If you want to be a photographer, even to succeed as a photographer, then you need to be willing to put the work in. It’s a competitive field after all and they say there are as many photographers as there are people with smartphones. But the difference between someone who takes the occasional snap as a hobby and those who will capture images to be seen by thousands of people is the time and dedication you’re willing to offer the craft.
Start with schooling
If you’re entirely new to photography beyond taking selfies and the occasional holiday snap, it is well worth taking a course. There are plenty available online, like MyPhotoSchool. Many of them are structured into different seminars and subjects, helping you understand different elements such as contrast, exposure, framing, and so on in-depth. As a photographer, these are the different components of what makes the final product of your shots.
Follow the pros
Don’t just learn from one source, either. There are many different styles of photography and rather than getting a formal education in them, sometimes, a great way is to follow someone who has mastered the art and start by emulating them before you have the chance to branch out. If you want to photograph people, then look at professionals like Vittore Buzzi photographer. If nature is your thing, then consider well-known award winners like Mark Hamblin. Don’t just follow one person, either. Build a whole network of muses to inform your style and help you find the inflections that make it your own.
The tools of the trade
We did mention that smartphones offer competition to photographers, but that’s not true. If you don’t have a DSLR, you are missing out. For one, the sheer variety of lenses can offer a lot more options with your photography than the tiny camera of a phone. Beyond learning more about hardware, look into getting lessons with Photoshop as well to get as experience with post-production as possible. Taking the photo is only one step. Editing it can sometimes be just as important if not more so.
Keep challenging yourself
Learning with be a constant, self-driven process but make sure that you’re not sitting back and absorbing information passively. Even when you feel like a complete amateur, work on your portfolio. Take on challenges like the 365 project, join free contests, take freelance photography jobs. They say that it takes 10,000 hours to master a craft. Now is your time to start putting those hours in. You don’t truly learn until you start to try your hand, to make mistakes, and to find successes all your own.
There are no guarantees that anyone will be a success in any field of the arts, of course. Beyond the tips above, you need to consider how you market and sell yourself as an artist, too, but that all comes later. First, work on your art. When you’re done, work on it some more. Then you can look at potentially making a living with it.
*This is a contributed post