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A Step-by-Step Guide to Making It as a Photographer

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The rapid advancement in technology has brought new opportunities as well as challenges. Some people decide to follow their dream, creating a side hustle from their photography hobby. Others take the plunge and give up their full-time jobs to pursue this career. All it takes is for a few friends to say, ‘These pictures are great!’ or ‘I would pay good money for these photos!’ 

The reality is that growing a business can take time, and many markets are saturated. The challenge is therefore to go into this with eyes wide open and taking the wisest steps to promote your best work. Let’s look at the basic steps we need to take right now. 

Decide Where to Sell

The internet provides a global audience for those who are looking to sell their quality photos online. The professionals at say people have two choices: they can create a self-hosted website using such software as WordPress or feature their work on stock photo sites such as Twenty20, PhotoDune, or Stocksy. Interestingly, Stocksy pays one of the highest commission rates, being between 50 and 75% of the sale. Many others pay around 30%. 

Be Sure of the Choice

When money is going to be involved, it’s important to ensure this is not going to be just a fad. Go into the business for the long haul, and be wise about finance. Would it be wiser to keep working and do this in the evenings and at weekends – or can you afford to stop your normal work and focus 100% on growing the new enterprise?

Posting pictures on a stock photo site can be a low risk from a money perspective, whilst buying costly equipment represents the other extreme. 

Study to Be the Best

If markets are saturated and people need their work to stand out from the crowd, the study is essential. Become a guru at composition, lighting, perspective, and contrast. Online courses are increasing by the day, so there may be some modestly priced material available. The beauty is that people can go through these courses at their own pace.

A photography degree is not possible for everyone, but it affords the opportunity to  spend one’s whole time immersed in the subject. Valuable contacts can also be made during this time. 

On a day to day basis, it’s worth joining photography clubs. These provide the chance to meet other photographers and to learn from them. Why not join a free photography Facebook group? This could provide a goldmine of information and interaction. Don’t forget to practice, practice, practice – and with different types of photography too!

Obtain Quality Equipment

A beginner could start with a DSLR and buy more lenses over time. These could include wide-angle or long-distance ones which will provide more options photographically. 

A tripod can be essential for some work, keeping the camera still and reducing backaches. Also, research lighting such as softboxes. These can be key when dealing with brightness and shadows associated with indoor shots. 

People who are not in a great financial position may be pleased to learn that some smartphones can be as good as digital cameras. One example is Huawei P30.

Buy Editing Software

A basic computer can cope with such Microsoft apps as Word and Excel, and scrolling through the internet. A would-be photographer will need some extra power and a top-quality display, however.   

Taking the picture may be only half the work. There may be some adjustments to make after the event. Such software as Photoshop enables people to create professional photos by using a huge array of options. Software such as this or Adobe Lightroom are top of the market cost-wise, so beginners would be wise to consider the free options such as GIMP or PIXLR.

Once again, there are courses people can take that focus on photo editing. Also, check out YouTube for free tutorials on all things photographic. Much of it is free, and it can provide a valuable resource. 

Set Up the Business

People may benefit from identifying a niche audience. It could be by selling on one’s own website or uploading it on to stock photo sites. Alternatively, someone may aspire to be a family or wedding photographer, or taking property photos for real estate agents. 

The next thing to do is to promote the business and photos using social media platforms such as Pinterest, Snapchat, or Instagram. Redirect online traffic to your website at every opportunity. Network with other photographers and attend photography conventions. 

Be patient with the business growth and only promote the best pictures from your portfolio. Over time, who knows? A diligent and wise photographer may be able to secure a sustainable income and even be able to mentor others who wish to follow in your steps.

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