This month, we decided to focus on how you can make money without a job by becoming a professional photographer. Professional photography is an art that you must have an eye for, but there are many ways you can make money doing it even if you are not the best. It isn’t free as you need equipment and accessories to be competitive, but it can be rewarding and a great way to make money while you are still looking for that career job. Unemployment is at 10.20% and therefore having small options while you continue your search is helpful.
There are 3 types of photography you can get into that will make you money, some more than others but we will cover all three so you know what is involved. First lets look at what you need to get started.
Equipment: You will need a good DSLR camera, a set of lights and a keen artistic eye. You can find a digital SLR for relatively cheap. Most will run you close to a $1000 new but can be found on Ebay, Craigslist or your local photography forums for almost half of that, many will also sell lenses that you will need for cheap. Just make sure to buy from a reputable seller, so you are not stuck with a camera that is in awful condition. Some examples of good entry level cameras would be Nikon and Canon. If you must buy new, I’ve had great experience with BH Photo. For used equipment I frequently browse Fred Miranda and Canon Digital Photography Forums for great deals.
Training: There are many options out there for training, I simply recommend using your skills and practicing shooting people, cars, and structures. Do not start shooting irrelevant objects that will not be of any use. Focus on what you will need to shoot for others. You will quickly realize that people are the hardest to shoot as there expressions change and are reflected in every picture you take. Cars and structures will be easier but you will have to practice, so you can find the right angles. Creating themes to your pictures, so that they can tell a story will also help get you an edge. Once you’ve done a few rounds of practice, make sure to sign up to different free photography forums and ask the opinions and advice of many professionals that have been doing this for a while. What looks right to you is not always right, your eyes are not trained to catch the imperfections as you have not been in photography long enough.
Network: Make sure that you take tips from some top photographers out there, we have selected a few for you to check out and learn from, copying their portfolio is not appropriate but getting ideas and learning of the types of poses and styles of photography is a must. Check out the following sites before getting started and remember that these are pros, not amateurs but what we consider the best of what we’ve seen.
ItzKirb – Kirby, a well known forum personality, has been doing photography for many years. We like his style because he is able to combine models and exotic cars together to capture the moment. We like how he keeps his photography sharp and not heavily processed.
Webb Bland – Webb Bland, also known as NotBland, has really taken the automotive photography scene by storm. We’ve followed NotBland for a long time now and he has continued to improve and impress us with each shoot. His style involves heavy post-processing but because he makes images look so dramatic, we love it.
Marketing: Start offering your services to your immediate town, offer to shoot new restaurant openings, weddings, engagements, custom work that businesses produce or the hottest exotics in town. Offer your services for cheap as you are only an entry level photographer, go for volume and deliver more than your client’s expectations. This will guarantee some referrals that will turn into more money. Start building up a portfolio by doing at least one type of work free for each category you plan to shoot, there is quite a bit of money to be made in weddings and there I do recommend starting with your people picture taking skills first and trying out a few weddings as a portfolio build up. Many entry level wedding photographers charge close to $550 for just two hours of work. This means that if you had 4 clients a month, you would make $2000 working only 8 hours. Having a website and business cards will definitely help you grow your business.
Portfolio: If you aren’t well versed in web design, there are many websites that are strictly dedicated for photography. We actively use Flickr but would also recommend SmugMug. Stay away from websites like Photobucket or Webshots simply because they are not photography friendly. They will compress your images and ruin the quality.
So go out there and start taking pictures and start making money without having a 9-5 job and somehow you might enjoy it so much, and make so much money that you may no longer need a 9-5 job. The resources are in your hands, the cost is very small and the rewards are limitless just as with any other business you can own, and remember to check out ItzKirb and NotBland for your awesome prints of our gallery above and below.