Photography: How to Turn a Hobby into a Career

Having a hobby can be a way of contending with the everyday pressures of life, whether your hobby is stamp collecting, fishing or something more creative such as painting. It enables you to relax and put aside the stresses of work. For some, photography is their chosen escape.

The cost of owning a quality digital camera is becoming increasingly accessible as technology advances, especially in the used market as models are upgraded. The upshot is that you can now take professional quality photos without breaking the bank.


Artistic or Commercial?

First you’ve got to decide what market you want to cater for. You could go the artistic route and produce framed landscapes or something abstract and creative. Then there is the commercial avenue such as product photography for advertising, or wedding and portraits. At this point it may be wise to obtain some sort of qualification or training as there is a lot more to it than just taking photographs and selling them.

Another avenue is to work for an established photographer, even for free. This benefits both you and the photographer as they get an assistant, and you get to experience the job first hand. It also helps to establish whether photography as a career is right for you in case it’s not quite how you imagined.

I’ve Got My Camera, Is That All I Need?

Now that you’ve progressed from a hobby to a full time career it’s time to assess what you need as a professional. Let’s take a look at wedding photography as an example. It is often a choice for many starting out as it is likely that family and friends have asked you to record their special day. You probably know the basics from reading books and online tutorials that are readily available.

The first rule is that you should always have backups of everything. From cameras and lenses to memory cards and batteries. If one breaks you have another to fall back on. Even having three camera bodies is not unheard of. For example, you can have different sized lenses attached to your main and primary backup camera to save changing them mid-shoot.

What Do I Do with My Pictures?

You will also need a computer and software that is capable of editing the hundreds, even thousands of pictures you will accumulate on a shoot. Editing is something you will be doing quite a lot of and choosing the right software is important. Sure there are free ones like Gimp, but it’s not really up to the job and hardly what a paying customer expects.

Many software companies offer free trials such as Capture One and Photoshop for editing and for recovering your photos should anything happen to your hard drive. You can even recover files off your memory card. Having this option gives you peace of mind just in case the unthinkable happens. After all, you don’t want to be calling on your professional indemnity insurance to pay for another wedding!

Professional photography can be highly rewarding, although at times it can be stressful, especially when you have deadlines to meet (in which case it might be advisable to take up another hobby). In either case you might just find it was the best decision you ever made.

Mars Cureg

Web designer by profession, photography hobbyist, T-shirt lover, design blog founder, gamer. Socially and physically awkward, lack of social skills, struggles to communicate with anyone who doesn't have a keyboard. Willing to walk to get to the promised land. Photo and video freelancer, SEO. Check out more on my Google+

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