All of us remember the iconic Windows XP wallpaper, ‘Bliss’, where a lush green meadow and clear blue sky covered our computer screens. But what you may not have known was that it was a real photo taken by National Geographic photographer, Chuck O’Rear in Napa County, California in 1995.
Photography is a magical medium that captures the essence of the world through the lens and freezes moments in time to evoke emotions and tell fascinating stories. To capture beautiful photographs and build a photography career, you must have a level of creativity and technical expertise. Identifying your area of interest, acquiring essential skills, and building a portfolio are important steps to start a photography career.
If you are an aspiring photographer, read on to learn how to build a successful career in photography.
What are the steps to become a successful photographer?
Photographers work in diverse industries to capture the moments of various subjects. To become a successful photographer, you must develop several technical skills and build a portfolio that demonstrates your creativity and expertise. Here are some steps to help you start a photography career:
Choose a niche
Professional photography is a vast and diverse field which means it’s important for you to choose a particular niche and style to stand out from others. As a photographer, you can pick a couple of interests, but choosing one niche will make you a unique photographer.
Take your time to explore various genres of photography, experiment with different techniques, and develop a unique style that resonates with your creative ideas. This will give you clarity on what you want to work on and will also help to attract a specific audience.
Master technical skills
Mastering the technical aspects of photography is essential to build a career in this line of work. You should know everything about the camera, shutter speed, lighting, exposure, colouring, angles, composition, and aperture to create exceptional works.
One of the ways to acquire these technical skills is to enrol in a photography programme at any reputed institution. Studying degree or diploma programmes in photography, visual media, or fine arts, along with active participation in workshops, helps build a strong foundational knowledge of photography.
Build a portfolio
Your portfolio is a collection of your best creative works that show the world your skills and versatility as a photographer. Once you acquire the essential skills through studying for a degree or diploma, try taking lots of photos and experimenting with different subjects in diverse lighting conditions and locations to demonstrate your capability.
Curate a collection of your best works which showcases your photography skills before potential clients and employers.
Submitting your best works to contests and publications is also a way to present your talent to the world.
Expand your professional network
Networking plays a vital role in helping you build a successful career in photography. Join various photography clubs and connect with fellow photographers by attending industry events to expand your network.
Assisting established photographers is a great way to start your career as you can learn a lot under their mentorship and gain some valuable experience.
Establish online presence
Social media is heaven for photographers looking to market themselves. Establishing a strong online presence in popular social media channels and posting your work regularly is the best way to expand your reach and market yourself cost-effectively.
Leverage social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to share your work, engage with a broader audience, and connect with industry professionals.
Photography is a constantly evolving field; to stay ahead, you must embrace continuous learning. Ensure that you stay updated with the latest industry trends, emerging technologies, and innovative techniques.
Attend workshops, invest in advanced education by enrolling in master’s programmes, and seek inspiration from renowned photographers. The more you invest in your growth, the greater your chances of success.
In conclusion, embarking on a journey to build a successful career in photography is both exciting and challenging. It requires a harmonious blend of artistic vision, technical expertise, business acumen, and relentless determination. By following the steps outlined above, you can set yourself on a path towards realising your dreams.
As the first step to building your dream career in photography, check out the BA in Photography and New Media offered at the University of Europe for Applied Sciences (UE), Germany. In this comprehensive programme, you will learn the technical and creative aspects of photography that will elevate your skills to the next level.
In this course, you will learn about various photography genres such as fashion, art, portrait, and documentary which allows you to sharpen your skills and profile. You will also receive personalised guidance from industry expert professors who will help refine your craft to perfection. Enrol in the programme to unlock exciting opportunities.