Photography as a hobby and photography as a business are two vastly different beasts. As a hobbyist photographer, you can focus only on the aspects you enjoy. As a professional photographer, you’ll also spend a lot of time on the less enjoyable side of things, like marketing and bookkeeping. Still, while professional photography has it’s downsides just like every job, there’s a certain joy in taking pictures for a living.
Think you want to become a professional photographer? Here are ten signs you’re ready to make that leap.
1. You have the technical aspects mastered
Before you ask someone to pay you to take pictures, you should have the technical aspects mastered. Professional photographers should know how to capture an accurate exposure, how to work in difficult lighting, and how to read a histogram, etc. You should know how to use your camera, as well as how to use Photoshop, Lightroom or your favorite pro-level image editor. Photographers often get a good chunk of their business from word-of-mouth referrals. Don’t ruin your business right off the bat by not knowing the technical side. Enrol in a photography class, work as an assistant to a pro, do whatever it takes to gain the know-how before you begin.
2. You’ve defined your own style
Photography can be a business, but it’s also an art. As such, you should define your own style before you set out to earn money from your photographs. It’s impossible for a client to know exactly what they are getting before hiring a professional photographer, but by defining your own style, you can give potential clients a pretty good idea. Do you like to shoot with a photojournalists’ eye? Do you have a knack for contrast? Identifying your style not only helps clients feel comfortable hiring you, it can help you pinpoint your specialty, your audience, and your best marketing methods.