You have the right equipment and an artistic eye. You’ve honed your skills and studied techniques. You’re ready to take your photography hobby to the next level by securing a paying customer. So how do you move your love of photography from past time to full time? If you take a few simple steps to lay the foundation for your photography business, you’ll be earning income in no time.
Build your portfolio
Take a good, hard look at the photos you’ve taken so far. Would you pay for any of them if you hadn’t taken them? You are your own best critic when it comes to building your portfolio. Look at your work with an objective eye and decide which shots are your best.
Next, ask your friends and family to do the same. It may require a bit of thick skin since it’s human nature to love every photo or work of art that we create. It is essential, however, to give your impromptu art critics the freedom to be honest. As you determine which photos your audience likes best, you should start to see where your strengths lie as a photographer. Are you best at portrait photography? Landscapes? Commercial scenes? Unbiased feedback (from yourself and your friends and family) will help you discover your niche and help you build your best portfolio.
Work for free
The next step in growing your portfolio is to ask friends and family if you can photograph them at no charge. You can also ask non-profit organizations and local events if they could use your services. While your time is certainly valuable, think of this pro bono work as an investment in your future business. Every good photographer starts with a solid body of work to show prospective clients.
Ask for referrals
Show your work
Another outlet is to attend local sporting events or festivals and take photos to post online. Take your business card with you and hand it out to spread the word about where the photos are posted and to pique the interest of paying customers. Offer some photographs for free and make some available for download for a fee. Voila! Your first photography customers.
Shadow a professional
Invest in your business
Just like any other business, professional photography takes time. Be patient while you find your niche, build your portfolio, and collect the references you need to promote your work and secure loyal, paying customers. Above all, stay true to your personal style and have faith in the process.