How To Become A Freelance Photographer

Last updated on April 13, 2021

how to become a photographer

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Photography has become one of the most paying jobs since it gives you a lot of room to be creative and reach more people.

You can pursue it as a career, a full-time job, a side hustle, or a hobby and still make a good living out of it.

Even better, you can work from anywhere around the globe as a photographer.

Becoming a photographer is not complicated, but you need to have the right skills and photography equipment.

Even though you are a talented photographer, you need to learn how to create a profitable business out of the same.

Read on to discover how you can become a photographer and make money from anywhere.

How Much Does A Photographer Make?

As a photographer, there is no limit to the amount of money that you can make.

Your earnings will depend on the type of photography work, location, the clients you work with, and work experience.

You might also get paid more during certain seasonal events of the year.

According to Glassdoor, a photographer makes about $44,362  per year.

How To Start Photography Business and Make Money From Anywhere

As is with any business or career, excelling in photography requires planning. The tips below will come in handy to start your career in this field.

1) Determine whether you are passionate about photography

Even though becoming a photographer has become easy, it is a competitive field.

Today, there are many people in this field, and all of them are looking for clients.

This can make you easily quit, which is why you need to determine if you are passionate about photography or are interested in pursuing it.

Having a passion for what you do will help you keep creativity alive in your business. It will also help you keep pushing on even when things are not promising in the business.

Therefore, it would be essential to do soul searching and determine the main reasons you want to pursue photography.

If passion or interest is not one reason, you might find it hard to create a profitable business in this field.

2) Take a course or class on photography

Having determined that photography is something you want to do, the next important step is acquiring the necessary skills.

The good thing about photography is that you do not need formal training as a degree or master’s.

You can self-train or take an online course or class today. There is also a lot of free information online that will help you get the necessary skills.

There are lots of photography courses online today. Udemy is a great place to get started on learning and acquiring skills.

Most of these courses will require you to pay some amount of money.

Among the things you will learn include the fundamentals of photography, the tools, and software you need, editing photos, building a business, among other topics.

When selecting an online photography course, consider if it meets your learning needs and if you can afford it. You could also check on the reviews, if any, to know if it will benefit you.

There are also individuals in this field who can train you one on one.

You might also consider taking formal photography education. You can get an Associate Degree in Photography, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, or a Master’s Degree in Photography or Master of Fine Arts.

Regardless of the type of photography training you choose, ensure that you gather the skills and learning experiences to excel in this field.

3) Do a photography internship with a professional photographer

An online course might not be enough to help you become a professional photographer and earn money from anywhere.

You need to practice those skills that you have gathered from the online course.

An excellent way to do this is by taking up an internship with a professional photographer. This will give you first-hand experience of what it takes to become a photographer.

While at it, the professional will teach everything that you need to know about this field.

This would also be a perfect time to ask any questions you have and seek clarifications on areas you are not sure about.

During the internship, make use of the opportunity and the equipment that are available to you.

Learn how to do photography, edit photos, get customers, and grow a business.

Practice as much as you can. This is the only way that you will become excellent in that field.

Jooble is a great site to search for a photography internship.

4) Determine your focus area

Now that you have acquired the necessary skills to help you get started in your photography career, you can now determine the area you want to focus on.

In business, you have to bring out the best in you and your services. You can only achieve this by specializing in a specific area. This also applies in photography.

Photography is broad and is required in many fields. You can become a wedding, wildlife, events, food, sports, fashion and travel photographer, etc…

You should then carve out your niche to determine the kind of people you want to render your services to, depending on the price and quality of your services, location, gender, and age, among other factors.

After doing this, ensure that you become an expert in your field. If, for instance, you decide to be doing wildlife photography, investigate what the target audience in this area prefers.

Learn how to be creative while taking photos of wild animals. You should also identify some of the areas where you can find these wild animals.

5) Get the right equipment

Some of the equipment that you will need as a photographer include

  • Camera
  • Lenses
  • Tripod
  • Camera bags
  • Lighting
  • Hard drives
  • Memory cards
  • Batteries

If you are just getting started, you might find that the quality equipment might be a little bit pricey.

However, that should not stop you from pursuing your goals. You can choose to start with less pricey equipment and advance with time- we all start from somewhere.

You can also consider buying second-hand equipment as long as it is still functioning well and can help you take quality photos.

While buying, ensure to get the right equipment for the kind of photography you want to do.

If you are not sure, you can tag an experienced photographer to advise you on the best brands and quality.

