If you are passionate about photography, you might be wondering if you have what it takes to become a professional photographer. You love working with a camera, capturing special moments and memories, and looking through many photos to select the very best ones. However, is it enough to guarantee that you will enjoy pursuing a photography career?
To help you answer this question, let’s take a look at what you need to be a professional photographer, other than passion and dedication to the craft. For starters, professional photographers also need a lot of equipment, especially if they want to operate their own photography studio. If you are just getting started, you should focus on the basics instead of buying every gadget imaginable.
Here is what you need to get started as a professional photographer:
Quality camera & lenses
The essential piece of equipment that every professional photographer will need is a full-frame camera. Cameras with a full-frame sensor are designed for professionals who need to produce high-resolution images. They are more expensive than cameras with cropped sensor, but the quality is worth the price. If you are just getting started, you could consider using a camera rental instead.
You need some quality lenses to go with your camera. The right lenses will allow you to shoot high-quality pictures. It’s unnecessary to own a dozen lenses, but the ones you should get depend on your niche. Once again, you can rent camera lenses instead of buying them.
Lenses can be complemented by different accessories such as lens filters and lens hoods. The ones you need depend on the type of work you plan on doing.
Depending on your niche, you might need some additional photography equipment. However, you should never settle for cheap gear. If your budget doesn’t allow you to make big purchases at the moment, consider buying second-hand equipment or renting what you need when you need it.
Here are some supplies you might need:
- Batteries: Your camera, whether you purchased it or rented it, should come with a few extra batteries and a charger. This is even more important if you don’t work in a studio.
- Memory Cards: Your camera should also come with plenty of memory cards, so you are free to take as many photos as you need to. Of course, you need a card reader to transfer your pictures from the camera to your computer.
- Tripod: If you need a tripod for your camera, get a sturdy one that can adjust to the type of pictures you want to shoot.
- Reflector kit: Reflectors are foldable disks that can help you direct the light where you want it to be. They are made from different materials, and each one adds a different touch to your pictures. Reflector kits are affordable, so you should get one and experiment with it.
As a professional photographer, you will probably work alone. Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t get advice from other professionals. You should look for a photography mentor who will guide you in your journey to becoming a professional photographer. They will answer your questions, give you insights, and perhaps even teach you the basics of photography when you assist them.
Your mentor can help you master the basics, but there are different ways you can learn how to be a professional photographer. There are free resources to be found online, but you should also consider photography courses, either online or in a school.
It will be hard for you to be taken seriously as a professional photographer if you have no work experience at all. If you found a mentor, ask them if you can work with them on their different assignments. You could also look for internship opportunities with a professional photographer or get a small photography studio job. This will help you develop the different skills needed to be a good photographer.
Once you have work experience, you can establish a professional portfolio. Ideally, start an online portfolio on your website. It should showcase examples of your work, so any potential client will have a good idea of your skills and abilities.
The most professional photographer in the world will not make a living if they have no clients. You will need to know how to market your services as a photographer, search for work opportunities, reach out to potential clients, and develop lasting relationships with them.
To help you find clients and stand out from the competition, you will need to be clear about your niche. Do you most enjoy shooting portraits or landscapes? Would you like to work as a wedding photographer, a commercial photographer, or a fashion photographer? Decide which type of photographer you want to be and focus on your niche.
Finally, professional photographers need good etiquette when communicating with clients. They should be well-organized, reliable, and respectful. They need to know how to market their services, invoice their clients, and handle every aspect of their contracts.