“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
— Ansel Adams
The explosion in photography is often traced back to the advent of digital photography. This has led to an increase in career options for individuals seeking to cut a living from this field and those wishing to engage it as a recreation and hobby source.
Becoming a photographer is quite easier now due to the multitude of free and paid online photography courses at our disposal. Now, one can easily purchase a camera and other equipment and practice while finding a niche that he/she can focus on.
As children, we often dream of creating beautiful imagery that is radiant and beautiful. This can now be done by snapping captivating images that abound around us. But getting into the already saturated photography market in Nigeria, most especially for individuals who have no formal knowledge about the field, may seem like rocket science.
But this ought not to be so since we at Superprof will be showing you some of the things you need to know about becoming a professional photographer even as a beginner and ways that you can support yourself financially as an independent or freelancing photographer.
Get the Right Equipment
Having the right equipment is needed as long as you have mastered the art and basics of photography. While it is important to purchase high-quality equipment that you can use to capture high-quality images, you mustn't go overboard while purchasing all the fancy photography gadgets you will find.
Since you have understood the rudiments of light, composition, sensitivity, and image capture speed, what is expected of you is to practice, practice, and practice. With good photograph equipment, you can capture all the important moments of your client without having to miss out on important moments, such as when the bride is tossing her bouquet if invited as a wedding photographer.
And remember that you can always spend a couple of minutes editing the images with Photoshop if some errant shadow tries to spoil your shot. To stand out as a great photographer, it's important that one arm him/herself with the following equipment anytime he/she is going for any photoshoot.
- It is important that the photographer comes with at least two cameras should one of the cameras fail, then they are a backup.
- Different lenses and filters, but ensure that you don't buy every type of lens or filter in the market. You can speak to other professionals ahead of you or attend a photography workshop to learn more about different lenses and filters.
- Ensure that they are camera flash or any other source of light such as a light meter
- Having lots of memory cards cannot be overemphasized.
- Make sure that you come out with a lot of films if you are a film photographer.
- Having spare batteries are another important item to keep handy for all your equipment.
- Remember to come with a tripod for posed subjects and a monopod for action shoots.
- Finally, a case is needed to carry all your equipment.
But always remember that having all the necessary tools and equipment does not make you a professional photographer. Having the requisite knowledge on how to manipulate images using computer software is the next port of call.
Any professional photographer will tell you that taking of shoot is mainly the primary aspect of a seasoned photographer's work. The major part of the work also entails editing the photos. In making sure that your editing process comes out right, you must consider the following points.
- Ensure that you work with a laptop with enough RAM space, processing power, and memory.
- Check the capacity of the computer graphic card before using it to edit
- Ensure that you download or install an up-to-date version of the image editing software such as Photoshop, Lightroom, and other photo editing software
- A calibration probe
- Ensure that you provide backup storage that can be used to file images already delivered to clients. This can be back up in the cloud, such as Google Drive and OneDrive. You can also store these backups in DVDs, external hard drives, or memory cards.
A film photographer might not need to go through these processes since he is expected to just develop the films in the chemical baths and carry out minor retouch as much as needed. After which he/she stores the negatives for future purposes.
Find your Focus Area
"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever. It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything."
— Aaron Siskind
Photography training and photography classes in Nigeria helps one to learn the art and technique of photography. It gives one a definite sense of the kind of photographer one will want to become and the niche he will wish to focus on. With these photography courses in Nigeria, it's time to define your style as a photographer to help you concentrate on the genre/photography style you enjoy.
These might be to become a social photographer such as weddings, graduations, baptisms, anniversaries, and even burials. You can also gravitate towards portraits photographer, travel, fashion, documentary, conceptual fine art photographer, or even commercial photography.
You can also make your name by specializing in some sub-niches such as focusing on pets, food photography, or just photography for kids. As long as you are good at those niches, you are sure of making cool cash always. Therefore, it's necessary to build, grow, and retain a loyal client base and avoid areas that you have little or no knowledge about to protect your reputation.
Qualities and Characteristics of a Good Photographer
Becoming a good and professional photographer requires not just to master your camera or to purchase the best camera but also to have some inherent qualities that allow you to see the hidden beauty in the most unexpected places and capture that beauty in a photograph.
Different niche requires different qualities and characteristics such as a pet photographer who needs to know how to interact properly and connect well with animals. And for a sports photographer, it is expected that the photographer is strong, quick, and agile to enable him/her gets the best shot on the go.
However, most of these qualities overlap among themselves, and here we would be showing you some of the best qualities to be possessed by any professional photographer.
- Creativity and Imagination: To become a professional photographer, one must have a creative mind and plenty of imagination.
- An Eye for Detail: A good photographer should have keen eyes for details. This will help him/her to be able to capture all the elements that make up a photo, such as the lighting, composition, and emotion.
- Patients and Flexibility: In the art of photography, things don’t always go as planned. As a professional, one needs to learn how to adapt and be patient with clients that might prove stubborn or difficult to work with (babies, pets, and models). Or it might be days when your lighting won't cooperate, or the camera just won't give you the desired results.
- Communication skill: As a professional photographer, there is a need to communicate with people and animals if you are working with pets. It's important to know how to communicate with individuals, consisting of your clients, a model, or even your fellow photographer.
- Adaptability: A professional photographer must adapt easily to any situation he finds himself while shooting. A good photographer must not wait for the best and favourable conditions before carrying out the work he was contracted for. Examples include photojournalists who routinely encounter dangerous conditions during the coverage of riots, protests, and wars.
- Passion: Passion sets you apart from the rest in any niche you find yourself in the field of photography. The requisite passion makes one work a little harder and smarter.
Market your Freelancing Photography Skills Online
Marketing your photography skill online after becoming a photographer is one of the easiest ways to make money today after you have learned photography. You can start by marketing your skill, finding clients, and building strong followers on social media pages such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
Creating one's online portfolio and presence is important for more exposure, reaching out to clients, and an opportunity for them to view and recommend your works. Your online presence is your window to the world – it opens up a new horizon for you to win more projects, gigs, and clients that are beyond your network and location. Your online presence and content should reflect the kind of work you specialize in to draw the right customer base.
Remember that your website or page should be a sort of photography school for newbies that want to learn new designs and concepts. Another great way of advertising your skills and services is by word-of-mouth, which has proven to be a powerful and effective way of advertising any product or service.
Lets Recap on the Beginners Guide in becoming a photographer
As we stated earlier, a professional photographer is expected to invest in buying quality equipment and tools to take quality images. For any photographing shoot, the photographer must go out with at least 2 camera bodies and different types of lenses and filters.
Another important item needed as a professional photographer is the availability of a fast computer system to process and edit the images. Other items needed for the editing job includes up-to-date photo editing software and a calibration probe for correct printing.
More so, the art of specialization in photography is important since it allows you to focus on a particular niche where you can stand out from the rest. And to stand out from your peers, one must possess some requisite skills and qualities such as adaptability, patients, great communication skills, creativity, and passion for the job.
With these skills and qualities, you can easily sell your craft to the outside world via the online route by either building your website or working as a freelancer with other agencies that offers photographer services.
You can also learn more by taking photography classes on Superprof today.