How to Get a Job As a Photographer
Making a living as a photographer is as challenging as it is rewarding. By taking photos and starting your own projects, you can begin compiling photos to create your online portfolio. Make sure your portfolio is simple and easy to navigate. Once your portfolio is set up, browse job search sites and network like crazy to find jobs!
Gaining the Necessary Training and Experience
Purchase the necessary gear.If you are just starting out, buy an entry-level DSLR camera. In addition to the camera, you will need a tripod and a camera lens, like a 50mm prime lens. Lighting is also important, so make sure to invest in an external flash.
- Alternatively, buying a camera that is a step above entry-level will enable you to develop your camera skills.
- If you are on a budget, buy your materials used as opposed to brand new.
Take as many photos as possible.Bring your camera with you everywhere. Whenever you feel inspired, take photos. Additionally, make weekend plans to shoot specific destinations, or to take pictures of people or models. This is a great way to learn how to use your camera and gear while compiling photos.
- Visit the beach, park, or a city centre to find a variety of scenes to shoot.
Complete small photography projects.Plan a couple projects that you can complete in 1 to 2 months. Use the style of photography that you want to specialize in. Make sure to see your projects through to the end. This shows commitment and passion.
- For example, if you are interested in portraiture, take portraits of your family, or portraits of people who inspire you.
- If you are passionate about nature and photography, then take pictures of nature at a local park or nature reservoir.
Learn how to use Photoshop.If you want to learn on your own, purchase Photoshop guides and books from your local bookstore. Alternatively, take a course at a local community college, or take courses online. Graphic design courses typically offer training in software such as Photoshop.
- Many photography jobs prefer their applicants to have a basic knowledge of Photoshop.
Consider different types of photography careers.Some of the more lucrative careers in photography are product, medical, and wedding photography, as well as photojournalism. Some of the more stable careers are as a school or wedding photographer, or in photojournalism. You can also pursue a career in sports, fashion, or stock photography.
- While a degree or formal training isn't required for some career paths, like wedding photography, other career paths may require it, like product, wildlife, and medical photography.
Apply for an internship.Local newspapers and magazines may offer internships for aspiring photojournalists. Try contacting local photography organizations or galleries in your area as well. Look for work that could teach you some of the skills required for the type of photography that interests you.
Apply for an assistant job.Many professional photographers need assistants to help them carry and set up their equipment, as well as take photos. They also need assistants to help with the business side of photography like keeping track of contracts and payments. Look for assistant jobs on job search sites like Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, or even Craigslist.
- Working as an assistant is a great way to learn all of the aspects of being a photographer, from taking pictures to handling business.
- For instance, if you are interested in becoming a wedding photographer, get a job assisting a wedding planner. They will bring you along to weddings and show you how it's done.
Get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in the arts.Although a degree isn’t required to obtain a photography job, it may give you an edge over other candidates. Check out art programs at a local community college or university. Ask for a list of courses. If you think a degree is worthwhile, then apply.
- If you decide that an associate's or bachelor's degree isn't worthwhile, then check out photography workshops instead.
Creating an Online Portfolio
Build your portfolio through an online platform.Choose a portfolio-building site that is easy and offers a variety of templates to choose from. Pick sites that allow you to direct traffic to your site through search engine optimization (SEO). Additionally, select sites that enable you to connect your portfolio to your social media accounts.
- You typically need to pay an annual or monthly fee to use these websites. However, you can try some websites free for a limited time to see if you like them.
- Examples of popular portfolio-building websites are PhotoShelter, Orosso, Foliolink, Folio HD, 1X, SmugMug, 500px, and Pixpa.
Keep your website design simple.Pick templates that are simple and easy to navigate for you and your clients. Make sure the template highlights your work. Avoid using templates that have too many functions, colors, or designs that take away from the quality of your work.
- For example, use a simple black and white template.
Publish your best work.Go for quality over quantity. Publish the photos that exhibit your photography skills. Also pick photos that reflect the type of work you want to do, whether it is wedding or product photography. Since clients do not have time to look through every photo, place your very best photos in the beginning of the gallery.
- Additionally, publish high-quality resolution images as opposed to low-quality resolution images.
Organize your work.If you have worked on multiple projects, then organize your work by project. You could also organize your work by theme or type, like black and white, portraits, and landscape. Make sure to organize your work in way that is easy and accessible for your clients.
Write a 1 to 2 sentence description for each photo.Write the name of the company you shot the image for, the model’s name (if applicable), and the location of the shot. You can provide any other details that you think are relevant as well.
- A brief description will give your clients a little bit of context when browsing your images.
Include a contact page.Place your name, phone number, and email on the contact page. Also provide links to your social media accounts that showcase your work. This way, interested clients will be able to contact you easily.
- You may also include an “about me” page on your website as well. Write 2 to 3 paragraphs detailing your background, how you become interested in photography, and your photography experience.
Search for positions on job search sites.Clients and employers use job search sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Monster to post available work. Read the job’s description. Apply for the positions you qualify for.
- Search for positions like “assistant photographer,” “freelance photographer,” “portrait photographer,” “social media photographer,” and others.
Browse newspapers and magazines for job ads.Look for job advertisements near the back of newspapers and specialty magazines. Call or email the companies to inquire about the position. If you qualify for the position, send the company an email with a link to your online portfolio.
- If you do not hear back from a job within a week, then follow up on your application by emailing them again.
Attend networking events.Attend as many events as you can to get your name and work out. Handout business cards to people you make connections with. Call or email your connections 5 to 7 days after the event. Invite them to lunch or after-work drinks to discuss your work and career goals.
- Find out about events through MeetUp, artist groups, business groups, your Chamber of Commerce website, local Professional Photographers of America (PPA) groups, and local SmugMug groups.
QuestionWhat is the best job for a beginner photographer?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerStart around your neighborhood, and then expand. Sometimes you could go to the local high school and take pictures there.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the best camera for a 15-year-old to use for wildlife photography?Andrew GardinerCommunity AnswerIt depends on how much you want to spend. I like Canons. You can get a decent used one on eBay for about 0. Try one of the T series Rebels. I started with a Canon T2i model, but the T5i has an articulating (hinged and "swivelable") back screen, which is helpful when you place your camera in places where it would be hard to see the back screen without the articulating screen, like on the ground. With the T2i I have to lay on the ground to set my frame. Then again, the resolution and quality of many cell phone cameras are just as good as high-end DSLR cameras now.Thanks!
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