4 Essentials To Becoming A Professional Photographer

4 Essentials To Becoming A Professional Photographer
Image by Unsplash

Becoming a professional photographer isn’t just about having great shots. It is also about being perceived as professional for your clients to start believing that you are the right person for the job, without even seeing the end result.

In order to get there, you should consider several things, and those apply to any profession most of the time.

When starting out, you need people to know you exist and you work is on display for others to see and find. Well, look no further for promoting your online photography business than these excellent web marketing eBooksThe Web Marketing Collection.

Looking The Part

When you enter a bank, does the manager wear a t-shirt, hoodie, and a pair of jeans? No, it is all “suit and tie” in that department. How about you?

Were you dressed as a professional on your last gig? Bear in mind that the way you dress affects everything. Make sure that you are always dressed for the occasion. A suit is a good option, you can go slightly more casual, but just slightly.

Oscar Wilde was completely right when he remarked: “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” Take those words to heart, they mean the world in business.

Act The Part

Would you consider a person who claims to be a professional if he was stuttering, never completes a sentence, and often gets lost in the process of doing his job and solving the problem?

In fact, would you consider him to be professional if he isn’t really sure about the job on the very interview for the gig? You wouldn't.

The photographer by Raphaël Bacco on 500px.com
Photo by Raphaël Bacco

When you meet your client you have to be confident in yourself and in your abilities. That is what you’ll be paid for so there are no compromises. Your client needs to see that you are the right man for the job.

Therefore, “manners maketh man”; have them, speak only as much as necessary, not too little, not too much. Mind your vocabulary. Always be prepared to solve the problem in your head and speak the solution.

Simplify the process so your client understands exactly what they are paying for and what they will get for their money.

Lastly, make sure that they feel confident that you will get the job done.

First Impression

Again, manners. The first impression basically lands your job, so have your A game here. No compromises. Confidence, carefully picked words, manners, and that is the first step towards professionalism.

Forget About Idling

Nobody wants to pay for down time. Around 50% of the jobs have down time. If your client is around, make sure that you are never idling. Find something to do, even if it is doing something for the sake of looking like you are working.

Adjust the lights on the light stands, replace cards, calculate something on paper, whatever, just look busy. If there is nothing else that you can do, strike a work related conversation. Ask for feedback on the job so far, ask if they have an idea they forgot to tell you about, and so on.

Don’t Forget…

  • Always be 10 minutes early, nobody wants to wait, and it is completely unprofessional.
  • Always have business cards with you. And I mean always. Even if you are going to the store right after your morning coffee on a rainy Sunday.
  • Always have backup gear. A dead tool isn’t an excuse for not finishing the job. You are a professional photographer, you should be prepared for everything.
  • Deliver on time, package with elegance. It has to look right. It has to look better that they have imagined, even the packaging (for prints and such).
  • Never make promises you can’t keep.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, there is always someone watching and “recording” everything you do. That can benefit or hurt your business. If there is somebody new on the scene, greet them, introduce yourself and get back to work.
  • Be efficient. Do everything the best way you can, but don't waste any time. If you appreciate your client's time, they will appreciate yours.
  • Over delivering will get you in so many places. Simple things which won't cost you much, will present you as a person who cares for his clients, and that is what professionals do.
©vG Fotodesign Photographer "Take a Photo" by Pascal von Guérard on 500px.com
Photo by Pascal von Guérard

When starting out, you need people to know you exist and you work is on display for others to see and find. Well, look no further for promoting your online photography business than these excellent web marketing eBooksThe Web Marketing Collection.


Professionalism is all about standing out from the crowd. Good pictures aren't enough to do that in the business world. You need to stand out in every aspect. With the work, with the way you treat your clients, with marketing, with packaging, with the impression.

You are your business, you have to be 100% at any given time. That is what differentiates the professionals from the enthusiasts. That is where you should be.

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Photographer who loves challenging and experimental photography and loves sharing his knowledge about it.

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