photo-editing software.

Becoming a Professional Photographer

Assist a professional photographer

You know the basics. Now it’s time to apply what you’ve learned. You can start by working as an assistant to a professional photographer. This will give you a firm background on the requirements needed for different kinds of photoshoots.

You’ll also get first-hand experience on how professional photographers work – not just in taking pictures but also the behind-the-scenes production such as setting up the equipment to dealing with clients. This will also help you to develop your soft skills that are essential in building your photography career.

Practice to build your portfolio

As with any craft, the learning never stops. Keep practising to improve your skills. Learn how to be flexible by experimenting and adapting different photography styles and techniques.

Collect your best work and create a portfolio. There are many online portfolio options that you can choose from to display your work. Show it to your photography mentors or trainers and be open to their feedback. Remember, this is what you’ll present to your future clients which will determine if they’ll hire your services.

Join clubs and competitions

Be a member of photography associations so you can also network with fellow photographers for future collaborations. Participate in photography contests, whether local or international. Competition may be fierce, but it will drive you to do better.

This will also add value to your body of work and provide great leverage for your services.

Make the pitch

Before you offer your services, do your research on your prospective clients. Understanding what they need will help you to create a pitch deck so you can communicate your concepts for their project.

A pitch deck includes an overview about the project and how will you fulfil their objectives. Add reference images – either from your own work or from others – that will help them visualise and understand your concept. Present a schedule that shows the prep time, shooting days, and check-in dates with the client to stay on track. And of course, list down the cost of your services. If the client has a fixed budget for the project, you need to find out how to allocate it accordingly or negotiate if necessary.

Becoming a Professional Photographer

Advanced professional photography online course

If you’re interested to pursue a career in photography, consider enrolling in a certified training course designed by the best photographers in the field. Courses4Me, an online learning provider in Australia, is offering in-depth training sessions in professional photography. From learning the basics to mastering techniques, you’ll receive expert knowledge and skills development from one of the best online courses and programmes providers in the country.

For beginners, you can download a free course guide here for more details. If you prefer advanced training, learn more details about our course modules here.