The question I get more than any other is about what it takes to make it in the photography business. The answer sounds flip, but it’s not meant to be. To make it in photography, all you have to do get paid for taking pictures.
To make money in the business, the skill that will be most useful is finding new customers. That brings us to our first myth about the business.
Taking Good Pictures Will Get You Business
Taking bad pictures will cost you business, but it takes more than being a good photographer to stay solvent. The most underrated skills in photography are marketing and business savvy. Knowing how to find new customers, price your product, and understanding contracts.
Almost anyone can learn to take good pictures, not everyone can learn how to market that skill.
The Best Money Is In Traditional Markets
Not always true. Sometimes specialty markets pay the best and provide the most regular business. High speed photography, industrial photography, infrared, and other areas of specialty imaging can provide a better long-term income.
It’s not the sexy side of the business. Industrial photography jobs are frequently in places that are dirty and occasionally dangerous. You won’t get any prizes, and your work won’t show up on anyone’s mantel, but you’ll make a living.
You Can Shoot A Wedding Without A Spare Body
Doing so borders on the irresponsible. Twice I’ve lost pictures once-in-a-lifetime pictures: Once was a card failure when I grabbed my camera heading out the door, but not my bag with a spare cards. Now I keep them taped to my camera strap. The other was the day I noticed a smudge on my sensor when out in the field on a space shuttle launch. It was a long hike from the parking lot and I didn’t want to haul a bunch of extra gear, like a spare body.
You Can Teach Yourself The Business
A few people have managed, through years of practice and a relentless dedication to learning. Most of the time you’re going to need to take at least a few training classes. I recommend classes on lighting and portraiture first.