Having a career as a full-time professional photographer is the dream of many creative and artistic individuals all over the world. From those who dream of shooting in the world’s most remote locations for publications like National Geographic to those who wish to work in the entertainment industry or who are completely satisfied shooting portraits and weddings for a living, there are so many challenges that these individuals face. Even though photography is a broad field that you can enter and you have many ways to make a living with your photographs, there are certain challenges you should be aware of before diving into this line of work.
Establishing a Reputation
The first major challenge that any creative individual has is establishing a solid reputation that people will know about and that will generate more work in the future. As a beginner, it’s up to you to develop a portfolio of work to show off your skills as a photographer. Then you need to use this portfolio to get more work from new clients.
Creating this portfolio often involves spending money that you’ve earned from other work that you’ve done, such as at a desk job, and then working for free. Many gigs posted online for people looking for a photographer to shoot their modelling portfolio, for example, are done completely free because photographers are looking for ways to get their portfolios together.
Finding Consistent Work
Even after you’ve established a reputation, the key is finding consistent work. And no matter what industry you pursue these days, whether it’s wedding photography or local news, you are working on a freelance basis most of the time, unless you are lucky enough to be hired by a large company that can provide you with work every day and a steady salary every year. As a freelancer, you are constantly looking for new clients and working hard to make your current clients happy. This means logging in a lot of hours on nights and weekends and whenever necessary to fulfil your obligations to these clients in hopes of referrals and consistent projects.
Staying on Top of the Newest Technology
Investing in photography equipment isn’t cheap, and staying on top of the latest technology is also pricey. Even a regular portrait photographer needs to invest in the best backdrops, lights, and camera equipment to get the most high quality photos possible. And many photographers, especially those who work in a studio, need to invest in a high quality printer to produce prints people can purchase at a very low rate, especially since there’s so much competition from larger portrait companies who offer sessions and prints at sometimes ridiculously low rates that individuals can’t compete with. So, in addition to continually educating yourself on the latest techniques, be prepared to always spend money on higher megapixel cameras and equipment as the years go by.
Working as a photographer is a rewarding career. But it also comes with its own set of challenges that you should be aware of.