How to Become a Professional Photographer

Actionable tips and advice to help you become a professional photographer.

Photography is one of the most popular hobbies in the world. Many people dream of turning their passion for photography into a full-time career.

In some respects, the barrier to entry into the market has never been lower with technological advancements and lower equipment costs. Establishing yourself in the marketplace, growing and sustaining your business take serious hard work, dedication and years of practice.

There is no one path to becoming a photographer, the graphic below is meant only as a rough guide. If you are part of the way there, it may be useful to check the later sections for things you may not have considered.

Specialize in one area

If you are still up for the challenge, the first thing I would recommend doing is determining what type of photographer you want to become. You could be a generalist. However, your progress would be much quicker if you focused in on one area and developed your skills to a much higher level.

The most important step is to invest in yourself, take the time to master the basics before moving onto more advanced techniques. There is an abundance of photography literature available through training courses, workshops and websites, which are listed in the resource section of the infographic.

The more time you invest in yourself developing your craft, the sooner you will see results. There is a well-established theory that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill.

Take the time to improve your photography & post production skills

It is also essential that you improve your post-production skills, allowing you to create unique work and stand out in the market. Learning how to cull and edit quickly will save you money in the long run.

Getting a mentor or assisting an experienced photographer can dramatically speed up your progress. Teaching you new skills and allowing you to gain a better insight into how the business side of the photography industry works.

The hard truth is that there are very few sectors in the photography industry that have well-paid full-time jobs. So for many people the only way to go, once you have gained experience is to become a small business owner.

Becoming a small business owner

Earning a living off the quality of your work and ability to network and market your business. You have probably all heard the saying; there are many amazing photographers who are starving artists and many successful photographers who’s work is average. Showing that learning some basic business skills can be and invaluable step to grow and sustain your business.

It is not all bad news, as there is plenty of money to be made in the industry and many lifestyle advantages to being your own boss and being able to work when you want.

Do let us know in the comments below about your photography business so we can learn more.

Interested in becoming a professional photographer? Check out this infographic.

Source and more information on

3 Replies to “How to Become a Professional Photographer”

  1. Nomis says:

    Thanks a lot for this fantastic guide. It really helps to firm up the vision and to set a course to make and measure progress.

    1. Mike says:

      No problem Nomis! Credit to Robert Sail for the amazing infographic. Thank you for reading the blog! :)

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