Making the decision to pursue your passion professionally is something that people often think about for many years before they actually make a move. A lot of things have to line up just right-timing, financial circumstances, confidence and the ability to take a big risk.
Some people enter photography full time as the opportunity presents itself, while others “stick a toe in the water” and see if they can start making some money while holding down their 9-5. If you are at the place where you know in your heart you are ready to give it a shot, you want to carefully consider the best approach. Here are some things to consider:
Diving Right In
- There are very few full time photography jobs out there, and if you do find one, the pay is peanuts and the competition is stiff. If you are going to become a full time photographer, these are two things you’ll need to get to pretty quickly.
- Most people going into photography full time start their own businesses.
- Financial support-do you have a partner who can support you financially while you get a new business off the ground?
- The lead time from starting a photography business to actually having an income can be anywhere from a few months to 12-24 months.
- Focus needs to be more on the business development than developing your photography skills in the beginning.
- Early success is definitely possible, but it takes the right combination of incredible raw talent and marketing abilities to get your work in front of someone who can help you with your career (like a photo editor).
Dipping a Toe into the Pool
- This is the safest way to get started in photography, as you can support yourself with a 9-5 while building up your portfolio and business at your own pace.
- This is a great way to explore different types of photography
- You can upgrade equipment as you learn, so the investment isn't so big in the beginning
- Easy to start a blog or a smugmug site to showcase your portfolio or sell photos online
- Develop your photography skills over time while learning about different business models.
- Expect to put in a lot of weekend and evening hours while you study your craft and study the business of photography.
- There are more opportunities for paid part time gigs-start with craigslist.org