How to Find Commercial Photography Leads and Work

If you are starting out in commercial photography, it can seem very difficult to get work and find clients. As a self-starter, most commercial photography professionals have had to overcome this first hurdle before they can make a success of their chosen career. Whatever role you would like to play in the field of commercial photography (freelancer, agency stock photographer or employee), there are a few tips that you can follow in order to find work and employment.

Materials Needed

  • Camera, preferably digital
  • A portfolio
  • A degree
  • A good eye
  • Attention to detail
  • A neat and tidy appearance

Step 1 - Collect a Portfolio

No client in the world of commercial photography will take you seriously unless you have an extensive portfolio to present to them. You should gather together any previous work that you have done, plus any stock shots that you have taken, with a brief text explaining the purpose of the photo and any detail of the work involved (but not including technical details of the camerawork). Some well-known photographers have entered the field by submitting their portfolios to magazines and famous photographers.

Step 2 - Get a Degree

Most business clients will expect anyone interested in commercial photography to have a degree, or at least extensive experience, in the field of photography. If they are taking on photographers as employees, they will definitely expect at least a college degree, and maybe more. Freelancers and those taking portrait photographs will have to have experience, either through practice or through vocational or college educational programs. A pass in a photographic degree will make you more desirable, and the educational institution will probably be helpful in finding you your first few jobs. You can certainly fill out a portfolio with course photographs.

Step 3 - Become an Apprentice

Find a local photographer and apply to be his apprentice, or answer an ad for photographic assistants. Most professional photographers began their careers this way, by associating with a more experienced photographer and learning the tricks of the trade. This is particularly necessary in commercial photography, where everything is focused upon making the object look its best. Becoming an assistant can also let you build up your portfolio while maintaining paid employment. As well as teaching you about photography, becoming a commercial photographer's assistant will also educate you about running a commercial business: essential for those who are about to embark on a freelance career of their own.

Step 4 - Develop Your Own Viewpoint

There are many graduates from photography degrees, and many other amateur photographers who would like to make it in the field of commercial photography. You need to develop your own personal style, so that you can create something instantly recognisable as your own.  Clients will be looking for people with imagination and vision so develop your own way of looking at things, to set you apart from the competition.

 Step 5 - Dress to Impress

Your first job could be your last if you don't make a lasting impression. Becoming known through word of mouth is vital to making it as a commercial photographer, so put on your best clothes, be polite and efficient, and make sure that your client will recommend you to their friends and business associates.

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