To achieve success you need to set yourself goals and plan how you will achieve them. If you want to be a professional photographer you must have a clear idea of what you want to do and where you want to be in five years time. You may have heard lots of people say ‘I want to be a photographer’ and you probably think you want the same thing but you need to be sure.
The first thing you must decide is whether you are looking to work freelance or for a major corporation. If you are planning on working freelance you may have to learn about different business models such as advertising and marketing, and sales and marketing to succeed as a freelancer.
Once you have decided what kind of work you want to do there are two more steps to take. First of all you should decide if you want to specialize in one type of photography, such as wedding photography, family photography, fashion photography, or travel photography. Then you need to decide which specific areas of photography interest you. There is a huge range of subjects out there to choose from, so you may need to research various types of photography in order to find the one you are most interested in doing.
After you have decided which type of photography you want to pursue and the specific areas of photography you are interested in, you should set goals that will help you achieve your goal. The first thing you should do is to figure out what you want to get out of your photography career. What do you hope to gain from a successful career as a professional photographer? Is it the money, the fame, the love, or maybe a combination of these factors. Whatever you hope to gain from your career, you must first find out how to go about achieving those goals.
If you are going to work freelance, you must also decide how much you are willing to invest in your career. Most people have their eye on making a good living out of their photography, but few people make enough money to retire on the income they earn. In order to achieve this, you will have to put in a lot of time and effort to grow your portfolio and gain new clients. You will also have to look at how you can use your photography skills to generate extra income.
Once you know what you want to achieve and how you can achieve it, the next step is to identify what you need in order to succeed. This is very important because it will help you know where to focus your efforts. You will need to determine your skills and abilities. For instance, do you have the ability to create great images? Are you a natural at marketing yourself? Do you have a high level of organization? Are you confident in expressing your ideas in writing? It may be helpful to look at what you enjoy doing and what you are good at. You might find it helpful to identify the skills you need to acquire, and which ones you can improve upon.
Finally, you will need to build a solid foundation for your future. Do you have the confidence to work on your own? Will you be able to manage your finances? Do you have the ability to cope with any problems that arise? Are you able to work with people in a friendly manner?
Once you have a good understanding of what you need to do to achieve your goals, you can start setting short and long term goals. Short term goals are usually related to one activity, such as taking classes or building a website. Long term goals can take a bit longer to achieve, but they help you set your focus and direct your efforts in the right direction. For example, you might set yourself a goal to become a skilled photographer by the end of the year, but you can also aim to get your business running as a sole trader by the end of the year.
Are you prepared?
First, do you have the necessary skills? A camera, a decent camera, a computer and internet access, software, lenses, maybe a tripod, a couple of spare memory cards, perhaps a travel bag, a laptop. And do you know how to use them? Before you start your course, do some research to make sure you know exactly what you need and how to use it.
Get professional training.
If you don’t know how to use your camera, take a photography course or get a friend or colleague to show you the ropes. A lot of photographers don’t have the skills they need to achieve good results. If you’re hoping to get into fashion photography, take a course or a college class to learn how to pose models.
Do you have the time?
Becoming a professional photographer isn’t a short-term career. You can’t expect to shoot a few hours a week and then spend the rest of your time taking pictures. And while you will eventually reach the point where you can quit your day job to focus on photography full-time, this takes time. So start planning now to give yourself a fair chance of making it work.
Consider your finances.
As a freelance professional photographer, you’ll be responsible for paying your own expenses and earning a reasonable income. This could mean having to invest in expensive equipment and it could mean having to work unpaid overtime. It could also mean working with a studio.
Do you have the right personality?
Most of us have our share of quirks, so if you’re a perfectionist, you might want to think carefully about whether you really want to be a professional photographer.
Do you want to work for yourself?
If you’re a person who loves to take orders and hates being in charge, you might want to reconsider becoming a professional photographer. Even if you want to set up your own business, you’ll need to make sure you can keep a work/life balance and that you can handle pressure.
Are you prepared for the challenges?
Photography is a creative art. You might be the world’s worst painter, but you could turn out to be a great photographer. So if you want to be a professional photographer, you’ll need to have the courage to stand out from the crowd, to experiment and to be brave.