Monday, June 23, 2014

Creative jobs in the community - Photographer...

Earlier in the month I shared the first post in my new series, Creative Jobs in the Community: Fashion Design or The Dressmaker

Today is the second job in the Series:   The Photographer
Photography is a hobby many people enjoy, and often amateur photographers dream of quitting their day job, and taking up photography as a full time career. As with anything, doing this requires time, effort and hard work, as well as an often quite substantial financial outlay to start the business.

But where there's a will, there's a way, and here are a few tips to help you on your way to making photography your full time job:

Firstly I would recommend never working for free, even if you're an amateur, and don't think you're fantastic at it!! If you're providing a service for someone, you deserve to have at least your expenses covered, as well as something for your time. Many, many amateur photographers fail to make their business work, as they get a reputation for charging nothing, or charging very little, and find it extremely difficult to break out of this low priced market. And photography has high overheads, so you just can't sustain this for very long.  Work out what your costs are, including equipment, insurance, admin, editing time, and use this as a guide for what to charge.

Secondly, invest in some quality education. If you can't take time off from your family or work, try doing some night classes, and keep an eye on the experienced local photographers who may offer classes in their speciality from time to time. Joining the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) is also a great idea, as they regularly offer classes to members, and you don't have to be a professional to join as they offer amateur memberships as well. If you do have time to study, it is well worth your time checking out the local technical colleges and Universities. Most Universities offer Photography courses, so if you really want to take it seriously; this is a great place to start.

As well as honing your photographic skills, don't forget that photography is a business, so perhaps some business training is something else you can invest your time in. As with any activity, having a solid knowledge of basic economics or business skills will really benefit you in the long run, ensuring you don't undercharge customers, or run into trouble at tax time. Learning how to manage your time is also essential, as photography often requires long hours of editing. Work out how to balance the amount of time spent in editing with the price you're receiving for the job.

Photography is also a highly competitive field, so once you've spent some time on the practical aspects of running a business, and training yourself up to a professional level, you need to look at where you can make money. Developing your own unique style and a signature look or theme can really set you apart; perhaps you take amazing pet portraits, funky and colourful kid's photography, or artistic nature images or creative weddings. Work out what you do best, find your own particular niche, and then continue to develop and refine it into something really outstanding.

Photography is a fantastic hobby that offers many ways to progress into a full time job and way of life.
Increasing your skills through further education and training definitely pays off, and taking the time to find your own unique style and a niche market that suits your talents and abilities is essential. Photography is an immensely rewarding job, with the opportunity to meet many exciting people and travel to beautiful places. Put the time into building your business on a good foundation, and you'll be able to make your dream of your own photographic career a reality!

Visit my introductory post to find out the motivation behind this new series and a list of the jobs I am looking to focus on over the coming months.

Next up will be Jewellery Designer. 

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