However, though it sounds easy, the truth is not that simple. Photography is an extremely competitive field that requires you to have talent, skills, marketing acumen and discipline to make your mark as a professional photographer. To be successful, professional photographers need to not just be talented; they also need the tenacity to put in long hours, compete hard due to supply-demand imbalance and manage their business as an entrepreneur.
FIVE STEPS TO BECOMING A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER
STEP 1.) DO NOT BUY A CAMER YET!
STEP 2.) DO YOUR HOMEWORK – You would find the answers to most of your questions through research, both online and offline. Go to photography talks, exhibitions, and seminars. You would meet a lot of photographers in these events, and you can get a lot of answers directly from them. There are a number of online photography communities that you can become a member of. Some of the answers that you seek will come from structured education, and some answers will only come with experience and time.
STEP 3.) LEARN ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY – Professional Photography is one of the very few fields where structured training is not a prerequisite. You can self-learn, practice, and improve your skills without going to a formal educational institute. However, it can add a lot of value to your career, skills, and experience as a professional photographer. A lot of professional photographers have taken Photography Courses at Schools, Universities, or Design Institutes. Besides a formal course of instruction to develop their skill sets, a photographer should have a keen eye, creativity, and technical ability.
Look out for vacancies and get a job as an intern or an Assistant to gain hands-on experience that no university or school can teach. The key is to get professional photography experience by applying the knowledge and skill-sets that you have learned in the real world. During your internship, focus on learning how a photography business is run and how to deal with clients. Never shy away from getting feedback about your work. You are eventually going to make a living based on the quality of your work.
Your education and internship experiences would help you learn the art and technique of photography and give you a more definite sense of the kind of photographer you want to become. It's time now to start defining your style of photography and find your niche and concentrate on the genre/photography style that you enjoy. Do you want to travel, wildlife photos, nature images, architectural, fashion, conceptual fine art photography, documentary, or are you interested in commercial photography? Research the niche that you want to focus on.
STEP 4.) PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT, START SLOW DON'T GO NUTS – In most cases, you can start out by buying second-hand equipment in good working condition or slightly older models of camera or lenses at a significant discount. Buy a decent Digital-SLR camera to get started as a professional photographer. You don't need the highest model to get going. Make sure that you buy the right set of equipment based on the type of photography you are focussing on. Buying lenses is always an area where people tend to make a lot of wasteful spending – pick your lenses carefully so that they can serve you in most of your working situations. Also, make sure that you invest in the right hardware and software for post-production. A proper calibrated monitor and the right editing software would be must-haves for your professional photography needs.
STEP 5.) PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
It's all starting to come together now. You now need to continually hone your skills by practicing various facets of your photography specialization over and over again. Make sure that you become proficient with all your equipment, and know them inside out of your camera. Shoot pictures every single day. That is the only way you will get better at what you do. As a professional photographer, you do not want to fumble with your equipment in front of clients. Make sure you know everything inside out before your first professional photo shoot.
Do you want to sell your nature photos on the internet? Selling your work online is a great way to get your photography in front of a larger audience and add a new revenue stream to your business. There are two different platforms available to sell nature photography on the web, Rights Managed Licensing and those with Royalty-Free Licensing.
RIGHTS MANAGED LICENSING VS. ROYALTY-FREE LICENSING
RIGHTS MANAGED LICENSING
With rights managed licensing, the buyer pays a licensing fee in order to use your image, which is based on their usage of the image. This allows you to completely control how your images are used, how long they may be used and where they may be used. That’s the big plus to going the rights managed route, and many professional photographers prefer this method of selling for that reason. Here are some reputable places to sell your nature photography online with rights managed licensing:
NATURE PICTURE LIBRARY • https://www.naturepl.com/blog
Nature Picture Library is an image library that showcases nature and wildlife photos. It is a highly professional platform to sell your work. And, as an added bonus, Nature Picture Library donates a portion of their quarterly profits to conservation organizations across the world!
ANIMALS ANIMALS • http://www.animalsanimals.com/Photographers.asp
Animals Animals is the perfect place for both nature and wildlife photographers to sell their photos. The website works with photographers on a contract basis. You’ll need to follow the guidelines for photographers for your photos to be considered. If Animals Animals selects your photo for the stock site, you’ll split your commission with the agent at a rate of 50%.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IMAGES • https://www.natgeoimagecollection.com
National Geographic Images are famous for their nature shows. Their website hosts award-winning photographers that capture beautiful nature images. Many of the photos hosted by National Geographic Images end up in commercial and editorial projects.
The difference between royalty-free licensing and rights managed licensing is that, with a royalty-free license, the buyer pays a one-time fee for the photo that they can then use however they want without any restrictions. With royalty-free licensing, you may sell your image multiple times to different buyers, as often as you want. Here are some great sites for selling royalty-free photos:
ADOBE STOCK • https://stock.adobe.com
Adobe Stock is another giant in the nature stock photo purchasing and selling space. With a large community of creatives and image buyers. You can upload your photos for free to the Adobe Stock library. You can earn a greater share for each image that you sell exclusively on Adobe Stock.
iSTOCKPHOTO • https://www.istockphoto.com/
iStockPhoto is a reliable platform to sell your nature photography online. It has a large number of visitors and users. To add your photos at iStockPhoto, you first need to submit a few samples. If your sample photos are approved, then you will be able to sell your photos.
Keep your passion for photography alive Ishmeal, and continuously strive to do great work that would make you stand out. That's the sure-fire recipe to pave the path to your long-term success as a professional photographer.
John recommends the following next steps: