Starting a business is a task for a few, and it gets worse when it comes to being a professional photographer, no matter how well prepared you are, there will always be surprises along the way.
In photography it is nothing different, the difficulty to have a business in photography is the same as in any other area. The great thing is to get rid of some myths about the business that many people still insist on having in mind when they get caught up in photography.
And today I’m going to show you at least 9 myths about being a professional photographer to help you on your mission to make money from your photography. I will not talk a lot about the quality of work, because it is out of discussion here, to be a professional your work have to has meaning to someone.
9 myths about being a professional photographer
Knows everything but is master at anything
Many people feel that they need to fully master various styles of photography in order to call themselves professionals. And this is not true, not even looking very far. Professional is the one who receives for having performed a job.
If you are a portrait specialist for example you can definitely open a business just to take portraits, simple as that. You don’t need to be a great landscape, nature photographer to make great portraits, or both.
One of the coolest things about being a professional photographer is that within photography there are many niches, and some of them will serve you better.
One of the big mistakes that many novice photographers make is getting into work in which they are not 100% comfortable or do not master. And because of this frustration they tend to think that they are not yet prepared for the professional world.
Remember that when you are charging for a service you have a lot of responsibilities. And you will definitely only fulfill those responsibilities if you know what you are doing.
Never forget that it is better to be a master in one thing than to be an apprentice in a hundred things.
The more equipment the better
Another trick question here. Everyone thinks that if the guy has a ton of equipment he is professional. And again the answer will depend on what you shoot.
It is quite common for some photographers to use the quality of their equipment or even the quantity of it to “justify” their work. This may not be healthy for both the client and the photographer.
Equipment only makes you a better photographer if you need it.
If you photograph weddings, which are unique moments and with a certain difficulty to be repeated, it is clear that everything has to be perfect, including the photographer’s equipment.
What I mean by this is, for this type of situation you will definitely need more equipment, to avoid any eventuality. A backup camera is indispensable in these cases, some form of lighting that you control too. But this does not mean that if you have more equipment you will be a better photographer or a professional, this will only say you are prepared if something goes wrong!
And of course you can cover this same wedding with just a camera and a lens, it all depends on your talent to achieve good results.
The same goes for the tools for editing these photographs, after all not all photos will come out perfect from the camera. Professionally speaking you will need to have where to “develop” photos and a reliable computer and software are part of your work tools.
So even if you can “edit” the photos on your phone, don’t underestimate the power of a post production done correctly. Being a professional photographer means that you will also be responsible for everything that goes wrong with your equipment, never forget this.
Making money in photography is easy
And for the above statement I say a beautiful and resounding NO.
It is not easy to make money from photography, even if doing professional work, so don’t think that every photographer has anything in money like Uncle Scrooge.
Nowadays with the advancement of technology it is increasingly difficult to work with photography professionally in fact.
With the tons of mirrorless cameras, DSLR cameras and smartphones making photos each time more incredible and without much difficulty we can say that the competition between hobbyist and professional has increased a lot.
To make matters worse, people are becoming increasingly arrogant. Everyone thinks that just buy a camera and a lens they can be called professional photographers.
Photography is not just putting the camera on automatic and forgetting the rest, pursuing mastery in things like composition and lighting are things that will create a differentiated photographer.
I’m not saying that this job is dying, but if your photos aren’t really good you won’t get very far with this career, #jussaying.
The competition is very big and every day it increases so to stand out and be a professional photographer you always need to deliver your best.
Cheaper sells more
This is not always the smartest move within business, any business. Often the problem is not with the price you charge. Here it is worth considering why you are not working as hard as you would like, or enough for the return on your investment.
You may be shocked by the answers that you think about yourself and your business. We often think that we don’t work as hard because of the price we charge, when in fact the problem may be you.
A good reputation happens most of the time through the famous word of mouth, a bad reputation happens the same way.
This applies not only to the quality of your work, if you are a master at what you do, if you are careful with deadlines and so on. This applies to all the responsibilities of a photographer.
Of course, this also applies to the personal side, you may not know how to deal with the public and for this reason you have a bad reputation and consequently sells much less. Having the best pictures isn’t everything if you don’t know how to treat your customers.
To get around these situations you must invest in yourself and education in the area in which you want to work. If you want to be a portrait photographer, invest in workshops with other renowned portraitists. Need some help in dealing with the public, invest in self-knowledge or in a seminar on how to work with the public
Often the problem may simply be that you don’t know how to sell yourself, and this is a separate art. Then it is up to you to look for a good marketing option to be able to bring you more customer, the reputation will end up coming as a consequence.
Today with the great advertising options on the market I guarantee that you will find some that applies to you.
Don’t believe in your self worth
One of the rules of a business is to never work only on comparison. I say this in every way.
Do not compare yourself with other professionals and do not compare your thoughts with the thoughts of your clients. Your clients have an idea of the price, deadlines and quality of work they would like to receive, it is up to you to say whether it is possible or not to deliver such results.
Sometimes we put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and think that certain values are very expensive. This is a big mistake. Let your client decide if your work fits their budget.
“If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” Joker
Regardless of whether you charge 10 or 15% more than your competition, if you provide good service, customers will still prefer to work with you because of your reputation.
If you don’t value your work, nobody else will, so if you have an idea of prices in your head and you know you can deliver a good job, don’t worry.
Everything can be fixed with Photoshop
Although today it is possible to perform many miracles during the post-production of an image, do not think that Photoshop solves everything, because it does not.
Yes Photoshop like other tools are essential for our day-to-day life but it do not replaces a well taken photo. So break free from the crutch that post-production programs can be and start and think better about your photo shoot.
Take more photos, try different poses, work with lighting and do everything in your power so that you have photo options for your customers.
The customer is always right
Dealing with the public will never be an easy task, and dealing with a customer’s expectations can be hell on earth. This will cost you money, patience and time, but you will get used to it.
Customers can be stubborn, think they understand the business better than you and sometimes sneaky and want to take advantage of who they are hiring to do a particular job.
Of course, this does not apply to all customers, there will be great customers and some may even become great friends.
A tip to avoid unnecessary things is to put what was agreed in a contract. So you have a way to guarantee yourself, not only for your well being but also for your customers.
Include what your work consists of, how many days / hours you will work, how many photos and in what format the client will receive them, how much will cost, everything you think is relevant to the services you will provide and how you will receive for your work.
The point is to agree on the duties and responsibilities of the parties involved.
The photographer creates his own work schedule
This can be both true and false, as it depends a lot on what you are photographing. If you are a portrait photographer and work in a studio it may be a little tricky to align your schedule with your clients’ schedules, but nothing and a small schedule does not solve.
Now, if you run your own business, be careful that your work does not consume you is little, after all when you are a business owner, you never stop working.
Don’t forget that certain procedures like editing and printing are also hours of work.
You always have to travel as a photographer
You can spend your entire career without hitting the road, this is true. Now it is clear that this will decrease the number of potential customers. People from other cities or countries may not always come to your studio to shoot with you.
Of course, if you photograph landscape for example, it is very likely that your office is on the road, and that you are traveling all the time.
But it is not entirely true that in order to be a successful photographer you have to travel always, the only truth in traveling always is that your work will be recognized in more than one place.
What it is to be a professional photographer?
There are many more myths when it comes to being a professional photographer, but these are the most important in my view.
If you want to be a professional photographer take great care not to be frustrated by the mishaps that will knock on your door. Photography can be a very rewarding career for those who have a great interest in the area as it involves the need to use more than one version of yourself.
If you know more myths about whether I photograph professionally, don’t forget to leave them there in the comments.