How To Become A Photographer And Land Photography Jobs
Whether you are looking for travel photography jobs, wildlife photography jobs or just trying to land a gig shooting the neighbor’s kid’s bar mitzvah, the photography market is competitive and you need to stand out.
Know Your Equipment And Know How To Use It
Whether you’re picking up a camera for the first time or having shooting as a hobby for a few years, you’ll have to make sure you know your equipment and know how to get the shot you’re looking for. Get out of auto and know the exposure triangle (ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture) and know how altering one or the other will affect your shot. Master composition. Know how to make a boring shot more interesting and draw the eye to exactly where you want it. At the end of this article are a few resources you can check out to become a master.
Discover Your Shooting Passion- Find A Niche
You can try and be a jack of all trades but if you pick a niche and master it you’ll get a lot more attention and as a result a lot more work. You should try shooting everything under the sun to find what you are really passionate shooting. Read everything you can about it, study other work, go out and experiment, learn to be the best and always look for paid gigs along the way.
If you really want to learn fast, consider learning from someone else already shooting your niche. Look for any photography assistant jobs even if you have to work for cheap or even free. This will drastically sharpen your learning curve. A good starting point is our articles on Wedding Photography, Family photography, Maternity Photography and sports photography.
Make It An Obsession
Grant Cardone has an amazing book called the 10x Rule. To try and sum it up, it’s about giving your all in everything to be the best. Not resting until you reach the levels of success you desire. Instead of complaining you don’t have any work and watching TV all day, go out and shoot for free just for the experience and exposure. Build your brand and online presence in the local photography community, read and absorb everything you can about your niche, marketing and sales. You can only be in the 2% if you are willing to work and do more than the other 98%. It’s not luck, just a little hustle and grit.
Have The Perfect Portfolio
It’s tricky to get work when you don’t having any work to showcase your skills. This is where doing a bit of cheap or free work pays off. Shoot for friends in exchange for you using their shoot for your site or portfolio.
Even after you’re getting paid ask if you can showcase certain photos from the shoot, with their prior photo consent of course. This leads into your site.
You should have a site. Even if you aren’t getting a lot of online traffic, it’s a good place to point potential clients for examples of your work and book shoots. Don’t get discouraged. You can build a website, it’s easier than ever. You just need to find a host (HostGator, Bluehost, Dreamhost), wordpress installation(look for one click install options on the hosts) and a nice theme(Themeforest, ElegantThemes). Write a few pages and post a few pictures and your done. Just make sure you have a contact me page and somewhere to put your portfolio. Later on you will want to refine your site to make it more functional but to start just have something quick and clean up.
In full disclosure, I am an affiliate with HostGator but I really do believe in their service and they have full walkthrough tutorials on how to setup your site simply and easily.
You’ll definitely want to be on social media and showcase whatever you can. Instagram is a must, facebook, twitter and pinterest are also a should have to build a following. Ok Pinterest is just fun. Any of Gary Vee’s books or his blog are invaluable resources when it comes to social media marketing. In Gary’s words you’ll want to “jab, jab, right hook” where the jabs are value content without asking for anything in return and the right hook is an offer.
Know Your Worth
This is another place where having a niche comes in handy. If it’s a low competition niche and you’ve proven your worth, you can charge more than you would expect. Experts in a given niche are worth their weight in gold. We tend to undervalue our services but know what you are worth and always strive to give as much value as you can to a customer (free prints, bonuses, extra shots, a positive experience) so they feel you are more than worth the expense.
Always Grow And Enjoy The Journey
This is good advice in general but always be on a path of personal development and mastery. It’s hard to find readers today but reading is invaluable. You can learn a skill that could completely revolutionize your life from a $30 book.
If you still say you don’t have time to read, then you aren’t trying hard enough but there are a few other options. Audiobooks are handy and you can listen to them at 2x speed while out and about. Audible is my favorite. It’s relatively cheap and you get a free book every month. Podcasts about your industry are also a good source of tips and motivation.
Most importantly, have fun. Enjoy the journey, remember why you got into photography in the first place. After all this is about you pursuing a passion and building a life you can love.
Resources To Master Composition And To Getting Out Of Auto:
- Froknowsphoto beginner guide