Capturing those perfect moments isn’t just a hobby

After garnering some experience via internships, and partaking in competitions in different areas of photography, you will have a better understanding of which one your interest lies in.

Photography is a highly creative, yet competitive and challenging field that requires abundant dedication, diligence, and commitment besides basic and essential skills. This is especially because photography is no more just a hobby, and has become a lucrative profession in today’s time and age. Be it freelance or recruited photographer, a fresh perspective, openness to new ideologies and a clear focus are imperative.

The following are a few essential guidelines to start, and eventually build a successful career in photography:

Learning: It is always advisable for a budding photographer to opt for the required education via a relevant course, which will help in honing your skills. While earlier, aspirants used to learn the techniques and skills themselves, today there is a plethora of institutes that offer courses for the same. You can opt for a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, or a diploma in Photography from reputed institutes for gaining technical and practical knowledge through sound education in the field. 

Creating a portfolio: Receiving lucrative work opportunities at the very beginning of your photography career is anything but a cakewalk unless you have relevant connections. If not, it most certainly is a struggle wherein you need to let your creativity and talent do the talking. The best way to go about this is by creating a robust and complete portfolio that you can share to make people notice your work. It should ideally have photographs of diverse subjects highlighting your talent. However, limit these pictures to five to ten, to ensure maximum retention. Also, make it a two-way communication channel by taking viewers’ feedback into account as this will only help improve your skills and thereby your portfolio.  

Interning: Once your portfolio is ready and you have begun the process of sharing it, look for internship opportunities to gain some industry experience. Internships or apprenticeships help in showing your skills and developing them, along with offering the potential to get hired for small projects or assignments in any genre of photography, to begin with. 

Getting publicity: While interning with professionals, you can also scour relevant competitions, big and small, as these aid in getting good publicity, by featuring your work on a bigger platform.

Creating a niche: After garnering some experience via internships, and partaking in competitions in different areas of photography, you will have a better understanding of your area of interest. Here is when you choose from multiple genres like portraits, wildlife, wedding, landscape, sports and several others. You can also opt for freelance work by experimenting in diverse areas to gain knowledge and achieve the purpose, but this step is essential for becoming a thorough professional in the field. 

Buying equipment: The next step after finding your niche is to purchase or obtain the necessary equipment, wherein the basic requirement is to have one to two cameras and different lenses for different situations. Some might also need additional lighting equipment, especially freelance photographers who wish to create a home studio, depending on their specialisation. Moreover, it is recommended to have and be well-versed with good quality photo-editing software. However, an important tip with regard to these purchases is to be reasonable and practical about them, as saving these investments for high-quality equipment in the future is a wiser way of going about it. 

Networking: Once you gain some experience and have your equipment in place, an ideal way to begin creating a successful pathway as a photographer is to build a network with established professionals. It is important to connect with others to understand and learn from their experiences, by stepping out of your comfort zone and working towards securing opportunities to assist them now and then. Take all the advice you can from these successful photographers as their insights will help improve your focus on bettering your creative skills. 

Photo editing: As you continue to find work opportunities and network, be sure to continue honing your photo editing skills. Today, digital penetration has taken over every field, including photography. Therefore, learn new methods, techniques, and keep ideating and innovating using your photo editing software. However, be wary when using special effects, as over-edited and overtly stylised photographs may fail to impress your viewers or clients. 

Researching: Besides learning new ways of photo editing, make it a point to go through books, magazines, and digital platforms to learn about latest tips and tricks with respect to camera settings, and using the camera. Garner enough working knowledge about your camera gear, as having a strong background in the same will help with brilliant pictures.   

Establishing online presence: Having an updated website that showcases all your work and experiences will go a long way in establishing your presence and talent in the field. Leverage this website along with all your social media handles, and keep updating your latest captures. Moreover, blog about your work as it is a significant and interactive tool to keep viewers updated of your work and relevant assignments. 

Collaborating: While it might seem challenging in your early days as a professional, offering free services to friends and acquaintances is actually a great way to garner free publicity. You can offer these services for their businesses including cafes and other products. It is best to be proactive about the same, especially in your area of interest.  

Following stalwarts: Lastly, a beneficial recommendation for any photographer who wishes to make it big is to study the work of other renowned ones, to enhance your own style and skill-set. Look at their website, blog, and social handles to know more about their work and methodologies, and seek inspiration. 

(The writer is co-founder, Isrrani Photography And Signature Filmz)

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