The 5 Biggest Mistakes When Pursuing A Professional Photography Career

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Photography is undoubtedly a hard career to crack. Whilst standing out from the crowd may require some creativity, there are some common mistakes that you can avoid in order to increase your chances of making it as a professional photographer.

Blowing all your money on top end equipment

If you’re just starting out, you don’t need a brand new top-end SLR. Too many budding photographers will blow their money on top-end equipment. You don’t need the best camera body that money can buy – investing in something cheaper may give you more money to spend on important things later on such as marketing, travelling to shoots and other business purchases. Try to find a mid-range second-hand camera at a discount. You don’t need lots of camera bodies – instead focus your money on different lenses that will expand your versatility.

Not educating yourself with the right skills for the job

Formal education isn’t important, but you should know the technicalities that go into camerawork. A photography course for beginners could be worth investing in to give you the skills you need, as well as introducing you to like minded individuals (the networking will come in use later). Some people may prefer to self-teach themselves from blogs, magazines, books or simply by trying to mimic other photographers. A certain amount of experimentation is always needed, but educating yourself first will iron out any amateurish mistakes.

Not learning to edit

Learning to edit is as important as learning to shoot in this day and age. You should try to familiarise yourself with some form of editing software. There are many different types of photo editing software and plenty of courses that you can take on them. Alternatively, you may be able to learn from Youtube tutorials and blogs. Try not to go the opposite way and rely too heavily on effects like some photographers – unless you’re pursuing a specific photography editing career, you may find most clients don’t want heavy editing.

Being too niche from the beginning

Whilst you may have a specific niche in mind such as fashion photography or photojournalism, you should spread your net wide at first when looking for experience to put in your portfolio. This will help you to get hired if you’re looking to work for a company or alternatively give clients something to look at if you’re going down the self-employed route.

Neglecting marketing

This applies mainly to those opting self-employed. Given that photography is such a competitive market, promoting yourself heavily is important. This may mean hiring a web designer to make you a flashy site, ordering business cards, making avid use of social media, making cross-promotion pacts with other professionals (e.g. wedding organisers, music promoters) and using any social event as a networking opportunity. All of this may require having some funds put aside (which goes back to the previous point of not overspending on equipment). Finding a niche may allow you to focus your marketing, but that shouldn’t mean you turn down opportunities not in your niche.

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