How to Become a Photographer in 14 Easy Steps

How to Become a Photographer in 14 Easy Steps

In Instagram people ask me about how to become a professional photographer? Photographers, who managed to turn their hobby into moneymaking business typically use advanced methods and technologies to take pictures and deliver quality prints or digital shots.

14 Steps to Become a Professional Photographer:

Nowadays, there are a lot of amateurs learning photography without school and promoting their services on their own. Let’s see the most effective ways to become a professional photographer in any genre.

1. Get Ready by Answering the Questions

Becoming a freelance photographer or a full-time specialist is a great decision if you are sure that you'll be able to combine your passion with the business aspect of this occupation. Anyone, who is going to master a new profession should answer the questions, which will help understand if he/she possess all important qualities to achieve success.

  • What inspires me?
  • Am I ready to start and develop on my own?
  • Can I work alone and offer professional services?
  • Which photo genre interests me most of all?
  • What niches in my region I can fulfill?
  • How can I master photography and photo editing skills?
  • What will be the price of my services?

2. Get the Necessary Education

You are really lucky, as professional photography belongs to those fields, which don’t require structured education and degrees. You can study at home, develop your skills and practice as much as you wish without attending schools or colleges. Still, if you want to know how to become a professional photographer and create your own business, this will be quite helpful.

Best Photography Courses

You may choose any course, starting with Certificate programs and ending with an Associate Degree in Photography. The Certificate Photography programs last several months. The students learn the fundamentals of the profession and receive a photography license

3. Purchase Proper Equipment

It is very important to choose the gear in accordance with the photo genre, you are engaged in, be it wedding photography gear, landscape shooting, etc.

Best Amateur Camera Kit for the First Start

amateur photographer gear

There are many different styles and they typically require different lenses, flashes, etc. The best and quickest way to decide on the gear is to consult the professionals.

4. Learn How to Set Your Equipment

camera settings for photographers

The truth is that professional photographers know how to shot in the Manual mode and they don’t use the Auto settings at all. There are 3 key parameters you must know: ISO, Aperture, Shutter speed.

Each of them greatly affects the quality of your picture. I have to admit that it took me a long time when I was a beginner shooter to understand how everything works. So, be very persistent if you really want to know how to become a professional photographer. In addition, you should learn how to regulate focus and set composition, which will allow you to realize your creative ideas.

5. Identify the Niche: Why It Is So Important?

There are certainly different niches you may choose from: wedding portraits, newborn photography, travel, real estate, interior photography, portrait, jewelry photography, wildlife, and many others. After you define your specialization, the clients will have a clearer understanding of what to expect and how they can get in touch with you.

choose genre in photography

Even if you have decided to become a portrait photographer, for example, you’ll probably have other related orders and you shouldn’t refuse. In such a way, you can earn more money and enrich your portfolio with diverse photos.

It is a natural thing to experiment with different styles at the beginning of your career. Actually, it takes time to understand what genre you like most. Still, don’t try to cover several niches at once. It will be quite difficult and your business may not look really professional. Your goal is to become a truly skillful photographer. If you plan to make a living with shooting, it is advisable to find your personal niche.

6. Find Your Focus Area

But don’t try to imitate somebody, even the best photographers. You have to develop your unique style. Is there anything special you like to photograph – nature, people, property, jewelry? Follow your dreams and trust your passion.

These are your personal powerful tools, which will help to grow as a photographer. Sometimes, specific gear, models, lighting setup, and image editing programs help to define the photo style. Monitor the work of other local shooters. Keep reading and learning to be aware of modern trends.

7. Master Image Editing

photo editing sample by fixthephoto photo editing sample by fixthephoto

Some photographers cooperate with a certified photo editing company while others say that they treat image editing as a separate art, which requires special knowledge. You have probably noticed that some terms are identical in a camera and Photoshop.

Still, taking pictures and editing them are two different things. But if you want to learn how to become a great photographer, you have to master both of them.

The most well-known and effective programs to enhance photos are Photoshop and Lightroom. So, you have to learn how to use them, as they feature lots of necessary tools. Also, I recommend to subscribe to one of these cloud storages, because the more photoshoots you have, the more space you will need.

8. Find Photography Locations Near You

Every picture has a composition and a setting. Even if the photo session is spontaneous, the place for the shooting is usually examined in advance. In case it is a park or a riverfront, it is much easier to conduct a photo session than to find a studio or the location, where the license or permission is needed.

Google Earth/Google Maps

find place in google earth for photography

If you do not want to go all over your city or even country to find a great place, just use online maps. You’re most likely familiar with Google Maps, which can also be used to determine the location. Google Earth, in turn, will help you find amazing views.

Instagram Location Tags

find place in instagram for photography

The question of how to become a professional photographer is not so difficult in some cases. Using Instagram can be a great help, as it will let you learn the newest information about the locations you may choose.

You will see many photos, so you can understand what weather you should expect, and what the other conditions in this place are. In addition, you can detect some disadvantages, like a construction or some other nuances that can hinder the shooting.

9. Photography Internship with a Professional Photographer

photography internship with a professional photographer

If you a beginner and want to learn how to become a professional photographer, watch and communicate with other experienced photographers, and masters your skills. Do not be afraid to get feedback about your work, even if it is a critical one. Eventually, all of this will contribute to your development and professionalism.

