How to Make Commercial Photography Your Profession
Commercial photography is any photography, besides art photography, for which you are paid. This can include fashion, crime scene, advertising or portrait photography. But, there’s more to landing a job as a commercial photographer than simply going to school and getting a job. More than likely, you are going to have to be your own boss, and you need to prepare for a rough road ahead.
Step 1: Build up Your Reputation
Becoming a commercial photography will not be easy. You need to create a portfolio of work to show to clients to help them decide whether or not they should hire you. And, generally, you’ll need to do a lot of free work to build up this portfolio. So, don’t quit your day job just yet.
Do as many free or low-paid job as possible so that you can get the experience, and maybe get some referrals. Once you build a reputation, then you can start charging more. Also, try to land internships at magazines, studios and newspapers. It will help you make contacts.
Step 2: Consider Taking a Few Classes
There’s no need to go to school full time for photography, but it doesn’t hurt to take some classes in the field that you wish to pursue. In fact, some specialty fields like crime photography may require you to be educated in the field. So, it helps to learn specialty techniques and hone your photography skills.
Step 3: Set up Your Own Business
It’s very rare for anyone to have full-time photographers on staff anymore. Generally, they hire freelancers to do these jobs. That’s why it’s so important to build up a really good portfolio and to make as many contacts as possible.
Step 4: Promotion Is Key
You probably will not have much a budget to begin with, so do a lot of free things. Use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Ask your contacts for referrals. Word of mouth is still very powerful since people usually go with their friend’s or family’s recommendations.
While it may cost you a little, you need to set up a website with a gallery of your work. Link to your website from your social networking sites. Figure out ways to make yourself stand out from the crowd. There are a lot of photographers out there. What makes you different? Run special promotions on Twitter and Facebook specifically for your followers. Offer free photography shoots to as many people as possible. You’ll only be out a few hours of your time, but it gives you a chance to impress others.
Step 5: Specialize
The key to any business is to fill a niche. If you know that there are only a handful of wedding photographers in your area, or maybe none at all, this could be a good in. Wedding photographers make upwards of $2,000 for a few hours of work.
Do your research and find something that someone needs. While you may love landscape photography, it doesn’t hurt to do something like portraits. You are still a photographer at the end of the day.