Home » Professional Development » 11 Myths About Becoming a Pro Photographer
By Anna Ortiz on March 28, 2020
Do you carry a camera with you everywhere you go? Are you always snapping pictures on your vacations or offering to take photoshoots for your friends? If so, you might have considered becoming a professional photographer. While this career can bring tons of awesome benefits and a rewarding lifestyle, there are some factors you should keep in mind.
You might spend countless hours on Instagram admiring the lifestyles of pro photographers but many of them are living in a reality that is pretty rare for most professionals. With that being said, there are many myths when it comes to living this lifestyle. In this post, we’ll discuss 11 myths you should understand about becoming a pro photographer.
While it may be true that photography is growing, it’s important to note that the supply of photographers is expanding as well, which means photography isn’t always in high demand. One way to combat this issue is to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Think about what makes you unique compared to other experts and be sure to clearly understand your advantages and show those to your clients.
Unless you’re famous, there’s a strong chance that not too many people care about your blog. Especially if you post blogs with stale titles like “20 Pictures From My Latest Shoot”, you definitely won’t have people itching to read your posts. When it comes to drawing visitors to your blog, make sure to provide value to the reader. Think about posts that clients will actually want to read and work on providing useful information with great content. Another tip is to add keywords and write about topics that clients may search for which can help to bring more readers to your posts.
If you love photography that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be a great photographer. Being a professional doesn’t only involve taking pictures of what you love most; there are many more factors involved. One of the leading factors to understand is that you won’t always be in control. While it would be awesome to shoot what you want and when you want to shoot it, that isn’t always the case in a professional capacity. But that’s the reality of a pro photographer; everything isn’t always up to you.
Not true! If your brother models for every single photo in your portfolio, chances are you probably won’t hear your phone ring any time soon. That’s because clients want to see variety and uniqueness. If you have the same model in every photo it doesn’t showcase you as being creative or versatile. Professional photography is a very competitive field to jump into and you may be competing with hundreds, if not thousands, to land a gig. Instead, displaying multiple models with creative and unique shots is a big step in the right direction.
Wrong! Networking is a pretty big deal in the pro photography world, and not just to get clients. Networking is also key when trying to collaborate or simply connect with photography friends. The professional photography field is one where it always helps to have like-minded buddies. Whether you need a separate set of eyes or someone to help you out in a pinch, having these pals can be a huge asset. On the other hand, building relationships with potential and existing clients can also be beneficial as you build your brand.
If you’ve been serious about becoming a professional photographer, you most likely understand how contracts work. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. In fact, some pro photographers will just write their own contracts but this is certainly an area where you want to pay close attention. To ensure that there are no holes in your contract, it’s best to contact an attorney.
Again, false! If you want to make it as a photographer, having the right gear is essential. And that means you shouldn’t rely on only one camera body and lens. Your camera may be sophisticated and will rarely fail but it is a piece of technology and is bound to have issues from time to time. The last thing you would want to happen is for your camera to shut down when you’re taking shots for your highest-paying client. To be prepared, always be sure to pack an extra body and lens.
You’ve spent a bunch of money on a website, uploaded your photos, added some text, and made it live. Months go by and you don’t have a single client. Do you have any idea what the problem might be? One of the biggest issues is that your site probably isn’t optimized for search engines. To help, your site will absolutely need more text, but make sure that text also includes the right keywords. Be sure to study up on SEO strategies to help in this regard.
This is another key myth that you should understand. Even if you shoot pictures that no one else does, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll reel in client after client. To help in this regard, allow the client to choose what types of shots they prefer. If they ask for guidance and expertise, you can then provide that for them.
Just because you take awesome pictures on your smartphone doesn’t mean you’re ready to start your own photography business. While you may have some talent when it comes to snapping photos, using your phone and pressing a button is a lot easier than using the high-tech cameras of today. On the other hand, even if you get tons of compliments when taking pictures with your DSLR, that doesn’t always mean you’re ready for the big show. Once you start getting compliments from clients, those are the accolades you should really care about.
One of the main reasons people want to be a professional photographer is that they think they can always work their own hours. While this is true for some professionals, it is very rare. The fact is that being a pro photographer means you might miss out on weekends, holidays, and many evenings. Especially when starting out in your career, your schedule might be even more restricted.
Don’t let these debunked myths leave you feeling discouraged. Becoming a professional photographer is very possible as long as you put in the work to see results. And by understanding these myths you can now be more realistic about what it takes to succeed in this career.
The Art Career Project is a trusted resource for emerging and professional artists.