I am one of the lucky ones. I have been able to take a hobby and turn it into a career, it has not been with out it’s ups and downs. So what does it take to become a full time professional photographer?
1. Start slow and build your business
I am not going to sugar coat this, going out on my own took a long time and has not been the easiest thing I have done in my professional life. By starting out as a photographer with another job really helped pave the way. While working a full time job, I was a weekend warrior of photography and I did this this for about 6 years. Finally after these years my business, reputation and client list grew. Create a backbone to the business first and build from there.
2. Learn all you can about marketing
I tell many people that I shoot 10% of the time and the other 90% is dedicated to marketing. This can be anything from social networking, going to networking events and promoting your business any way you can. If you learn all you can on how to most effectually market your business than you will go further than anyone else.
3. Become a salesman or saleswomen
There are so many novice, intermediate and professional photographers out there, you have to sell yourself and your product. Be consistent with your customers: write thank you notes, keep appointment times, if you say you are going to do something do it. People do business with people they like!
4. Find your niche
The first question I always get when I tell people I am a photographer is, ‘So what, you shoot weddings?’ This happens every single time. I tell people that I have shot weddings in the past but I am a portrait, travel and product photographer. You are what you make yourself, shoot what you like and figure out how to make money doing it.