Many budding photographers start out with a hobby they love and are excited about and it stays a hobby. There are others who start to wonder if their passion can be turned into a business venture without spoiling their love for the art. The problem is, what exactly do you need to make it successful and still love every moment of it? Before you start applying for a business license and looking at studio space, take some time to consider what it will take for you to be successful.
Classes can Help
While some photographers might have some natural talent, classes to expand on that talent are certainly helpful. You may learn about a new lighting technique that people are enjoying or techniques with specific cameras. You could perfect your skills in the editing software to get the most out of the programs you are using. Best of all, a certificate of completion (or even an art degree in visual art) can help validate your expertise to your clients. You are likely to book higher-paying clients and increase your bookings by keeping up with an education in art and photography.
Provide Your Samples Online
An online portfolio website is vital for any photographer who wants to be successful. Long before anyone calls you, they are going to research you online. They want to know what kind of photography you do and see it first-hand. People do this with graphic designers, illustrators, and visual artists all the time. They will make their decision to contact you based solely on what they find online. Without an online presence, you will shoot your business in the foot!
Show Your Work Off in Person
In addition to an online portfolio, having a physical portfolio to show off is equally as important. Firstly, each computer screen shows color differently. What may be royal blue on one screen, may look more like cornflower on another. A physical portfolio brings hands-on life to the experience. People often want to see illustrations in print and beautiful wedding photos firsthand to make the final decision as to whether or not they still like your work.
You can also consider opening a studio that you work out of that also has your work on the walls. It brings a sense of realness to your workspace, the inspiration for you to keep up with your passion, and gives you the opportunity to host art shows and sell pieces at times you may not have considered before.
Have the Tools You Need
With everything else we have mentioned, we cannot forget the tools of your trade. Obviously, a photographer is going to need a camera he or she works well with. Lighting equipment, editing software, props, and computer equipment are all vital to the visual artist and their budding business. Don’t forget the other items that are more business related, rather than passion-related. You will need business cards, a website, social media profiles (Instagram should be your highest priority!), and software that helps with scheduling and bookkeeping. You will also need to network as much as possible. Networking is what makes the difference in a hobbyist from a professional. Finally, the one tool you will need the most is the drive to do whatever it takes to achieve your dreams. It may mean taking photos at a bar/bat mitzvah until you can start getting hired for the fashion shoots you want to do. Getting your name out there. Working with quality models whom you work with the further each other’s businesses.
One of the greatest things about turning a passion into a business is that you get to spend your days doing something you really love. Why wouldn’t you want to get money for following your dreams?