Falling camera costs and rising mega-pixel counts might have made it easier for part-time photographers to set themselves up as pros, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. You still have to put yourself out there, market your skills and build a client base. Once you’re up and running, referrals and word-of-mouth will often keep sales and commissions coming in but getting started can take a bit of effort.
Here are three easy ways to kick-start a photography career:
1. Take Your Kid To The Park
Of course, it doesn’t have to be your kid. If you don’t have one of your own, beg, borrow (but don’t steal) one from friends or family. Take your camera and as you’re shooting your child in action on the swings, ask other parents if they want a shot of their kids too — and tell them you’ll stop by the park and give them a print.
Don’t offer to email the pictures; print and hand-deliver them. Emails get stored and ignored. Prints are kept and valued. Include your contact details on the back of the picture and when you hand over the image tell the parent that you’re available for children’s photography. Point out too that as you’re just starting out, your fees will be pretty low.
You won’t get rich but you’ll win your first paid gigs and your career will be well on its way.
2. Become A (Campaigning) Photojournalist
For group newsletters, image sourcing can be a serious problem. Stock images can be expensive, microstock can be too general and commissioning a photographer to take a professional picture of the local woodlands or a demonstration will be way out of their price range. If you’re looking to build experience and pick up a few bucks for some editorial photography, talk to local campaign groups to find out what sort of images they need for their publications.
You could either sell the images back to the group or call your local newspaper and ask if they need an image to go with a story about the group. Again, don’t expect your next job to be an assignment from National Geographic but you might get a call back from the paper asking if you can shoot another group’s action.
3. Hang Out With Actors
Aspiring actors need a book full of headshots to send to auditions. Unfortunately, waitressing tips rarely deliver enough cash to pay for them. But you also need models to earn the big bucks on microstock sites and until that money starts to come in, your budget is going to be pretty small too.
That’s a deal waiting to happen.
Head down to your local acting school and put a notice up offering free headshots in return for model releases. Deliver the headshots but take plenty of pictures that match microstock’s needs. It’s the cheapest way to start selling stock.