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5 Keys to Success for Professional Photographers

Having a natural eye for photography doesn’t mean you can make it as a professional photographer, any more than being a hearty eater makes you a food critic. If you want a career in photography it can be yours, but there are steps you’ll need to follow if you want to succeed in your chosen field. Here are just a few key tips that should help you to determine if a successful career in photography is in the cards for you.

  1. Get a degree. You might not think it takes much talent, skill, or training to point a camera and snap pics, but there’s a lot more to it. If it was easy enough for a child to do, children would be doing it and not professionals. Although you don’t necessarily have to learn how to develop film anymore, thanks to the digital revolution, you still need to learn about how to stage and compose a shot, how to work with clients in a productive way, and how to clean up photos in post to make sure that customers get the perfect, once-in-a-lifetime renderings of their memories. So go to school for a degree and make sure to continue your education throughout your career so that you can offer your customers the latest advances in your field.
  2. Prepare to hustle for work. You can certainly start out working in a studio as a way to earn your chops and learn the aspects of managing a photography business that school can’t really prepare you for. But eventually you’re going to want to strike out on your own and launch a business. This could mean freelancing or eventually opening your own studio, but either way you’re going to have to get out in the community and convince people to hire you. A large part of your success will depend on your ability to sell yourself and your product, so be prepared to pitch.
  3. Give 110%. You can certainly put a lot of effort into getting clientele, but the end goal is really to have your clients do the heavy lifting for you by becoming brand ambassadors of a sort. You want satisfied customers to be so pleased with your service that they are compelled to recommend you to everyone they know. And the best way to get your clients on the payroll, so to speak, is to go the extra mile to ensure they have a fantastic experience.
  4. You can never take enough pictures. Coverage is essential! There’s just no way to stress how important it is to get as many shots as possible. You can never have too many options to choose from, so shoot like it’s going out of style. It may take you longer to slog through the reel when the job is done, but the end result will be a variety of photos to choose from in order to find the handful that are truly spectacular. The power of photography to capture a moment in time is reliant on your taking the shot in the first place.
  5. Love what you do. In any profession where you have to be creative, it is important to enjoy what you’re doing. After all, clients can hire anyone to photograph a birthday party or a day of bliss and wedding bells. They’re hiring you because of the artistry you bring to the table. And if you don’t care about what you’re doing, your work will only ever be passable, rather than spectacular.
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