How to pursue photography as a career?

Photography is always seen as an easy to enter career option, the decline in the price of DSLR has brought this professional-looking camera in every hand. Everyone with a DSLR is now a photographer. But, making a living out of it is a different chapter altogether.

Photography is not about pressing the shutter button or taking sharp images with blurred backgrounds neither it’s about adding filters to your snapshots; rather it is an art of framing your imagination in a picture.

Why do you want to be a photographer?

Before continuing further, ask yourself, why you want to be a photographer? Is it fame & glamour? Money? Easy to enter? Because your friend/relative/neighbor is into this and doing good? Or is it your passion, you love exploring it?

If the answer is passion or love, then everything else will follow. Start clicking and learning today.

Which DSLR to buy?

Shot on Moto G5 S

DSLR’s are budget-friendly now and are available at the price of mid-range smartphones. If you have a budget, go and get one. BUT,  there is a difference between infatuation and love; your interest in photography might just be a bubble.

The best camera is already with you, the smartphone! Start taking pictures of things, space, products, people around you. Learn to read light and frame the subject. See more and click less, keep yourself in the era of film rolls, every click has a price, do not waste it.

Shot on Lumia 520
Shot on Lumia 520

If the starve of creating more stays, you can go for a DSLR, go for a mid-range, and put the extra money in buying a few lenses. Go with prime lenses instead of the zoom lens, as it won’t make you lazy while taking pictures, you need to walk towards and backward to make the frame.

Create your style, keep experimenting, and exploring

Do not run after one genre from the first day, you might want to be a fashion photographer but that does not mean you should not practice or try other types. Practice and know your gear, your fingers should be knowing which key is where. Learn to see light, it’s everything! Read books, watch movies with good cinematography, keep googling with keywords like creative product photography, best portrait photography, and phrases like this, observe the images, how they are framed, how the light is controlled and used. Follow the work of ace photographers, read their journey get inspired by their work, but do not mimic.

Canon 350D + 18-55 Kit lens
Canon 50D + 50mm 1.8
Canon 50D + 18-55 Kit Lens

Start looking at things with your one eye closed, as if you are looking from a viewfinder. Never crop the image while processing, make the frame you want while shooting.

Online presence is important

Keep your social media accounts updated with your recent work, stay active; appreciate the work of fellow photographers, and reply to every kind of feedback you get with politeness. Always give a relevant caption to your photograph, and use appreciate hashtags if it’s on Instagram. If it’s a project or series post it on Behance as well. Domains are pretty cheap these days, buy yourself a domain and create a website. Putting your work on a website is more standard and professional than putting it on social media in my opinion. To keep the audience engaged on your web, you can start writing; share tips, DIY, your experience of the photo tour, etc.

Join photography groups on Facebook, get in touch with photographers in your city, meet them, go on a photo walk.

Competitions and Exhibitions

When someone gets praised for what they are doing, it motivates and inspires one to keep the momentum. Photography competitions and exhibitions can be the catalyst or fuel for your passion. Start looking for the competitions happening across the globe, instead of using images from your archive; challenge yourself and create new ones. Do not keep longing for the prize, consider it as a project you are doing and keep working.

You can start with the competitions on Facebook photography groups.

Know your tool

Familiarity with the tool you use is always important, be it the camera or the other photography accessories or the software you use for image processing. If you know your tool well, you can save a lot of time working on them and part more time on concept and creativity. Train your fingers on the DSLR you use, so that they know which button is where you don’t have to pause and look for the button when you are on the field. Keep learning shortcuts; whether it’s Photoshop or Lightroom, it saves a lot of time and makes the workflow easy.

Tip: If you edit your photos on mobile, Snapseed is one of the best options available. 

How to find work

Making money or profit is the fuel that keeps the lamp of your profession burning. Do not ever work for FREE in return for exposure. You have invested your time, energy, and money to learn this art form, it took patience, practice, and learning of months and years to make you eligible. Use your social media accounts and your website to showcase the work. You always have the products available around you which you can shoot and create a portfolio, for example, if its product; check your wardrobe; if it’s portraits or fashion, ask for friends and family. Availability is unlimited, use your potential to show creativity.

Canon 50D + 24mm f2.8
Canon 50D + 50mm 1.8
Canon 350D + 18-55 Kit Lens
Canon 50D + 50mm 1.8
Canon 350D + 50mm 1.8

Approach local businesses, those who are engaged in creating products such as jewelry, shoes, apparel, etc. Tell them why they need a good image of their products. In the world of window shopping, people buy what looks good they touch and feel it later.

Assist senior photographers, work with advertising agencies, you will get to learn a lot from them.

The more mistakes you make the more you learn, the more you learn the more you grow.


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