Before You Become a Pro Photographer: 5 Factors to Consider
Photography can lead to an exciting and fulfilling life or simply provide part-time work on your own schedule. However, there are many factors to consider when deciding whether to become a professional photographer.
First, know who your market is and how you’re going to market yourself to them. Taking pictures of everything you like and trying to sell them to a wide audience will lead to fewer sales. Focusing on one or similar subjects and producing images that have a distinct look will lead to the most sales. This is because a specific type of person will be attracted to your work. When you know who they are, you can concentrate your marketing efforts on that type of person. For many, taking the same picture of the same thing for many years could become mundane, leading to discontent and loss of ambition. You must be passionate about either your subject or your audience to maintain joy in photography.
A second thing to consider is whether you can afford to compete for business. If you have a family that depends on your income, it’s not wise to start a business that likely won’t turn an immediate profit. Many new photographers are willing to sell their work for next to nothing to gain experience and recognition. A young person who has the support of their parents may be comfortable investing themselves in this market, knowing they have little to lose and much to gain. Consider whether your circumstances will allow you to work hard without much initial turnover.
The cost of your personal life is a third factor to consider. Photography often requires you to be available in the evenings, on weekends, or travel long distances. For an adventurous single person, flying to far away places at a moments notice or working with high-profile persons may be an appealing lifestyle. You should give thought to whether sacrificing your personal life to attend to other people’s weddings or holidays is something you are willing to do.
A fourth point of consideration is your ability to deal with demanding people. Photographers are hired for high stress events where clients have high expectations and little patience. You could be spoken to belligerently or yelled at when you’re doing the best you can. Your ability to handle those situations in a gracious and humble manner will have a direct bearing on your success. If you lose your temper on a job, you won’t be able to use that client as a reference or count on them recommending you to friends.
Lastly, do you love photography and feel that you have something unique to offer? If you’re simply looking for a job, you may not be able to withstand the demands and sacrifice involved with photography. If you are driven by passion and know you can deliver original material, then don’t be deterred by the challenges of this career. The path to success as a photographer can be richly rewarding and you might just get rich after all!
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