You love taking photos and decide to follow your passion and grow your photography. Maybe you find yourself in one of these scenarios;
- You’ve got a great camera, a couple of quality lenses. You love to shoot family portraits and young children, but how can you break into this market, grow your business and learn what it takes to become successful at it?
- You’ve been asked to shoot a friend’s wedding and you decide to pursue a career as a wedding photographer. In one of the most competitive fields of photography, how can you stand out and become successful?
- You’ve been laid off from your job so you decide to make a go of it with photography (something you’ve always enjoyed anyways), why not earn some money at it and start a new career?
One of the first steps in growing your photography is to have solid photography skills and an education in that field. A strong foundation to build on comes from;
- Knowing how to work your camera and being able to use the settings designed to help you best capture your subject.
- Understanding the intricacies of exposure and knowing how to measure the light - whether natural or artificial.
- Crafting or composing images that draw a viewer’s attention or tell a story.
The next step is learning the necessary business skills;
- Market yourself by creating a dynamic portfolio (preferably with a website or blog),
- Knowing who your clients are and how to reach them.
- Implementing smart business practices.
Joining a photography association also plays an important role in your success as a photographer. They provide business services, conduct informative seminars, and offer educational events taught by professional photographers and industry experts. ASMP, ASPP are two of my favorites but there are many others as well.
Three of our instructors, Stacey Bloomstrom , Moshe Zusman and E. David Luria have been through these scenarios and are generous with their knowledge about what it takes to succeed. Here are a few snippets of advice from them, but to get more in-depth advice and really learn what you can do to grow your business, consider attending on one of their classes.
Stacey suggests, “First you need to have your vision. Once your vision for your business is complete, your ideas for how you would like to market and brand will come forth. Learn the resources out there to help get started, what the industry standards are, when you should hire help, what organizations to join that will support your success and tried and true workflow.” If you have interest in photographing families, you’ll enjoy Stacey’s lively and informative classes.
Moshe has successfully grown his wedding photography business over the last 7 years and is incredibly talented at marketing. He offers the following advice. “When you’re first getting started, don’t pass up an opportunity. When you’re offered a job that’s low on the pay scale, look at what you can gain by accepting it? Perhaps there will be the opportunity to meet prospective clients, maybe it will help get your name known, or maybe it will give you invaluable experience you can use in future jobs. Think it through.”
In addition to the many Photo Safaris that E. David Luria’s teaches, he also teaches the popular Photography as a Second Career. David emphasizes education; attend school, sign up for a curriculum and get a formal education in photography. One-day classes and workshops are great to help you learn and for hands-on practice but to really learn the craft, David recommends studying photography in-depth. He also recommends honing composition skills through careful study of great art and photography in museums, galleries, books and magazines.
It takes more than capturing amazing photos to be photographer, with the right technical skills and best business practices, you CAN grow a successful photography business.