How to become a professional photographer

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Like many, I started taking pictures for pleasure, then slowly with the will to become a photographer it has become my job. On this page, some tips for those who want to start.

Take lots of photos for free!

To learn the technique and much more, I recommend you start taking pictures for free, but then don’t give away all the photos!

When I started in a month I tried to photograph, without being paid by anyone, the greatest number of events in the surroundings of my city and I promised that I would give 5-10 images, and so I did.

It is important never to give away the entire service otherwise those who receive the images may think that you are doing it as a hobby and not to try to work on it.

In addition to various types of events, try to make some shots at the friends’ wedding alongside the official photographer, take pictures posing with some friends, etc. It is important to be able to manage every photographic situation while remaining calm, changing the settings of the machine in a short time to make the perfect photo.

Choose the right sector and take salable photos!

Cats and dogs are beautiful, but unless you want to become a pet photographer, I don’t recommend focusing on this type of image.

I often receive e-mails in which aspiring photographers send me their Flickr profile and ask me for an opinion, but they are all photos of flowers, cats, dogs, clouds, panoramas and mediocre sunsets.

The photos of events, weddings and sports will be “always” requested because they are images that can only be taken during that day. Travel photos, animals etc. instead they have a more limited field: if I have a travel site and I need a photo of the Eiffel Tower in Paris I can find a fantastic one for $1 on the Stock sites, I don’t need to send a photographer to redo the same image.

So focus on photos that have a possible sale. Any type of photography can be sold, but there are sectors in which it is easier to work, and as I have already said, these sectors are: sports, weddings, events in general.

Make yourself a site

Upload your photos to your personal website, maybe to a domain with your name. I advise you to make yourself a site with a really good platform for both amateurs and professionals.

Professional websites for photographers are great showcase for introducing yourself to potential customers, so update it often and upload many photos.

Get inspiration

Photos, even the most original, always start from a basic idea. Any photos you take must have very specific characteristics to be salable. Before any work, jump on agency and photographer sites and get inspired. For sports photos I recommend GettyImages, for SimePhoto travel, for generic but also “fashion” photos Flickr, for high-end fashion photos buy a magazine on newsstands and for wedding photos do a search on Google also looking for what they do abroad.

Invest in equipment

With a compact or a reflex with a poor lens, you do not go anywhere. Put some savings aside or make a loan and buy something serious. A 5D mark II with the 24-105 and a 70-200 2.8 IS are a great choice to start.

Photographing requires very high investments, but at least at the beginning it is not necessary who knows what and already with only $4000-$5000 you can start working, maybe from home. If it seems so much to you, try to think about how much someone who opens a bar spends (coffee machine, counter, tables, dishes, products, etc.) or any other business on their own.

Cameras devalue quickly, while lenses always maintain good value. So invest safely in good goals, if in the future you change your mind you can resell them without losing too much.

Conclusion

In the beginning there will always be those who will tell you “you won’t earn anything with photography “, “you won’t make it but …”, etc. Don’t listen to these malicious voices but look your way and aim hard.

To be a professional photographer it is not important how beautiful a photo is, how well it is made, what equipment you have. The important thing is to sell photos, and that’s what you need to focus on. Sometimes to sell photos these must be almost perfect, often just having the photo is enough.

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