My friend, can we just stop and take a minute to reflect?
Reflect on how far you’ve come since you took that scary first step, and fired up your beautiful, intimidating fancy camera for the first time?
Reflect on the awesomeness you’re creating in yourself and the world as you hone in on your uniquely creative style? As you master all the menus and settings and technical tomfoolery of your D-SLR?
Slow hand claps all around. YOU ARE AWESOME.
So much so, you’re maybe hearing a little voice in the back of your head whispering sweet nothings about doing this for a living.
I remember that voice. Foolishly, for too long, I ignored it.
That’s because there was another voice. A stronger, meaner voice.
The evil twin of the encouraging first voice. It told me I was nuts. That I couldn’t have a career in something I hadn’t gone to school for. That I’d end up broke and alone, wandering the streets, clutching my camera and muttering to myself about aperture.
Pshaw, I say.
Seven years and thousands of photo shoots later, with an income that kicks the ass of my former health-care day job, I’m living proof that that self-limiting, small-minded voice is the REAL one you need to ignore.
SO! Where to begin?
I’m not going to lie. Going pro is tough. It’s competitive. Business is hard some days. But it’s SO worth it. To be your own boss. To put a little beauty out into the world. To express your creativity and get paid for it. If you’re even remotely considering turning your photography hobby into a career, you’ve got to try.
Here’s are my Top 5 Tips and a handy checklist, gained from hard-won, first-hand experience, to get you outta the gates:
1. Find your niche
In an earlier post, I warned against the perils of trying to be all things to all people. Just, don’t. You’ll be distracted and confusing to potential clients. Find your thing and stick to it like white on rice.
2. Create an Online Portfolio
I know you’re awesome. But what about all those potential clients out there who are still in the dark about you and your photography jam? Show your stuff. Your best stuff.
3. Create Offline Branding Materials
Just as your photographs need a consistent, coherent subject and style, your biz needs a brand. I’ve got a bunch of resources to help you nail yours.
4. Find clients and photography jobs
Aye, there’s the rub. Start with what and who you know. Love shooting food? Ask a local restaurant to give you a go. Ask friends and family for ideas of potential clients – they will probably be your first, in fact. Don’t be afraid to ask for the work. And please know, it gets easier!
5. Get some accounting software
It’s really easy to get so carried away with the shooting and branding that your books are a mess. Stay on top of your dollars and cents. Nothing’s gonna harsh your buzz like poor money management.
So go on, you crazy dreamer. Have the life and the career you want. The one you deserve. I’ll be right over here, passing out the proverbial bubbly and high-fiving everyone in sight in your honour.
And, don’t forget to grab some freebies below to kickstart your launch!