Believe it or not, becoming a photographer in the modern world is not an easy task. Anyone can pick up a fancy, expensive camera and say “hey look! I’m a photographer”, snap a photo, and upload it onto social media with the hashtag “#photographer”. That is the reality in today’s world, unfortunately. If you want to be a photographer in the modern world, do not fret from this fact. You will certainly stand out from those types of “photographers”, and you will be able to succeed in your profession.
Becoming a photographer requires much patience, skill, and an artistic eye. There is no need to worry if you do not have these traits right away. You will thrive and learn these traits eventually, it just takes some practice.
Unlike in the past, becoming a photographer requires a lot of marketing and exposure (no pun intended). The world of photography is ever growing, and sticking out of the crowd is key to your success. Here are some tips on how to become a photographer in today’s modern world.
Utilize Social Media
This is not as simple as creating a Facebook, twitter, or Instagram account. You need to interact with every individual that interacts with your content. You may get 50+ likes on your first post on Instagram, but how many of those likes are likely to return to your page?
Interacting with those individuals who interact with your own stuff is simple. If someone comments about how gorgeous your photo is, simply reply with a thank you. This lets the person know that you have taken out the time of your busy day to reach out to them.
If someone only likes your photos, go to their account and like back (if possible). If someone follows your account, follow back. Use your own judgement before following back, though. Anyone can see who you follow, and if you are using social media for business, who you follow is key as well.
Social media is also a free way of advertising, with the option for paid advertising for extra exposure. Posting on Facebook can get a little bit tricky due to the code they use to control news feed. It is important to interact with everyone who interacts with your posts, and to encourage interactions from people. This enhances your chances of being seen on social media.
It is also very helpful to post often on social media, at least 5 times a week. This also enhances your chances of getting seen, and lets people know that you have an active account and are serious about the work you are presenting.
Know your worth
Believe it or not, the price at which you assign to your photographic services is crucial. If you price too cheap, people may not take you seriously as a photographer. Too cheap pricing also gives off the message that you do not take your own work seriously, and are just looking for some quick cash.
Pricing too high can be intimidating—especially if you do not have the portfolio to back up your expensive prices. If you think about it, charging $200 for a half hour session, where the person only gets 3 unedited photos, is way over priced and will more than likely not help you make a sale.
Finding the right price for your photographic services can be tricky, which is why you should do plenty of research first. More experienced photographers can charge reasonably more than amateur photographers. Your prices also depend on what service you are offering. Wedding photography is generally more expensive than family portraits, and even requires a lot more work. The best thing to do here is to do your research on the prices for photographic services, and determine your worth. If you are unsure how to determine the worth of your work, you can also research that too. This process requires you to be brutally honest with yourself, but it will pay off in the end.
Treat your work like a business
Photographers need to treat their work like a business, especially if they want to make a career out of photography. It is so easy to tell your neighbor that you will take photos of her son for free, because she is just the sweetest woman. While doing a favor here and there is great, especially for people like family, but it can also land you in a lot of financial trouble.
If you are going to offer a free photographic service to someone close to you, explain to them that you are doing this as a favor and that you typically charge for your work. Otherwise, you could end up in a situation where the neighbor you helped out tells others that you do your work for free. Soon, you are in an awkward situation with more than one person, and have to explain that you do not work for free.
You should also get your business registered and make sure you have filled out all the proper paperwork to be a legal business. This will encourage you to keep track of all of your finances for your photography business, and will keep you out of any legal trouble.
Find other ways to be seen
Your social media accounts and word of mouth are not the only ways to be seen as a photographer. Consider writing a blog, offering workshops, or even offering tutoring for young, aspiring photographers. This will get your name out there even more and will positively benefit your photography—as long as you are offering valuable content.
Becoming a photographer in the modern world is a lot of hard work, but it is certainly doable. Make sure your work will back up your words, you are active and interacting on social media, you are treating your photography like a business, and you are finding ways to gain more exposure. If you do this, you should be able to become a well-known photographer.