AChoosing A Photography Career (7)

Today’s guest post comes to us from Karl Johnson of Color Experts International, based in Leesburg, VA! Enjoy:

Photography is one of those ‘happy professions’ which comes out of passion. Job of a photographer includes creativity, passion, innovation, challenge, and excitement. This is one of those creative profession where degree comes second to creative experience. Before determining it as a full-time profession, you must completely be sure of what you really want to do or where do you want to see yourself in future. Being passionate and doing great in photography may not come together. Your interest should reflect in your work, otherwise, only passion won’t sell in the market. If photography comes to you naturally and appreciations drop by you often, then you should stop hesitating to take the step forward. And if you think you lack adequate passion for it, then dedicated hard work can take to the finish line. Let yourself decide which path you’ll take.

Read the full post after the cut!

The Basics: Discover your Taste

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You know that you need a camera to start. What you probably don’t know are the basic features that determine a perfect photograph. Exposure, Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO setting and usage of other features determined the output. Without having a sound knowledge about these features, your creativity will be limited which will refrain you from taking your desired photo.

Once you get a clear idea about photography basics, the next thing you have to know is your taste or preference. There are several photography genres and types to choose your desired one. Whether you work for an organization, company, or work as a freelancer, you must choose your desired genre and start gathering efficient knowledge about certain ones. No one expects you to be a master of all genre. Choose what you really look forward to. The most popular genres include – portrait photography, fashion photography, travel photography, wedding photography, commercial photography, wildlife photography, photojournalism etc. Discover your taste, follow your heart, and choose your best match.

Gear and Equipment

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Investing on photography equipment is the next step towards your career. The body of a camera comes with option to add a lots of kits and accessories. Camera, lens, and kits depend on the genre you choose. Each Genre requires different combination of kits. Camera lenses are the most important tool for any kind of photography. Each lens has their own unique features and ability to take certain photographs. The types of lenses are – Zoom, Macro, Telephoto, Prime, STM, Wide-Angle, Tilt-Shit, Fisheye etc. Each of these lenses are specialized in capturing portrait, landscape, panorama, low-light, daylight, B&W etc.

Course or Degree?

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YouTube will be great for your photography tutorial as a starter. There are many free lessons and tutorials for beginner level photographers. You’ll get to see many photographers sharing their own experience on YouTube. Apart from the tutorial, YouTube is a great source of reviews on camera, lens, and other accessories. Many YouTube reviewers upload hands down comparative reviews on cameras and others accessories. You shall have a good grasp on different products available in the market by watching these reviews.

As mentioned earlier, degrees don’t earn you creativity. Still, a professional degree or a short course on photography won’t harm you in any way. A certification adds more value to your portfolio. Recommendation from someone prominent you’ve worked with, or taught by, can weigh your CV more. Some of the learning centers often finds them internship, contractual/freelance work, or full-time job to their students. Let’s hope you’re the lucky one.

On Your Mark, Get, Set, Go!

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When you have your camera equipped with lens in your hand, you have substantial knowledge on colors and photography technics, and have picked the genre you’re comfortable in, then it’s time for you to kick off! Now, this is where the main challenge stands in front of you. No one is going to offer you a job without seeing your previous work. So, as a starter, you need to have an excellent portfolio which displays some of your best shots. Before applying to any company, you must practice your subject interest for at least a year. Simultaneously, you have to study other photographers, their works, and recent trends. Market demand evaluation is the key to success. You have to be up to date in the field you’re taking as a career. Therefore, in order to grow your portfolio gradually, start taking snaps now. If you’re into fashion, go through the fashion magazine extensively, read articles on fashion photography, watch YouTube Tutorial, learn the light arrangement and others to make yourself a good competition in the industry. You can submit your photos on flicker and other sites and post a URL of your blog for more audience attention.

Discovering the Photography Industry

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Once you have your portfolio ready, you are now all set to apply for a job. If you don’t like to work under anyone and prefer to work independently, then you have to look for companies who’re looking for a freelancer. The best thing about freelancing is that you can work with several companies together. If you are going to apply for a company, you should study company profiles the way you study yours. Make sure you know their service and their company vision before sending your CV.

When you’re in photography industry, you must also know about photography post processing. Honestly, on rare occasions commercial photographs are used raw, most of these are manipulated to serve the business purpose. As a photographer, you must have a sound knowledge on photography post-processing service and should have sources where you can contact for photo editing services.


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It solely depends on your skill and who you work for/with. The workload, the client, and the time you spend, determine your pay rate. It is obvious that freelancers will earn less than full-time professionals. Experience and name also matter. If you become successful to brand your name, you have a real chance of more earning. Also, the pay rate varies in different industries. You won’t be paid the same for a travel photography and for travel photos. On an average, a photographer is paid from $15.06 per hour and $21K to $90K per year.


Choosing photography as a profession should come out of passion. Don’t push yourself too hard to be a successful photographer. Owning a camera and clicking random shots won’t make you a paid photographer. You need to convert your passion into profession by hard work and lots of study. Not actually academic, but observing other photos and reading articles by other photographers will make you a mature and conversant photographer. In addition, thing like image manipulation, photography post production, and image editing services should also be explored if you really want to do well. Always remember, whatever you earn does not matter, as long as you don’t have to struggle for it, rather earning it with fun and joy!!

Karl Johnson is a senior designer who is working as a photography post production specialist at Color Experts International. Follow him at twitter.

For  more information abut Color Experts International, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.