Photography is first and foremost an art form that people like to engage in. However, if you’re good at snapping photos, then why not turn this hobby into a part-time job or even proper employment! This way you would be combining your passion for art with your innate drive for business. Everyday photo session will be something to enjoy and look forward to because you are making money doing the thing you love.
With the ever-growing e-commerce market, more and more online shopping platforms are in need of images but not just any images. E-commerce standards have risen so only high-quality professional photographs are accepted. Have you got what it takes to live off photography?
Be prepared to work long hours
If you decide to turn pro, you have to ditch the idea about a 40-hour workweek right from the start. As a photographer, you will be covering events that last from sunrise till sundown, day after day. This will require a high level of stamina and durability because just spending hours on end at the same venue can be tiring, let alone taking photos and searching for best angles all the time.
On average, you should count on a 70-hour workweek which a lot and it can pose a serious health hazard. This is both a reason for concern and a motivator to try to ease the workload as much as possible. One solution is to work from a studio shooting photos of product and services for e-commerce platforms and the other solution is to get some help.
Although there are professional photography agencies out there, you are highly unlikely to earn enough working for them. It is far more lucrative to build your own brand and work as a solopreneur, i.e. a freelance photographer. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a lone wolf, as you can always team up with other pros to covers a particular event. You would get to keep individual earnings but you can share tasks so each photographer gets a chance to rest.
Over time, you might open an agency of your own or decide to take up apprentices. Your helpers can cover the field events like wedding or fashion shows, while you can stray back in the studio working on far less tiring projects. For starters, if you feel that the workload is too much to bear on your own, include other photographers in your projects on join in on theirs.
Is great photography enough to succeed?
One of the biggest disappointment young photographers face is the fact that the sheer quality of the photographs they make is not enough to prosper in the business. You can have the best images in the world but the photos you present to e-commerce business owners or newlyweds still may not live up to their standards. Living in the era of Instagram filters means that you should not shy away from using Lightroom and Photoshop resource websites, such as Sleek Lens who have an excellent blog as well. Remember, editing photos using overlays or presets is not altering the reality of them, just making them appear nicer so your clients would be fully satisfied.
What to expect
Taking up photography as a job is highly unlikely to turn you into a millionaire. You would be surprised by how low the amounts photographers work for are. That is why they need to work long hours to make up for meager fees. However, if you are a good negotiator, then you can arrange for a better price because every new job is unlike the previous one. This is an upside to being a freelance photographer, as you are the one setting the price, which puts your entrepreneurial skills to the test.
Furthermore, you have to accept the fact that success won’t come easy nor fast. It takes around two to three years for a solid photographer to establish himself or herself on the local market before they can ditch al other side jobs. After this period has passed, you can for higher fees because now you have a reputation that vouches for the quality of your work.
Dedication is the recipe for success
Taking the plunge of becoming a pro photographer straight out is hard but rewarding in the long run. You, there are many part-time photographers out there who are mostly hired by people who want to save money. That means that they won’t care much about the quality of the images they get in the end. This should not be your target customers as the art of making photography pay your bills in intrinsically related to securing high-end customers. The e-commerce sector, online advertising, and the IT industry are the best employers so if you somehow manage to become the go-to guy, then you significantly increase your chances of succeeding.
Big players are less likely to dabble with part-time photographers and they will be on the lookout for enthusiastic individuals that can turn their visions into reality. As far as you’re concerned, make yourself available to such clients and chose them over low-paying odd jobs. Having steady income from regular clients lies at the very core of freelancing in any industry.
We hope that by now you realize how hard it is to live off photography. However, if you are talented and dedicated enough, success won’t be far away, if you manage to secure a certain type of clientele. The IT hype is reaching its peak, so why not make good money off it snapping photos, i.e. doing what you love.
Bio: Ian Lewis is a father, writer, and a marketing expert. His favourite quote: “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” You can find him on Twitter.