Taking a leap into the world of full-time professional photography can sound tempting and scary at the same time. And it sure has its upsides and downsides. In this video, Adam Karnacz of First Man Photography shares some tips that will help you make this decision and help you grow your brand and make a successful business as a full-time photographer.
1. You gotta love it
It may seem obvious, but trust me, so many people overlook this. To do something full time and to do it well, you gotta love it. If you’re not passionate about what you do, it will show. And in the long run, it can make you frustrated or make you switch careers.
So, the first and the foremost – only go full-time if you really love photography and feel like it’s your calling.
2. Learn to shoot video
Many photographers of modern days also do video work. Clients today often want you to take both photos and videos, and knowing how to do both could bring you more gigs. So, Adam suggests that you expand your knowledge and your portfolio by taking videos other than stills.
3. Build a brand
If you want to be a full-time professional photographer, you can’t ignore social networks. Build a brand on social media and build your reputation. Make people notice you and pay attention to your work. It sounds a little abstract at this point, but here and here you can read some very useful tips for building a brand as a photographer or a filmmaker.
4. Define your niche
This is one of the key steps in building a brand and making people recognize your work. It’s okay to have different interests, but your business will only benefit if you narrow it down and choose a specific niche. This way you’ll focus more on a specific type of work, grow significantly in that field, and people will recognize you for that.
5. Ignore the “conservative photographer”
This is Adam’s expression for the photographer who will try to sabotage you, talk bad behind your back and do the nasty little things just to try and make you feel or look bad. The advice is to just ignore people like this. They can’t harm you if you do your job right, and they definitely won’t succeed by being nasty to others.
6. Find your unique selling point (USP)
You can think of the unique selling point as something you offer that competitors don’t. In Adam’s case, this is the fact that he offers video at the same time with photography when he shoots weddings.
7. Ignore criticism, but listen to the market
When you start sharing and promoting your work, you’ll get lots of critique, including both positive and negative comments. Adam’s advice is to ignore both but listen to the market instead. Mass opinion matters more than the opinion of the individual when you’re trying to sell your work. So pay attention to the market’s requests and what works best for your audience.
8. Give more than you take
You should pay attention to yourself and your needs, but Adam reminds you to give more than you take. The return of investment of your time and money might not be obvious immediately. But, it will eventually result in a stream of people who loved working with you. And as Adam puts it, this could only lead to good things in the future.
9. Understand your own needs
You need to know how much you need to survive on a month-to-month basis. A young student who still lives with parents can survive with much less than a grown man with a family to support. This is something to consider before you make the leap into becoming a full-time photographer.
10. Work harder than the next guy
Talent sure is important if you want to be a great photographer. However, hard work is what will get you there. So, don’t forget that you should work hard. Even if you are an average photographer now, hard work and constant learning will do wonders for your progress and your career.