Having attended a recent event, I want to share with you some ideas that might help you make your way in professional photography.
Firstly, define your photographic talent and how you want to use it. Are you a commercial photographer or an artistic photographer? Do you want to apply your technical skills in another way such as in clinical photography? Are you skilled in a particular subject matter such as sport, fashion, wildlife or still life?
Secondly, consider how much you are a creative or interpretative photographer (or both). Does your work portray a particular perspective on an everyday subject? Or do you focus on the more unusual and controversial themes in life? What messages do your photographs convey? What is your product or service and for whom?
Whatever is your area of interest, you need to prepare yourself in the following ways:
- Market yourself and promote your work
- Present yourself professionally online and in person.
- Use Twitter to follow photographers you respect and tweet about your own photographs.
- Display your work on sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, You Tube, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
- Tell the story behind your photographs with a photo blog. You can use software such as WordPress or Tumblr to set up your blog.
- Create your own domain name using sites such as Hover and Godaddy.
- Manage all your social media platforms with the help of Hootsuite.
- Connect and network with people
- Share your work in a community via group pools and online networks such as Shutter Hub or Flickr.
- Attend events, workshops and exhibitions to get your name out there and learn from others.
- Attend or organise curated exhibitions. Hire gallery space to exhibit your work. It is often more cost effective to do this as a collective.
- Decide on what your subject matter and geographical location will be. London remains a distinct, high profile launch pad but, explore what is in your local region too.
- Join or research the many professional bodies, associations and networks that exist, such as:
- Develop and improve your work continuously
- Use social media platforms to obtain feedback on your work regarding commercial viability and artistic critique.
- Enter competitions (adhering to submission procedures).
- Your photographic work is unique. Strengthen your emotional resilience to help you see people’s feedback in a balanced and constructive way.
- Place a value on your work. Factors such as the quality of your work, its perceived value, competitors and your expenditure will influence the price you set.
Consider exchanging your skills with others for free too.