Do you love the art of creating visual memories? Do you love Photography just as much as I do and consider turning it into your profession? Well, I got some good and some bad news for you: Yes, it is still possible to make a living off photography in 2017 but no, it is not going to be easy at all. I will highlight the challenges you have to overcome to be a successful professional photographer.
If you are just starting out, this is going to be the main concern to you
Many great photographers faced this exact issue. Classic Photography is not paid well because the competition is fierce and many amateur-photographers flood the marketplace with meager prices. That makes it incredibly hard for professional Artists to demand the prices needed to pay the bills, of which are many. New hardware, software, rent, insurance and so on – Making photography your fulltime occupation is going to demand a lot of resources.
Many customers do not want to pay for the best quality if the competition offers reasonable quality for a fraction of the cost. Standard work can be done by regular people. That means you have to be exceptional with the result you can produce and the way you communicate your position to justify your professional pricing.
Sell your vision, not the product
A beautiful looking portrait picture can be taken by a 12-year-old with a camera. There is plenty of tutorials on how to position the lighting, the person and adjust the settings to create decent results and it is not hard.
As a professional Photographer, you want to sell your vision of the project at hand. To do just that, you need to create your style and be one of the very few people to replicate the result you can achieve. If you are unique, you can demand the pricing you deserve, since your skill is not a commodity anymore – You are one of a kind to the customer.
Being persistent in your efforts
You have to be hungry for success in the photography landscape. If you want to be self-employed and ask yourself how to make it work out, the chances are that you never were self-employed before. And listen to me now: Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship is the most competitive space on earth. All players in the field are trying to get a piece of the pie to survive, to achieve their dreams and do what they love forever.
If you want to be self-employed, you got to be ridiculously persistent. Never second-guess your choíce to be on the playing field. Slowing down means you are vulnerable to your competition. You have to work on your dream as a professional Photographer every day, every minute, in fact, to succeed.
Be on top of your marketing game
Marketing is huge for Photographers. With Social Media being one of the main aspects of our current society and photography being one of the best tools to create highly shared content on social, you have to focus on digital marketing for maximum marketing efficacy. You can turn into one of the nation’s most sought-after Artists virtually overnight if your work goes viral. Going viral sounds fun but is one of the most difficult things to pull off in this day and age. Despite from exceptional work, you’ll depend on connection, timing and a little bit luck to make it work.
But even if that does not happen to you: Showcasing your skills via an online platform such as Instagram, 500px or unsplash is a quick and easy way to get your name out and earn the attention you need „to make it.“
In short, you should take a serious shot at Digital marketing and Content Marketing to provide potential customers a 21st-century portfolio of your skillset. Take a look at some Growth hacking techniques for Instagram and Facebook. If you do it right, the new landscape of opportunity can jump start your growth and solidify your positioning as a professional in a few weeks or months and that is nothing more than a blink with your eye if this enables you to do what you love for the rest of your life.
To summarize what I have previously laid out: You have to be an exceptional photographer, know how to position and distinguish yourself and use digital marketing to facilitate growth in an evermore online world.