In this post, I want to talk about what it takes to “go pro” in photography. We’re going to talk about equipment, building a photography portfolio website and what it takes to be competitive in the field.
So you’ve decided its time to go pro. You’re going to try and make your living as a photographer. There is a romantic notion of flying around the world with your camera and having clients and art lovers complement your work and pay you money for the pictures you take. While this can happen – lets take a look at where you need to start.
As a professional, photography is no longer just a hobby – its now a business and you’re going to have to treat it like that. This means you’ll need to figure out how much money every year you need to make. Of that money, how much needs to be spent on equipment and how much do you need to live on. Since we’re talking about equipment, lets look at the first mindset. You need to be practical. This doesn’t mean go out and buy the top of the line DSLR and most expensive lenses. This means you need to buy gear using your brain. What can you afford that will do the job? Most professionals have middle line cameras as they are the most reliable at the lowest cost. They are also smart about purchasing lenses. You need to buy the lenses you’ll be using regularly and rent the special use gear. In this day and age you can get just about anything as a rental. In fact, I even know a photographer who owns several lenses and rents everything else – even bodies. This is a smart way to use good equipment and not go broke in the process.
You will need to look at the things that you don’t have a choice of spending money on. You will be paying taxes, and lots of them if you’re self employed. You’ll need insurance. Not just personal insurance, but many places won’t allow you to do a photo shoot if you don’t carry liability for property and location. Its not terribly expensive actually, but you will need to have it.
Then there’s business cards and your website. You’ll need to be working hard at promoting yourself. Both of these things can be done at low cost so be smart and efficient. There’s a great tutorial here on how you can quickly and easily get a professional photography website up and running:
If you can follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to success. Photography is a difficult business. Be practical and smart and you’ll do just fine.