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How to become a professional freelance photographer

If you love photography and want to turn your passion into a profession, it can be tricky to know where to start. There’s a lot to think about, from building your brand to organising your finances as a self-employed person. 

That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to help you get started. Here are some of the steps you could take to start a new and exciting career as a freelance photographer. 

Hone your skills and undertake training

First things first, you need to fine-tune your skills so that you’re confident behind the camera and can deliver quality photography consistently. You may want to sharpen your skills by taking on a training course, such as a higher education programme, online course, or degree.

If you’re unsure what course to choose, consider any areas that you’d like to improve your skills in. For instance, do you want to nail the basics – like ISO settings, aperture, and shutter speed? Do you want to improve your editing techniques? This will help you find a training course that’s right for you.

Get work experience and feedback

Once you’ve completed your training and feel ready to get out into the world of photography, it’s worth gaining some work experience before setting up shop. This will help you to develop your skills and understand how a photography business operates. 

Have a look for any internships that are going with a professional photographer in your local area and get stuck into all areas of the business. Make sure you ask lots of questions and get feedback for your work.

Invest in the right equipment

You’ll need to invest in a range of high-quality equipment to get your business going. The key here is to make well-informed and smart decisions about the equipment you buy – and avoid overspending on gadgets you simply don’t need. 

A good starting point is of course a high-quality camera, lenses, a tripod, filters, a camera bag, memory cards, and a strap. You’ll also need a computer and monitor and the right software to edit your pictures – such as Photoshop, Lightroom, or Luminar. 

Build your brand, portfolio and presence online

For your business to be a success, it’s essential to build a strong brand presence online. If you’re keen to be a wedding photographer, for example, many clients will find you while searching on Google or social media. 

For this reason, it’s important to invest some time and money into creating a user-friendly, engaging website that showcases your work. Make sure it demonstrates your talents and unique style as a photographer. The same goes for your social media – create a feed full of inspiring images and connect with others in your industry to start building a name for yourself and your brand.

We hope these tips will help you on the path to becoming a successful freelance photographer!