How to become a photographer

become a photogapher

Photography is a very desirable profession and a competitive one, but if you are determined it is certainly very possible to make a career in it. It is less dependent on many careers on training and a college degree and more dependent on having a great eye for it and having the determination and discipline to succeed.


Know you equipment

You don’t necessarily need the latest camera and lenses and lots of expensive gear to succeed. A good photographer can take great pics with an inexpensive camera. But what you do need is to know your camera well.

Always start of with a less expensive camera and learn all the skills of photography

Learn about the equipment itself, the camera body, lenses and flashes

and then

about the skills you need to great pictures

You can learn much of this from  books and magazines and from the huge amount of information available on the internet.

Once you know the basic skills of photography, you can start to upgrade your equipment

Create a portfolio

Having a portfolio is vital if you are to find work. Take lots of pictures in many different situations and choose the best ones to showcase your talent.

You can do both planned photo shoots and also use pictures of scenes that you see in your everyday life. For example I recently took some photos

If you want to take pictures of models you should be able to hire new models for free in return for giving them free pictures for their portfolio.

Decide what your niche is

When you have tried a variety of photography you should get an idea of what you enjoy doing most and what you are best at. You might prefer wedding photography or portrait photography. Or you could narrow your niche down further and concentrate on pet photography or horse photography (you take pictures for horse insurance companies for instance). You might want to concentrate on getting a website and portfolio that shows that you are specializing in a certain type of photography.

Get the business side sorted out

Look into whatever you need to do in your country to start a business off and get all the documents together.

Get insurance for your business

Look after you money

As you’re starting up in business, you need to get all this side sorted out

  • Start a business bank account
  • Set up a record of all your business transactions in a spreadsheet
  • If you are quitting your full-time job to become a photographer, make sure that you have enough money  to keep you going in case the photography business is not a success and you have to find another job


Set certain goals that you want to achieve, when you want to have sold a certain number of photos or made a certain amount of money. It’ll give you a goal that you can work towards. Put the dates you want to have achieve things by into your diary.

Decide what hours you want to work and whether you want to keep a full-time job or do it part-time to begin with, this may be sensible.

First jobs

Make sure you have a contract for the person you are working with to sign – what you are expected to do and the amount they must pay – for this you must decide on your rates

Look at what others are charging in the same kind of geographical area and type of photography as you. And if they are very skilled and experienced you will need to probably charge less to compete.

But don’t charge too little or people will not take you seriously and see as you as desperate and not very good.


This is the most important part of becoming a photographer. Things that you need to do are

Create a website – and make sure that the SEO is good so that you turn up high in the rankings when people search for whatever type of photographer they want.

Make business cards to give out to anyone you encounter.

Network wherever you can, at local events in particular. You want to try and get as many recommendations as you can.

When you have taken photos let your clients use them however they like but also let others use them, for example if you do the photography for a wedding take pics of the catering and let the caterers use them in return for a mention of yourself.

Other tips

Don’t forget that when you are working for a client you are doing what they want, not what makes you happy. So find out what they want and give it to them! You can always work on things you really want to do in your spare time.

Always carry a small camera around with you,  you never know when you might grab a great pic of something.

Here’s some more ideas on how to improve your photography and a video on how to get noticed as a photographer.

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