How can I become a professional photographer?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Senor Hound, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    Hi. I just registered to the website, and it seems really cool!

    I have been taking photos for about 6 months now and its really cool. I am getting into it enough where I thought it would be cool to do it as a profession. I know, I know, its SUPER TOUGH, but I'm not putting all of my eggs in it either. I want to get better, and don't know how, but thought you guys would know what steps to take with how to make my photos better and also get them published. There's a newspaper here that doesn't have a photographer (small paper doesn't have the money to pay for one). Would it be a good idea to do free work for them (if they want it)?

    Here's some photos I've made in the last few months...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sir_hound/2435433635/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sir_hound/2436249500/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sir_hound/2435431973/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sir_hound/2436248512/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sir_hound/2435431225/

    All of these photos were spur of the moment. I have a Panasonic Lumix camera (no DSLR, sigh), and I don't use photoshop. I just point, click and save (and for internet purposes, resize). I don't know if I know any other pertinent info for you to know, but if you ask, I'll tell you :)

    Anyway, if anyone has any advice, I'd love to hear it. Also, if someone could tell me some steps in the right direction to pursue this as a career, that'd be cool too!

    Senor Hound
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    In my opinion, it would be a good idea to first buy a DSLR, a flash for it, and learn how to use it off camera before diving in head first.


    you can use this as a guide:

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/
     
  3. crh428

    crh428 TPF Noob!

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    You might want to think long and hard before you turn something you want to do into something you have to do... There is a big difference.

    You can always do freelance photography on the side, and use it as "extra" money...

    Myself, I will NEVER become a pro, because then it will turn into work, and I want to keep it as my playtime...

    Make sense?
     
  4. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Makes perfect sense to me. Back when we were much younger, my sister was a lot more into photography than I was, and was often asked "Will you become a photographer then?", but she used to say "Now I still like what I'm doing, once I must do it, I guess I might lose the enjoyment". And I think she was right.
     
  5. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yup..... as the previous posts said... Photography for enjoyment is totally different from Photography as a career/primary income.

    The people I know pursued the career through a combination of internship/apprenticeship with formal study in fine arts. The internship experience (from which to build a portfolio) seems to be key. I would also add some sort of study in business on top of all that photography focus because the professionals seem to have just as much (if not more) business/marketing sense. Many successful wedding photographers, for example, are not necessarily the best photographers but are definitely wonderful entrepreneurs with marketing and business vision. (Also, a business background is something to fall back on)

    Every time someone asks this question, I can't help feel that this is similar to someone walking up and asking "how do I become a professional sports player, artist, singer, etc?" There is no right answer nor is there any definite... a lot of talent mixed in a with a boat load of luck.
     
  6. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Become a good businessman.
     
  7. Atropine

    Atropine TPF Noob!

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    No, free work for a commercial paper is not a good idea. Picture yourself a couple of years from now. You have developed your photographic skills through a lot of hard work and invested hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars on equipment and you're planning to take your first step as a professional. But the sneaky magazine you think you should work for is using some newbie for free instead. Yes it is a tough business, but working for free is not making it better. And a newspaper that can't afford to pay their photographers is a dead newspaper. At least something is very wrong.

    Use your own time and energy creating a stunning portfolio, then you won't have any problem getting payed for what you do.
     
  8. jg123

    jg123 TPF Noob!

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    "Use your own time and energy creating a stunning portfolio, then you won't have any problem getting payed for what you do."

    Can you give us more details on this, what type of pictures really grab potential employers and potential customers attention?

    thanks
     
  9. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    I was actually gonna say that.

    Just drop all your equipment and takes some business courses. Some here said what you need to be to be a pro:

    1. business man
    2. business man
    3. business man
    4. Photographer
     
  10. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    Jimmy
    Did you test the 70-200 Sigma before you decided to get it?
     
  11. nicfargo

    nicfargo TPF Noob!

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    I wanted to become a professional photographer. You know what I did? I got my Bachelors in business....NOT PHOTOGRAPHY. With all the great sites on the internet dedicated to hobbies, such as photography, I knew I could learn anything I wanted to online. So for me it was an easy choice to learn the business side to things. You'll need to know about tax-ID's, insurance, legal crap, taxes, marketing, ethics, etc. There's a lot of non-photog stuff when starting a photography business.
     
  12. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    I'm really only wanting to do it for fun like as a weekend and night job. I guess I didn't really make that clear did I (sorry!)

    So other than good business skills, which I have a little bit of (my dad owns his own business, so I've learned as much as I can without having my own shop), how can I become just an amazing photographer? Any books to help? I live near a community college that has a class (but only one), would that help as much as the $300 it costs, or would I be better off spending that on part of a D40 kit and a book?

    Also, I'm fairly certain of going Nikon. I remember when I was a kid, and my dad letting me take photos with his FM2 with his 300mm zoom lens (so many photos of squirrels and ducks at the park, so many memories :) ). I know that camera and a D40 have almost nothing in common, but the zoom twists the right way, and everything seems to make more sense on it (though it could just be emotional attacthment to the brand, I admit). Either way, I wanna D40.

    Once again, my current camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20...
     

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