There are many photographers out there and most of them are doing it as a hobby. A hobby can as well become a business if pursued well. The key is not just to start a photography business but to make it profitable and have it run consistently. There are several signs that you are ready to take off and start being a professional photographer.
- You know your equipment like the back of your hand.
You should be well versed in your camera settings, lenses, lighting equipment, etc. Getting a good image is about skill and experience, not luck. So know your stuff before you start charging for your services.
2.You know that being a Professional Photographer is much more than understanding how to take photographs.
When you make photography your business, you are actually only shooting a small percentage of the time.
At some point in your career, you can choose to outsource or hire staff to do some of these activities, but when you start out, a larger portion of your time will be filled with things like, communicating with clients and potential clients, culling and editing images, balancing your budget, selling products and services, marketing yourself and your business, fulfilling orders, and drafting client contracts.
Being a Professional Photographer means being an Artist and a Business Person.
Starting out as a pro photographer requires passion and commitment. It is exciting and is a good way to earn extra income but it is important to give it your all. Many photographers go pro with clouded thoughts of how it is going to be however they could just be operating with myths.
MYTH #1: BEING A PRO PHOTOGRAPHER WILL ALLOW ME TO WORK MY OWN HOURS.
Yikes. No way. No chance. Unless “your own hours” means you would like to work almost every weekend and evening, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. I used to shoot weddings, but when I realized that it meant missing every Saturday with my wife and kids, I decided it was time to make a change.
Once you realize that most wedding and portrait photography clients will want to do shoots on weekends and evenings, you may decide that this type of photography isn’t for you.
Solution to problem #1: Many photographers recognize that shooting baby and kids photography is a great way to work better hours. It is usually easier for children and baby photographers to schedule shoots during regular business hours since many parents are at home taking care of the kids during the day.
MYTH #2: IF I CHARGE $75 FOR A 1-HOUR SHOOT, I’LL BE MAKING $75 PER HOUR!!!
You would be doing VERY well if you had enough clients to spend half of your work week actually shooting 1-hour sessions. So, that means you’re only earning $35 per hour now. But wait! You have to post-process your photos, which takes about 30 minutes for every 1-hour of shooting. Now you’re making $30 per hour. Then, you realize that you have to spend time driving to and from the shoot location, which is another 30 minutes. Now you’re making only $25 per hour. Oh, and you have to set up the shoot with the client, send proofs, and work on prints. Oh, and remember that advertising thing? It takes time, too. You get the idea.
Quite honestly, it is the rare photographer that can charge $75 for a 1-hour shoot and make it work financially, unless you’re getting the client to pay for individual prints or some other premium. In my experience, photographers who only get $75 for a one-hour shoot will not end up surviving unless they have low overhead and are extremely efficient in completing other necessary tasks.
Solution to problem #2: I always get asked how much to charge for portrait photography. It is impossible to answer generally. Sit down and figure out how much it costs you to be in business, and then how much you can add to that price without charging a price that is outside the ballpark.