How do you get into being a photographer, be it for magazines, for shows or whatever? I have a friend that is a really good self taught photographer, and have gotten may photos from her that I wish she would have let me pay for. She is going to do a night course, and has many small classes, and has been thinking of doing something as a side job. But she's lost at where to start.
I thought I would ask the managers from the local fairs to see if they would be interested in a photographer being at them (there isn't presently). I know the people that run them and can't see a problem getting permission. But I know she would like to do other things too.
Let me know what you think.
I think the best way to get into photography professionally is to find an established photographer that is looking for help and work for them. They will give your friend the knowledge and experience to turn their natural talent into professional work and build reputation. Being a professional photographer at shows is more than being able to take some good pictures. You have to be on your game 100% of the time. You have to get a photo of every horse in just the right moment in stride, clear and filling the frame. Professionals who take pictures of hundreds or thousands of horses don't have time to delete blurry or bad pictures. All photos are uploaded onto the website for sale without a second glance. One bad picture can ruin a good reputation so you must be consistently good.
My husband fell into professional photography almost by accident. My mom bought him an SLR camera for his birthday one year, as he likes photography as a hobby and has a natural knack for it. One day our farrier (who is also a local horse show photographer) was talking about his need for an apprentice. He needed someone to shoot the action shots in the arena while he shot the backdrop shots at the shows. His wife used to do it but she was no longer interested. My husband just happened to have his camera along and showed our farrier some of the photos he had taken earlier that day. Our farrier was impressed and had him work with him at as many local open shows as possible just to get him practice and gain him some consistency. Next year they will be doing some smaller breed shows and moving beyond the little open shows. My husband is getting very good at timing and focusing his shots but he's still not 100%. Even our farrier is not 100%. Our farrier works for another photographer that travels the country doing large breed shows and even he feels inferior to this guy. It's a tough world out there, but if your friend can get her foot in the door and work hard she just might find her place in the industry!
I posted an ad on Craigslist to come take pics for people to help sell their horse or for personal use. Just posted so I haven't gotten any hits yet but like Kitsrhott said get with a pro and apprentice would be best.
Make a photo portfolio to showcase your work. Depending on your interest area, you market yourself to that. If you like taking horse pictures then set up a horse portfolio and take it with you to shows, trail rides, gymkhana events etc... In the beginning, you will be a doing some "free or cheap" work to get your name out there. If you treat people well and do a good job of the pictures, then you will get a good name and it wills spread from there. Be careful though as the "free to cheap" work is only in the beginning until you get a name, then price it fairly. There is always the "you scratch my back and I scratch yours" thing in any business but you will find that out for yourself.
I can't take photos worth, well I'm really bad at it, my best friend on the other hand is good. I'll pass the information along, I think she's working on a portfolio now if I remember right, it's taking awhile between her full time job.
Talked to the exhibition manager that I know well and he was happy at the idea of having someone come to take photos because no one has before. Offering the photos for cheap sounds like a good idea until she gets experience. Remember though, there is no photographers at any local shows within 100 km of me, if there is, they were hired to take pictures of one person/horse. I know people with oxen and draft teams who like to get pictures too, so it's not just the light horses.
Here is the short and sweet version;
In the printed page industry “Magazines” there are a couple ways to sell your work. You can submit your own work directly to a magazine or go thru stock agency.
1) If you submit your own work I suggest going to the news stand and make a list of magazines that use photos similar to your style. Then you contact the photo editor for that specific magazine and ask for the Magazines Submission Guidelines and submit your work.
2) You can also try to get represented by a stock photo agency 7 they submit your work for you , but they take a cut of the profit.
Be aware there are two type of sales, Royalty free and Royalty managed. Royalty free sells all rights to your photo and they can use it when ever and for anything they wish, Royalty managed sells a one type publishing right. Royalty managed is the way to go & I suggest staying clear of the royalty free sales.
Since digital has come around and everyone thinks they are a photographer it has made the photography business extremely competitive.
It takes a lot of work , a good mind for business and really good quality photos to be successful, but it can be done.
Best of luck.
Being a photographer these days is really competitive business, as warned by Hackamore. I consider myself an amateur photographer, but photograph is a big passion of mine and I am working to build up a name:
1) I have an online portfolio - put your best work there and make a good website, some people go specifically into nature shoots/ fashion shoots, but it's good to have a range.
2) Help your friends or charge them at a low rate. Eg. If you know someone getting married or they have a bakery, offer to help them take some shoots in return for a small fee (or none) and crediting you as the photographer. If they like it enough, they will refer future clients to you.
3) Submitting photos to competition is another way to build up your reputation, if you do win or get honourable mentions, chances are that it can be put in your portfolio and people may even contact you if they like your work enough.
4) Do a project, if people like it enough, it can go viral and propel you to a wider community. (see those Buzzfeed post, some allowed enough coverage for amateur photographers to transition to pro)
5) As mentioned above, help out a professional photographer or get an agency.
Have a read at this article too!
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