Becoming a Professional Photographer

Thinking of Becoming a Professional Photographer? There are a few things you need to know before you choose this exciting career path. Let your creativity and drive lead the way.

Become a respected storyteller and express yourself with your DSLR camera when words fail you. Professional photographers are responsible for capturing unforgettable moments in the most creative way imaginable. There’s also a chance to get paid handsomely and an opportunity to start your own photography business. Keen on becoming a professional photographer? Here’s all you need to know.

Things to Consider Before Becoming a Professional Photographer

A chance to express yourself creatively and get praised for your amazing work – who would want to say no to that? But before you make the decision to become a professional photographer, there are a lot of things you need to know. 

There’s a lot to Learn – Learning photography is not as easy as it sounds. Especially if you want to become a professional photographer. You will have to learn about photography elements, how to use equipment and then there is working on how to market your work. 

You Will Suck at First – The biggest thing you need to come to terms with is that at first you won’t be as great as you thought you would be. And that’s okay. As soon as you will realise this and come to terms with it, you can move on and work on measuring your growth. 

Photography is Part of the Service Industry – Many fail to realise that the majority of photography and its fields form part of the service industry. You need to consult with clients and help them capture their vision, but on your own creative terms. Interacting with others will form a large part of your job. 

Woman wearing hijab practicing her photography skills in her room. Becoming a Professional Photographer can be hard, but with a lot of practice and determination you can succeed

How to Become a Professional Photographer

Because of how advanced technology has become over the years, it is a lot easier to take pictures now. Therefore, people are under the impression that it is that simple to become a photographer. Photography is a competitive industry. To thrive you need talent, willingness to learn skills and be entrepreneurial minded.  

Choose the Right Course

It is so important to choose the right photography course. You need to consider your skill level and what it is you want to learn before you enrol. A basic or general short course in digital photography is always a good start. This will help you learn the basics and determine whether or not the industry is in fact for you. 

Get to Know Your Camera 

Getting to know your camera will make everything else a little easier. Don’t wait until you enrol for a course to get to know your camera. Read the instruction manual and learn how the different settings on your camera work. There are just some things you won’t be able to figure out on your own and there is no shame in reading the instructions. 

Master the Basics

Getting the grip of the fundamentals of photography is very important. This will make your photographs look instantly better. While shooting on automatic is fine at first, it won’t be beneficial to you or your growth. Learn to shoot on manual as soon as possible and master the basic elements of photography. 

Keep Your Eyes on Trends

Since photography is such a competitive field, you will need to keep your eyes on certain trends in the industry. Being able to push yourself creatively, is what will set you apart from other photographers. Make sure you are ahead of the trends and even set your own. Let your pictures do the talking. 

Find Your Niche

When you think about photography or becoming a professional photographer, what exactly is it that you envision? There are so many different forms of photography and job titles to choose from. From fashion, to event or portrait photography – the list and possibilities in this field are endless. 

Can Anyone Become a Photographer?

Not too long ago, owning a camera was considered a luxury. Owning one meant that you were the star of family functions, and the one people could count on to take pictures at their children’s christening. But can anyone become a photographer?

  • Courses are More Accessible Now – In the past, photography courses used to be very scarce because not a lot of colleges offered them. But in recent years more photographers have emerged and now offer their own courses. 
  • And so is Equipment – Technology has become more advanced and now everyone has access to a camera. Iphoneography and shooting from mobile devices are a thing. And because of that, editing software can now also be accessed on smartphones. 
  • But you Need Creativity – Just because you take cute selfies or photographs of others, does not make you a photographer. There are still a lot of things you need to learn. Creativity is what sets photographers apart from the rest. 

Although it is easier to become a photographer now, it still doesn’t mean that anyone can or should become a photographer. You still need to have a genuine passion for taking pictures and be creative.

Man on a mission to in the woods to take the perfect shot with his DSLR camera. Becoming a Professional Photographer requires skills and dedication

Can you Make Good Money as a Photographer?

The amount of money you will make will depend on a lot of things. Firstly, if you are employed by a company as a photographer you will have stability and will earn a fixed income. However, if you’re self-employed your income will depend on the work you get. 

How Much can you Earn?

The salary of photographers who are employed by companies usually vary. But according to Indeed, they earn an average of R8 100 per month.You could earn more depending on which company you work for, and the amount of experience you have. Self-employed photographers can expect to earn more, but their income is not as stable. It is important you make a name for yourself to generate more work. 

How to Boost Your Income as a Photographer

There are plenty of opportunities for photographers to boost their income. Here are some of the many ways you can earn an extra additional income. 

Sell copies of your work online – Art, photography or even decor junkies are always looking for pieces to add to their collection. Sell copies of your artwork online in print or digital format. There are multiple platforms online that you can do this from. 

Explore the world of event photography – There’s always big bank to make from event photography. Weddings and other special celebrations like birthdays and matric balls call for the services of a professional photographer to take pictures. So why not cash in?

Enter photography contests – Be proud of your work and consider entering competitions. By entering competitions you can stand a chance to win amazing prizes and you also push yourself to be more creative. Prizes are often in the form of equipment, money or holidays.

Offer editing and retouching services – Many photographers or content creators hate editing and retouching as it is a taxing task. You can offer your services to them and set your price. There is also a need for editing and retouching services to the general public. 

Become the Best Shooter

But first, shoot your shot with us. Keen on enroling for a Digital Photography course? Let one of our course experts help you on your journey of becoming a professional photographer. Get in touch with us today.

  • Call us for free on 0800 39 00 27
  • Or fill out this contact form for a call back
Last Updated: November 2, 2020


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp


Cherri-Lee Rhode
Cherri-Lee Rhode
Cherri-Lee is the Head Writer and Content Team Leader at Skills Academy. She enjoys writing but loves the mentoring and training aspects of her job just as much. Her philosophy and answer for everything is 'skills are taught'. You can view her LinkedIn here