Post-production is also essential in photography. Often, clients will require you to edit the photos.

You will therefore need a computer and editing software like Lightroom. Lightroom can be a little bit pricey, but it is one of the best editing tools. You can also try Luminar.

6) Build a photography portfolio

If you are just getting started, you will want to approach different people and pitch to get hired.

Many people will give you a chance as a beginner, mainly because some people feel that photography services are expensive and need very professional photos.

You can counter this challenge by having a photography portfolio. This is when you show samples of your work and some of the organizations you have worked with.

You can print the photos out and keep them in a file. You can also come up with a website and post the photos there.

A website is very beneficial as it increases the exposure of your brand. It is even more critical if you want to work anywhere around the globe.

With a website, you can reach people all over the world. All you would need to have is good quality photos and increase the traffic to your site.

If clients need assurance that you can deliver quality work, you can always show them the printed photos or send a link to your website.

This means that even before you start getting clients, you should already be taking some photos.

If you are a wedding photographer, you can even offer a friend or family member free or more minor price photography services.

Then seek consent to use them as part of your portfolio.

7) Set the price for your photography

Pricing can determine whether people buy your work or not. It also sets the pace at which your business grows.

If you set the price too high, your target clients might not be willing to buy your services. If you set the prices too low, you might not make any profits for your business.

You must therefore come up with a competitive pricing strategy.

The best way to price your services is by looking into your services’ quality, business expenses, and financial goals.

Research how many photographers in your area of specialization charge and investigate how much your target clients are willing to pay.

Also, be flexible in your pricing to avoid losing some projects that can potentially boost your business.

For instance, if a client will hire you for several projects, you can decide to lower the price a little bit.

In some cases, when a client requires the photography projects to be completed within a short time, you can increase the price.

While at it, always have a contract in place and have the client sign before beginning the project.

8) Market your photography services

Assuming that you have figured all the essential details about photography and building a business around it, you should invest in marketing your services.

You may have the best photography skills, but your business may never grow if your target clients are not aware of it.

Marketing will help you create awareness about your business, close sales, and grow your business.

There are so many ways to market your business. You can develop a photography blog, post valuable content, and sell your photography products there.

You can also use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter, among others.

These platforms allow you to run paid adverts enabling you to reach more people.

Another way to market your services and sell your products is through word of mouth. You can let your family and friends know about your services.

Referrals also work to create awareness about your business. If your clients are pleased with your services, they can refer other interested clients to you.

9) Grow your business

As much as you might be pursuing photography as a passion, you need to focus on its business aspect- making money.

Everything you do will determine your business’s success; the people you work with, your clients, the pricing and quality of your products, your area of focus, etc.

To grow your photography business, keep on perfecting your skills and business strategies.

Continue being passionate about your work and come up with practical ways to handle business challenges.

10) Practice and keep learning

The most important thing that you should do is keep on practicing and learning.

Like mentioned earlier, photography is a very competitive field. You need to be updated on the changing trends and adapt as fast as you can.

Once you start your business, you will learn many things from your interactions and projects with clients.

Based on that knowledge, you can develop creative ways to take your photos and grow your business.

Networking with other photographers will also come in handy to acquire more skills and knowledge.

Seek to create connections, particularly with those who have been in business for a long time. They have tons of experience, and their advice can help you avoid grave mistakes.

The internet is also a great place to learn new photography skills. You can watch tutorials from YouTube and free online content from photography websites.

It is also wise to try out different photography equipment. Other cameras and lenses take different quality photos. You will find one that works perfectly for you.

Conclusion

If you were looking for ways to become a photographer, the tips above would help you start a thriving career or business in this business.

Luckily, you do not need a formal education to get started.

You can self-train using the available information online or take an online course. Professional photographers can also mold you into an excellent photographer.

When you have photography skills, you can work and make money anywhere in the world.

Besides offering your photography services, consider selling your photos and coming up with a photography course you can sell online.

I’m Olivia Miller, founder of Dollarberg.   My goal is to equip people with the skills required to run profitable businesses from the comfort of their homes.   I teach how to make money online while working from home. In this blog, I cover blogging, work-at-home jobs, email marketing, and Pinterest marketing.   As a housewife and a mother of 3 kids, I have found a lot of freedom and flexibility working from home - and I would like you to have this fantastic experience too.   Besides work, I love spending time with my family, traveling, and swimming. Want to know more? Read more about me here.

Olivia Miller 

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