A basic guide for individuals wanting to become photographers.
So you want to snap snap snap for the rest of your day’s?, well I am going to teach you exactly how to make a living from photography. I will run through steps to help get you started on an amazing opportunity to hold people’s memories.
So what is the first thing you need to get to become a photographer?, NO! it is not a camera it is knowledge. Without knowledge about photography and how the industry works then having a fancy camera for you will just be for fun or as a hobby. A must have I guess n anything you want to do in life is passion, having passion will make you more likely to succeed and grow into a professional photographer. Have objectives as this will keep you focused and guide you on your photography journey.
Deciding on The Type Of Photographer You Want To Be
Do not and I beg of you, do not go out and buy the most expensive camera on the market without first doing your research and finding out what type of photographer you want to be. There are a number of different types of photographers that take photos of different objects, people or items. You can be an Architecture and interior photographer, child photographer, a catalog photographer, take pictures of celebrities, become a corporate or industrial photographer, photojournalism, a fashion and beauty photographer, you can also go into fine arts, illustrations (Advertising), become a medical or scientific photographer, nature, wildlife or landscape photographer or be news and sports photographer or if you like food become a still life and food photographer, if seeing the world is your dream why not be a travel and location photographer, if you want to capture life’s special moments become a wedding or event photographer and finally the photographer that I am is known as a generalist, that is I cadavel in all of the above.
Starting-Start Small With No Money And No Clients
In everything you do start small, learn and grow into the giant shark you have always dreamed of becoming. Today is the day you start with the little you have, before you buy a fancy camera try taking a picture off your phone and see if you can install free apps such as candy camera, prizma amongst others which by doing so will be able to tell you if photography is for you or not. Choose a simple name for your photography business and work from home, to begin with. Have a dedicated free empty room from which will be your office and photo shoot room. Print and hand out simple black and white posters and have business cards to create awareness to what you are capable of providing in terms of quality and service. In the photography business, the most ideal way of becoming known is to provide free photoshoots to well-known people in the community, thus creating a reputation and gaining references to which you can include in your portfolio. I must literate that it is essential to have the main source of income come from a career other than photography while starting out as becoming a professional photographer could take more than two to three years.
Beginner Equipment needs
Before you rush off to buy the latest camera and photo editing software, stop and read. Technology is constantly changing and the camera you buy today is going to be old tomorrow so don’t spend a lot on the newer models, rather buy a second-hand model that is around one year old from the release date. When buying a camera please take into account the added costs such as buying the lenses, tripod stand, SD card storage and extra camera batteries and a pouch. One must also budget for lighting as a good quality camera in poor lighting is worse than a poor quality camera in good lighting. Lighting is everything in photography. Photo editing software such as Adobe is essential to obtain especially if one wants to produce quality images. Without editing, pictures tend to be plain and boring. Please do ask for advice and research well before you make any form of purchase for equipment, lighting or editing software.
Starting One’s Own Studio
Having a home studio means lower overhead costs but does not necessarily means having higher profits. Your home should preferably be in an area zoned for business. Having a room from which you can take pictures in and an office with a desk, telephone and chair is all you need. Having a picture perfect office and studio is not 100% necessary what is necessary is your drive and hunger to get clients, take photos and make money baby.
Getting your first Assignment/Job
So you now got a camera, a studio, did some advertising and have a client, what now? first, you make an appointment then dress professionally and properly depending on where you going to take the photos. Always arrive early and ahead of time, scope out the scene beforehand to save you time when you with your client. In life be honest especially if you a photographer never sell dreams and lies in your portfolio. Don’t underprice yourself even though sometimes we all want to. Have a price that is worth the service you will provide. One must come to the realization that work will not be guaranteed first time around. After you complete your photography send a follow-up letter to thank your client for choosing you and go the extra mile to surprise your client (example: sending extra edited pictures). As a photographer, your relationships will influence the amount of business you will have so make sure you are able to turn one assignment into another.
Let’s Talk About Marketing Your Photography
Marketing is not only the process of creating awareness it is also the process of adding value and quality to the end user in a way that differentiates your organization from its competitors. There are a number of ways to promote one’s photography business. When advertising remember the platinum rule is to keep the message short, sweet and simple. By placing your advert in a newspaper you are sure to gain a few clients and remember the platinum rule so don’t place your advert on the front page or on one whole page in the newspaper as this will be expensive and unnecessary, you need to save money not waste it. Magazines are an excellent place to advertise because not only can you display your work but you can also select certain readers, for example, advertising in house and home magazine as an architect photographer. The cheapest way of advertising is radio folks, Keep the message short but make sure in all the advertisements you ever make your business name, location and contact number is provided. A tip to remember when using radio advertising is that high-income individuals listen to classical, jazz and easy-listening stations while lower-income individuals listen to rock and country music. Let this knowledge help you in choose the radio channel and time slots of your advertising. As a photographer television adverting is honestly a waste of money and time so don’t even bother, it is simply a no go.
The cleverest way to gain clients as a photographer with half-empty pockets is to create a website. Websites are the easiest and cheapest way to gain clients and provides the clients with a chance to view your work, see how much your services are going to cost them and also gain some knowledge of the business you own. Using social media to advertise in today’s age is a must. Being able to create and advertise on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube among the dozen of other new social media sites will by far boost your client base and market share. Not only is social media marketing cost effective it is also widely used and can be used as a reference to future potential clients of the work you have done.
What to Charge
There a just too many factors to take into play for me to tell you what you should charge for your services but I can give you a general insight into how you should go about pricing your service. There are three main ways to set your price, the first would be to have a general fee scale that can be periodically upgraded as the costs seem to warrant such a consideration. Second would be to base your fee off what your competitors are charging in your area, the trick with this is to not to drastically undercut your competition as it will give the impression that your performance will be of low quality. The third and final way to charge would be to base your charges on your costs. This method cannot fail as it is fair, realistic and ensure that you make a little profit.
There is so much more information about how to negotiate the right price to taxes to legal issues such as invasion of privacy and let us not forget about insurance, they just way too much but hey if you follow me, add me on Facebook or twitter, inbox me or email me then maybe I will write an additional part two to this as photography is definitely one interesting topic.
Capturing memories and making time stand still is magical so from now on you not a photographer you a magician that can turn the ordinary to extraordinary using angles, lenses and Photoshop. Behold the chance to make people smile, cry or laugh through what you create using your camera. Photography is not an easy business, it takes hard work, passion and persistence. A scary fact to note is that photography businesses have a 94% failure rate in their first 3 years. The art to becoming that 6% is by not focusing on competition but focusing on what you can do for the client that will make the client love you.
Like a wise old man once said to me “when life gets hard, wank”.
(The above cover picture was taken using an ordinary 8mp phone camera)