Ditch the nine-to-five grind and follow your dream — a sustainable personal photography business isn’t as far off as you think. You’ve always had that artistic eye, now it’s time to put a viable business model behind your talent. Starting off as a professional photographer, paychecks may be inconsistent and the hours will probably be long, but persistence pays in this artistic field. Get focused on the details and consider these tips as you venture out into your new profession.
Stock Up Like a Pro
No matter how keen your eye, your ability as a photography will depend largely on equipment. Professional photographers usually get that “professional” quality with DSLR cameras, which use mirrors to provide a clear, accurate shot. A quality camera body, such as the Canon 5D Mark II or Nikon D800, provides the right foundation for your work, but you should make your largest investment in lenses, which are the most important factor in photo quality. Modern lenses provides variety in scope and depth of field. A 55mm-250mm lens, for example, allows intimate shots from far distances and more traditional shots.
The types of photos in which you specialize may dictate what types of lenses you buy. If you take landscape photos, a wide-angle 50mm lens is a viable option. If you’re known for personal portraits, a lens with low depth of field will give your photo’s backgrounds that blurry look, keeping the subject crystal clear.
If you invest in quality equipment, the bill can add up quickly. A healthy line of credit is especially helpful for startups looking to get their feet off the ground. American Express business credit cards, for example, provide flexibility, including options to carry a balance, pay monthly without interest and receive early payment discounts. As an added bonus, AmEx provides extended warranty and purchase protection that are over and above manufacturers’ warranties.
Find Your Niche
There is no shortage of photogenic events and occasions, and finding a niche can be your big break into the photography world. Whether you capture concerts, senior portraits or weddings, specializing in one area boosts your skills and credibility. It’s easier to approach potential clients about taking their family photos if you have a thick portfolio of smiling families. Clients that appreciate your work are likely to mention your name to their friends, so a niche can grow your start-up into a stable business.
Your niche shouldn’t feel like a straightjacket. After all, no matter the situation, the camera works the same. Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges after you establish your expertise in a certain atmosphere. New experiences open doors in the photography world, and once you master your equipment, there will few opportunities you can’t handle.
Market to New Opportunities
Word of mouth can only get you so far. If you want to move past parties and portraits into high-paying photography opportunities, you’ll need to put your best foot forward. Set up and tangible and digital portfolios displaying your best work, and print business cards listing your contact information and digital portfolio address to give to potential clients.
If you’re looking to break into magazine or newspaper photographer, get in touch with local art directors. Send a quick email with a link to your portfolio. Once you establish yourself with local publications, the sky is the limit.