become a photographer
“I won’t lie to you, I fancy myself as a bit of a photographer” – this is what we all think when we snap a perfect picture and scurry to share it on our social networks. But have you ever thought about becoming an actual professional photographer and charging for your photography services?

As the old adage goes – a photograph tells a thousand words and this is the reason why so many of us use photography as a way of expressing ourselves. More and more people are looking to get into photography as a career and this trend isn’t slowing down with a reported 27% increase in the last 4 years of applicants enrolling on photography courses.

With this in mind and me being the kind gentleman that I am, I am going to share 5 simple steps to turn your photographer dream into reality in a flash (see what I did there?)

1. Learn Photography …. Properly

As mentioned previously, whenever we do get a picture that is so good is boggles the mind, we still don’t understand photography fundamentals. You’ll need to learn photography from scratch – understanding the basics.

Getting to know your way around a camera and the general principles of photography is absolutely paramount if you’re to pursue a career.

These elements of learning will include:

  • Knowing which buttons do what and how to adjust certain features
  • The concept of ISO, shutter speeds and apertures
  • Shooting like a pro on manual mode
  • Holding a camera (yep, there’s ways to do this properly)
  • Knowing your lighting
  • Framing and Composition
  • Training the eye to see properly through the viewfinder

2. Explore the fields

One of the best things about photography is that there’s so many different paths and industries to work in. This can include:
  • News
  • Documentary
  • Historical
  • Advertising
  • Sports
  • Weddings
  • Events (general)
  • Forensic
  • Scientific
If you’re already in a profession, it may be that you can couple photography with your current career. Have a think.

3. Choose the field

Once you’ve explored the array of fields that could be potentially suitable, it’s time to choose. This doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a certain field after choosing one, but it does mean you should choose a field to specialize in as photographers within a niche notoriously do better in their careers.

Choose a field and become an expert. Research existing work, look at how they’ve done things and learn. This whole process should be dedicated to you learning new things and this is a step where you should pick an area and become an expert.

4. Build your portfolio

With many jobs a CV is your key to an interview – but with photography, your portfolio is the key. Continually grow your portfolio with photographs that you’re proud of and that you think could interest both buyers directly and employers. This isn’t to say you should mash millions of pictures into your portfolio though, choose your best photographs and keep those as your spotlight pieces to entice the masses.

5. Get Showing Off Your Work and Networking

There are thousands of places to share your photos online in 2020 – and my advice to you is to make the most of them. Research top sites like ClickASnap (my personal favorite as you can get paid for people viewing your photographs – it’s a great way to build residual income from doing what you love) and others.

The bottom line is, although these 5 steps seem pretty straight forward, becoming a professional photographer takes time, patience and an awesome quantity of learning. Once you’ve got your niche and you make a name for yourself though, a photography career can be one of the most rewarding in the world.

Good luck

Article by Jamie McKaye