10. Try Workshops

Take some online photography classes, visit different workshops or find your own mentor. This all will enable you to bring your career to a higher level. Anyway, it is never too late to learn, so keep improving your skills, growing and gaining experience. You also have an opportunity to join the Photography Associations for Free where you would learn necessary and interesting information and gain experience.

11. Create Your Online Portfolio Website

create online portfolio website

Creating your own portfolio website means that you set up a connection between you and your clients.

12. Tell People About What You Do to Grow Your Network

photography marketing

Tell people about your new business! Smart photography marketing is the next step of your becoming a professional photographer.

Begin with your family and close people. Do not also forget about the social media, especially the above-mentioned Instagram, which is becoming now a great platform to start your business. Remember to leave the link to your portfolio website.

By the way, you can even take part as a photographer in those events, so that people will learn you better. Look for the ways to enhance the skills needed to be a photographer, which will make you more confident.

13. Find Feedback

It is very important not to worry and panic in case you get negative comments. The question of how to become a great photographer implies that you have to make every effort to find your oversights and improve them. It can be difficult for you, but it is crucial for developing. Just do not forget your goal and create a list of things, which you must improve.

14. Practice Even When You Don’t Have Clients

Do it as much as possible. The more you practice, the more chances you have to become a professional. Besides, remember that you have to upgrade your portfolio and accounts on social media constantly. This will make you more skillful, so many tasks will become automatic for you.

Find a location and take the photos every day! You can make this process much more interesting, setting up a project, for example. You can take every day a photo for the whole year and create a ‘365’ project.

In addition, you can arrange free photo sessions and use them to check new ideas or new poses.

Photography Direction: Tips

When you reach a certain skill level, you need to define what you want to photograph.

How to Become a Good Photographer in Portraiture?

how to become a portrait photographer

Portrait Photography Guides

To become a portrait photographer, primarily you need to learn everything about lighting and different posing techniques. No matter what kind of portrait you take, whether it concerns family, fashion or sport, this will enable you to understand how to take the photo perfect like an expert. You have to master the fundamentals of this genre. Experiment and practice with posing to understand the best angles and learn lighting techniques to create the ideal photo.

How to Become a Professional Photographer in Weddings?

how to become a wedding photographer

Begin as an assistant of a professional shooter. Even if you’re a great photographer, you may not even realize how a wedding photo session occurs! It is very important to know every detail, such as what things you have to capture, when shoot the newlyweds, how to deal with guests, and how this day runs in general.

You will develop your own style and manner of organizing the shootings when you become more experienced.

Wedding Photography Guides

First of all, you will have an opportunity to get a few photos for your portfolio without the pressure of the wedding. In addition, you can meet a lot of new photographer friends, and learn many useful things from the people, who hold the workshop. But there are also disadvantages, and the main is that it will not represent a real wedding day.

You will also have much more time for shooting than at the real wedding. Thus, you should realize that it’s a great way to get some new photos for your portfolio, but it will not show you how the real wedding day runs.

How to Become a Professional Photographer in Travelling?

how to become a travel photographer

Travel Photography Guides

If you are interested in how to become a travel photographer, you probably understand that it deals with capturing places in all the glory. Of course, you are going to travel a lot and visit many locations, whether it is some places of interest, buildings, landscapes, and so on.

Travel photography is in most cases connected with the tourism industry, as it delivers pictures for advertisings, magazines, brochures, and for the social media. Here you can learn some advice on how to develop the travel photography business:

  • It is not going to be easy, so get involved in such a sphere only if you are passionate about it
  • Get ready to invest a lot of efforts, time and money to learn everything about the trade
  • Create your personal website
  • Promote your services with the help of social media
  • Try to set up your travel photography blog

How to Become a Professional Photographer in Real Estate?

how to become a real estate photographer

Real Estate Photography Guides

The question of how to become a real estate photographer is not so easy to answer. It requires both your photography skills and marketing aptitudes to offer your services to the real estate agents. Listing brokers claim that the collection of property photos that includes every part of the building, represent full information about the house to the customers.

So, first, develop your skills of using the different lenses for such type of photography and pay attention to your communication skills to succeed in promoting your services. You have a great chance to participate in The Real Estate Photographers of America and International Trade Association and find an agent that needs your services.

How to Become a Freelance Photographer?

how to become a freelance photographer

Freelance Photography Guides

Let’s face the fact that freelance beginning photographers will most likely to get small salaries. It often happens that at the start of the career the freelancers work for free just because they have to gain more experience and add a few wonderful photos to their collection. You should decide when you’re ready to take money for your work.

Do you know how to become a better photographer? For example, you may begin working with small websites and social media accounts. You can also offer your service to some hostel or a lodge. Don’t expect to get a great amount of money, as it will rather give you the necessary experience and skills to start dealing with something more serious.

Moreover, you need to create a strong portfolio showcasing your best work. Select a variety of images that demonstrate your skills and highlight your chosen niche.

Your portfolio should reflect your unique style and vision as a photographer. Consider creating a website or using online platforms to showcase your portfolio professionally.

Moreover, you should attend industry events, workshops, and photography meetups to connect with fellow photographers, potential clients, and industry professionals. Collaborate with other creatives, such as models, makeup artists, and stylists, to expand your portfolio and create mutually beneficial partnerships.

The most important thing is to stay updated with the latest trends and techniques in photography. Attend workshops, conferences, and online courses to enhance your skills and expand your knowledge. Embrace feedback and actively seek opportunities for growth and improvement.

Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more