Before you can even start thinking about providing your photography services to customers, make sure you learn the ins and outs of photography. Don’t just think you can flip your camera into Auto mode and start producing fantastic results. You must learn how to shoot in a semi-automatic mode like Aperture Priority or, if you have mastered that, Manual Mode.
Just because you are shooting in these modes doesn’t mean you will get great results either, but it will give you more control over your images. For example, if you are taking portraits where your model’s face is dark, you will need to learn how to adjust your camera’s settings to expose the face better.
If you’re shooting in an automatic mode, you have very little control over this and have to rely on correcting this in post-production, which might not work correctly and make for a lengthy workflow. If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.
The next thing to consider is to figure out what you want to photograph. A lot of photographers want to start by taking photos of anything they can. They fill their online portfolios with tons of images that vary from weddings to pet portraits to landscapes and even family photos. In their mind, they think this will show potential clients that they are versatile and can accommodate any type of situation. In my experience, this does more harm than good.
Usually, it comes off that you are unorganized, and you don’t know exactly what type of photographer you are. This is the last message you want to send to a potential client. You want them to look at your online portfolio and see that you are a great photographer in a certain style. This is where you have to make a decision; what do you want to photograph?
If you love working with people, then being a portrait and/or wedding photographer is probably right for you. If you enjoy taking photos of animals, then you can consider yourself a pet or wildlife photographer. If you like hiking the outdoors and being surrounded by nature, then landscape photography is probably for you; the list goes on and on.
The key is to promote yourself as one type of photographer. Sure, you can photograph multiple genres, but if you promote yourself as a “one style” photographer, you will have better exposure and find your potential clients easier.
What About Camera Equipment?
You might feel intimidated by expensive photography equipment used by people around you. Well, here’s the thing: if you are a beginner and you want to know how to get into photography, you do not necessarily need to start searching for an expensive camera.
Yes, you read that right. Getting a DSLR is a great idea as you will have a capable piece of equipment at your fingertips to enable you to learn at your own pace, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive one.
Unlike normal point and shoot cameras, DSLR’s allow for interchangeable lenses. This opens up many opportunities for a wide variety of shots and allows for real depth to your learning.
Owning a DSLR isn’t absolutely necessary to enjoy photography, though. You can create gorgeous images with your phone camera, as millions of people around the world prove consistently. An awful lot of these images, though, are captured ‘by accident’ without a full understanding of why or indeed what it is that makes them so good.
The key to taking consistently good photographs is understanding some basic principles that you can apply habitually, allowing your creativity to come to the fore.
Photography is not so much about the camera. It is about working with light.
If you are looking for advice on the type of camera equipment that would suit a complete beginner, you may want to read beginner DSLR camera gear. Looking for wedding photography Melbourne? Look no further! Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
Study Your Camera
To improve your images, understand the tools at your disposal. Being comfortable with your camera is the message here. You don’t have to know every item on the camera’s menu but be assured of the fundamentals. If you are familiar with where all the essential settings are on your camera, you are less likely to miss the shot.
Photography, like any other form of art, requires practice and perseverance. Invest a bit of time in getting to know your camera. Take the time out to practice regularly and share your pictures with the people around you and on various forums online. An excellent way to motivate yourself to practice regularly is by completing weekly assignments. Take a few hours out from your weekend to explore unfamiliar areas in your neighbourhood.
Commonly Used Shooting Modes
Modern cameras have a variety of shooting modes, but several options are particularly common. These include:
- Auto: The camera attempts to determine the best settings on its own; this is ideal for amateurs, and if you don’t know what to set it to
- Portrait: Portrait photography mode focuses on a subject in the foreground and blurs the background
- Macro: Macro modes are for shooting very small subjects, usually from extremely close up
- Landscape: Landscape photography modes are for shooting broad scenery shots with even sharpness across the full width and depth
- Sports: Sports modes are for capturing fast-paced events and relies on high shutter speeds to work
- Night Portrait: This mode is less common, but tried to create a lighter foreground balanced against a dark background
- Manual: The complete opposite of Auto; this mode requires photographers to set every setting first, then take the picture
- Aperture-Priority: In this mode, photographers can set the aperture value first, and the camera automatically selects a shutter speed based on that information
- TV: The opposite of Aperture-Priority; this mode selects the shutter speed first, and the camera then selects the aperture
7 Steps to Turn Your Photography Hobby Into a Career
If you’ve been enjoying your photography as a hobby and decided you’re finally ready to take the leap and do it as your FULL-TIME job, there are plenty of things to be aware of before you take the plunge.
