Top tips for becoming a pro photographer 10 top tips for making the step from Emerging to Pro Photographer (in no particular order):
1. Be true to yourself. Know what motivates you as a person (your values) and as a photographer (your creative drive – why you take pictures) as these will be your guides through your career and help to build a lasting and trusted brand. Love what you shoot and be yourself.
2. Understand what it means to be professional. This includes all aspects of handling people and situations. In today’s competitive marketplace, your personality counts for a lot and it is too easy for a client to choose someone else or not recommend you if they sense a lack of professionalism.
3. Seek feedback on your work – always. It is so easy to live and work in a bubble and to ask close friends and family what they think. Invariably they will tell you want you want to hear rather than what you should hear. Instead seek out professional picture editors, agents, gallerists, etc at portfolio reviews and other professional events to get an informed, objective opinion that you can then consider and act upon.
4.Develop a thick skin. This is not so that you are immune from criticism – far from it. It is so that you can repeatedly bounce back unscathed from the knocks you will feel in what is a tough and brutal business. You will get plenty of setbacks, criticism and closed doors…but no one reaches success without hard work, perseverance and resilience. 5. Understand and be comfortable with running your own business. It’s no good just taking good pictures – you need to be able to define your ‘product’, market it effectively, innovate and invest appropriately to be successful. 6. Don’t allow yourself to be in a comfort zone. Shoot loads, be obsessive, allow yourself to fail. Don’t get on a hamster wheel and do the same things time and time again – you will burn out and lose your creative drive. 7. Don’t focus on the gear. These are just your tools; you are the operator and have the vision. Anyone can copy what your have in your camera bag, it’s much less easy to copy why you shoot what you do. 8. Keep innovating. Show your clients that you have new ideas and are constantly looking ahead. Change the imagery on your website periodically; always push yourself to work on personal projects and not just paid jobs. 9. Don’t be a Jack of all trades. Take time to specialise and develop a style that resonates with you and threads through your work. Develop this consistency in your work and you’ll be more likely to be remembered and trusted by clients to produce the goods. 10. Know your market. Not everyone will want to hire you for the type of pictures you take. Be comfortable with this idea and spend time researching the type of clients who do use the style of pictures you love to shoot. Market yourself according to their expectations.