What it Takes to be a Professional Photographer

 

Lesson Info

Build a Following

Building a following, so. You know, these days with Instagram and social media, this is a huge part of the game right now. And, you know, I'm still trying to build a following. I actually designed a newsletter, and maybe I talk about that in here, in this slide, or in this section. And, you know, it's more than just selling to clients now. If you have a following, that gives you leverage when you're dealing with a client. If you have a million followers on Instagram, the client instantly has a built in marketing to a million people, which is a huge... I don't have a million people on Instagram. I wish I did. That's huge. And if I've only got 50,000 people on Instagram, or whatever the number is, and you're going up against somebody who has a huge following, you're probably gonna lose out on that equation because they're giving a whole lo more value for probably the same price as you're charging, or just a little bit more to access that. So this is a factor. And I've definitely lost job...

s because I didn't have as many followers as somebody else bidding on the job. So be aware of this. It's the upside and the downside. So, like I said, Instagram, you know, and this is the new portfolio for young photographers just getting in. They look at Instagram as if it's the website from 10, 15 years ago. And this is almost as important as your website. Because A, you show a lot more images on Instagram, so treat Instagram like your portfolio. Don't put anything up there that you don't want an art buyer to see. And if you need to have your personal account, you know, for family and friends, where it's just snapshots of the kids and whatnot, make the separate account, and have your professional account be a professional account. Same with Facebook, Twitter, whatever it is. The world is seeing it, so be careful. And put amazing work on it. Because you can get jobs through social media these days just as easily... If you wanna be an amazing photographer, or professional photographer these days, it's not a bad idea to build an unbelievable Instagram account, and that's probably how you could start your career for a lot of people. So, here's the newsletter I was talking about. Early on in my career, I didn't have that much money, but I had a lot of time, and I came up with this idea that maybe I could create this newsletter because I realized early on that I just need to remind people I still exist. And so, I needed some way to give them something that they might look at, and it would be interesting to them, just to remind them of my name. So I designed this newsletter. And at first it was just a one sheet piece of paper, front and back, and I sent it out to like, 200 clients and it cost me a few hundred dollars to print it out and mail it out to all these clients. And then I got Adobe Acrobat and InDesign, and thought, wow, I can make a pdf. And then I can send it out to way more people, and it doesn't cost me anything because it's just email. And so, this has turned... 15 years now, I've been doing this newsletter. And they're like 30 to 40 pages. And they have behind the scenes stories from recent trips, or they'll have equipment reviews, because in the outdoor world a lot of the photo editors are also photographers, so they're interested in the gear. Or I'll talk about, you know, editorials about this, that, and whatever. Here is some of the equipment, as you can see. And I designed it and laid it out, and that turned into a huge thing. And I also didn't realize that all these things were living on my websites and I gave them away for free. And I'd do four a year. I'm not necessarily recommending you do this, cause it takes a lot of effort to put this thing together. It's like a full on magazine. It takes me three or four days; like solid 12 hours days to put this thing together every time. But I kept getting jobs every time I did it. So that's why I kept doing it. Now it's 15 years later, and I still do it, and I still complain every time I have to do it because it's a lot of work, and I've seen a lot of photographers try to replicate it, and do one or two and be like, forget this, this is insane. I'm not saying this is what you need to do to make a living. I'm just saying be unique with your marketing. There is all kinds of photographers out there building these incredible gift boxes with their images and chocolates, and very well designed and crafted, costing like hundreds of dollars per marketing thing, and sending it out to very targeted clients that they wanna work with. That's a different way of doing it.

Working as a pro photographer takes commitment, passion and tons of hard work. Many think pro photographers are on an extended vacation and happen to take a few photos while traveling the globe non-stop. While many photographers do travel quite a bit, and some go to exotic locations, the reality is quite different than the perception. In this 90-minute class we will discuss what it takes to be a pro photographer including how to perfect your craft, dial in your marketing, build a following and how to find clients that will hire you. By the end of this class you should have a level-headed, realistic view of what a photography career might entail.

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • I come to CreativeLive as much for inspiration and motivation as much as for instruction. This class was a downer as far as inspiration goes. The instructor made me feel like he doesn't really want people to pursue a career in photography. I get setting realistic expectations, but there were a lot of "If this happens....forget it, your career is over, you're done" statements. I need some "You can do it!", quick!