Photography as a hobby can be a GREAT way to make some extra cash here and there, but there is a whole lot more to it if you actually want to set it up as your full-time business without the safety net of another job in the background.
While the idea of taking this leap might be a huge one, being aware of some of the simple steps to turn your hobby into a job that will cover all your monthly bills and create the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of could be the way for you to get out of the rat race and start making money doing what you LOVE full time. Wild Romantic Photography has the best range of services of wedding photography Yarra Valley. Check them out here.
Here are our top tips for turning your photography hobby into a profitable business:
Find Your Niche
Whether you are a landscape photographer, a wedding photographer, portrait specialist or a newborn photographer, be clear about what you are offering and what type of photography you specialize in. Having a set genre will help solidify your brand and allow you to focus your energy on developing your style and marketing to the right audience.
You might also consider incorporating your photography niche into your brand name – such as ‘Jane Smith – Landscape Photography’ or something similar, so potential customers can see at a glance who you are and what you do.
Build a Portfolio
Without a portfolio, no one will know what you can do. So before you try to turn your photography hobby into a business, it’s important to build your portfolio and start working on images that reflect the style of shoots you want to do on a regular basis.
Your portfolio will be one of your main selling points, so make sure to use your BEST IMAGES in the style you specialize in.
Engage some subjects to help you set up some shots if you don’t already have them in your existing portfolio, and make sure you have all the equipment you need to create a portfolio of images that truly showcase your talent.
Include Your Prices
There is nothing more unprofessional than a photographer that doesn’t have a price list. So if you are going to jump from being a hobby photographer to a business, make sure to list your prices and clearly outline what is included in your various packages.
Take the time to work out your services costs and ensure you are on par with other photographers in your niche and the local area. Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
Create Some Marketing & Branding Materials
If you haven’t already done so, you will need a business name and some marketing and branding materials. This can be as simple as a logo, a business card, and a digital flyer to kick start your business.
It’s also a very good idea to set up a photography business website and Facebook business page so your clients can review your portfolio and services at any time. Check out Wix or a similar DIY website platform. This is a perfect way for potential customers to review some visual marketing before they contact you.
Find a Way to Generate Leads & Consider Freelance
Whether you advertise on Google and Facebook or search job boards for people looking for a photographer, you will need to DO SOMETHING to find the work as it won’t just magically come your way without some effort on your part.
Waiting for work to come in when your photography is just a hobby can be fine. But when it is your full-time business, it’s vital to ensure you have regular inquiries and work coming in. If not, you may end up with some serious cash flow issues.
Consider approaching your local clubs, schools, art galleries, event companies, bridal shows or anything that is happening in and around your local area. When starting out, it’s important to put your hand up for as much work as you can and set up a range of different options for lead generation and options for photography work.
While your phone might ring off the hook some weeks, it is always good to have some other options when times are quiet to build up your sales and meet your ongoing cash flow needs.
Get Referrals and Testimonials
Potential clients often use testimonials when trying to decide whether to book a photographer, so make sure to ask all previous clients (who were happy with your work) to write a short testimonial that you can include in your portfolio, social media pages and website.
Set up an email system via Survey Monkey or send an email with a questionnaire to create these and use them in your marketing.
Figure Out the Numbers
While your photography side gig might have been humming along nicely as a hobby that pays for a few nice things here and there, it’s a totally different story when you are relying on it to pay all your bills. Make sure you run the numbers and determine the income you will need to manage your day to day expenses AND cover your taxes.
You should also work out any legal issues before making the final decision on your business. Should you set it up as a sole proprietorship or an S-Corp? Do you have contracts to use with clients? You may want to ask your accountant, lawyer, or financial advisor if you need assistance. We have an exclusive range of wedding photography Mornington Peninsula services. Check them out here.
Choosing Your Photography Career Path
As a beginner in photography, you can pick almost any career path if you work hard enough.
Contracted photographers are essentially at the top of the field. In this role, your full-time job is to provide photography services for your employer. This could range from travelling with a news crew to taking professional photographs at events. Contracted photographers usually have many years of experience in photography and own a wide variety of cameras and accessories.
Working Out of Your Home Studio
Home studios are for taking pictures solely within the confines of your house. This is useful for several different types of businesses, including makeup and fashion artists who want to demonstrate using specific products. Many people with home studios don’t focus exclusively on photography as a career.
Freelance photographers work independently to find customers looking for photography services. This isn’t as stable as contracted work, but with sufficient networking, it’s possible to earn a living exclusively from photography. If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.