So You Want To Be A Photographer - Overview - Carla Coulson
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So You Want To Be A Photographer – Overview

Who wouldn’t want to be a photographer?? We get to go to great places, meet incredible people, participate in amazing shoots and work our own hours.. Sounds like the best job in the world.. And most days it is. But what is the reality of working as a photographer?

Any of you thinking of taking the plunge in 2012 here is a little overview of what you need to know to make it as a photographer. I don’t want to freak you out!!

So many people not involved in this industry don’t see what the big deal is about being a photographer. Isn’t it just a couple of clicks here and a couple of clicks there??

Well the answer folks is a giant NO!! Being a full-time working photographer requires hardwork, planning and most of all a burning passion..

Richard Avedon shooting his portrait series In The American West

Here’s Carla’s List of what you need to know to succced as a professional photographer.
1. A Clear Picture of what field of photography you want to do (ie, travel, food, fashion etc)
2. Your own style of photography
3. A Business Plan (yes folks this is a business)
4. Money (to finance all those delicious cameras you want to buy)
5. Camera gear to suit your field of photography and you need to know your stuff
6. Presentation – Your work needs to be visible to the public so you need an online presence of your best work
7. Team Up – A community of people in your field that you can work with and help each other.
(ie I regularly work with journalists, make-up artists, stylists)

 

 

8. Work Ethic.. I like to think I have never let any of my clients down in all the years I have been working as a photographer. You are only as good as your last job so do what you have promised.
9. Understand money streams – There are many alternative ways to earn money as a photographer. Including royalties from book sales, photo libraries and agents on-selling your photographic stories.
10. You need to know how to work with your subjects and never lose your cool. You’re the director and you are there to bring out the best in your subject.
11. Photographer’s Agents – To be respresented or not. It is a photographers’s personal choice if they want to be represented. Depends on where you want to go and how you want to live your life.
12. Social Media – Have an online presence it’s vital.
13. Set Backs – Know what to do when things go wrong.
14. Pricing, Paperwork and Model releases.. Uggh the thought of paperwork.. This is a vital part of life as a working photographer. Paperwork covers your back and makes everything clear upfront. PUT IT IN WRITING.
15. Keeping Accounts – As I mentioned in point 3 if you plan to work as a photographer you need to be clear that this is a business as much as a creative art. You need to know how to keep accounts and run a business.

16. Have fun – This is one of the most important things we need to hold onto. We started in this photography thing because we love images. Great images come in fun atmospheres and through people doing what they love.

Always have fun..

Make a Plan

 

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22 Comments
  • anni

    it is a great post, a very usual and interesting one.. discouraging at the same time tho.. I guess I stick to my little amateurish way..
    I am impressed.
    anni

    January 3, 2012 at 8:42 am
  • Francine Gardner

    Very well articulated! i will forward your notes and advise to my son who is interested in journalism photography…I guess he got the traveling bug from me… In my business,I work with photographers and always do and direct the styling, it is grueling work and I have a lot of respect for these professionals. I always carry my camera but get so frustrated when I cannot take that perfect shot for lack of technical knowledge.
    I love Black and white photography and my walls have quite a few very large frame photographs by my father in Law, Robert gardner. These beautiful images have become an intricate part of my life.

    January 3, 2012 at 11:37 am
  • Anya adores

    Oh did I tell you I am very fond of you :O) Thanks Carla – splendid advice 🙂 Will have a proper look at your advice and recommendations.!
    Happy 2012 sweets,
    Axx

    January 3, 2012 at 11:40 am
  • Emiko

    This is brilliant, thanks for the reminder of what it is I am trying to work towards. I loved reading about your previous post of how you got your first big break too – I studied and taught photography in Florence too, your post just gave me a nice little inspiring push in the right direction 😉

    January 3, 2012 at 12:23 pm
  • Elizabeth Eiffel

    It's always a pleasure to visit your blog Carla.
    Sage advice. When one turns a passion into a business, the trappings of the business could easily stifle one's passion.
    Warm regards

    January 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm
  • The Domestic Triffid

    Hey Carla,

    YOU ARE READING MY MIND !!! I am looking at photography seriously now, and you are just coming up with these fabulous posts on the actual nitty-gritty of the work 🙂

    I have gone over "How To Stand Out As A Photographer" and have ordered two of your books from Amazon 🙂

    I already have your Amalfi book – that's what set me off on this course – not Amanda Tabberer's amazing life – but yours !

    The photos are SO gorgeous & I was thinking "How can I get paid to do THAT ?!"

    When I discovered that you are also Vicky Archer's favourite photographer I looked you up pronto. Between French Essence and "My Almalfi Coast" I was already hooked, before I hit your blog 🙂

    I love the way you capture light. I love your grasp of colour. I adore the way you are able to express the essence of a place, or a person…I love your shots of women especially…. And I love the way you have put your story out there to inspire the rest of us !!

    But enough enthusing ! Off to compare cameras and come up with a 5 year business plan.

    Thankyou for being such a wonderful example of what passion and hard work can achieve !

    xxx
    Molly

    January 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm
  • The Domestic Triffid

    Hey Carla,

    YOU ARE READING MY MIND !!! I am looking at photography seriously now, and you are just coming up with these fabulous posts on the actual nitty-gritty of the work 🙂

    I have gone over "How To Stand Out As A Photographer" and have ordered two more of your books from Amazon 🙂

    I already have your Amalfi book – that's what set me off on this course – not Amanda Tabberer's amazing life – but yours !

    The photos are SO gorgeous & I was thinking "How can I get paid to do THAT ?!"

    When I discovered that you are also Vicky Archer's favourite photographer I looked you up pronto. Between French Essence and "My Almalfi Coast" I was already hooked, before I hit your blog 🙂

    I love the way you capture light. I love your grasp of colour. I adore the way you are able to express the essence of a place, or a person…I love your shots of women especially…. And I love the way you have put your story out there to inspire the rest of us !!

    But enough enthusing ! Off to compare cameras and come up with a 5 year business plan…

    Thankyou for being such a wonderful example of what passion and hard work can achieve !

    xxx
    Molly

    January 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm
  • The Domestic Triffid

    PS: Oooh I want a Canon 5D Mark II. I do. I'm having to settle for a Panasonic DMC FZ150… Its a solid workhorse but it isn't an SLR. I'll get there !

    January 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm
  • Virginia

    As you know, I struggle with all of this. Thanks for the tips though. I"m bookmarking this one!

    It won't be long now. Hope you got the email! 🙂
    xx
    V

    January 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm
  • LeeLee

    This is such a great post. Great advice on being a photographer. Thanks. 🙂

    January 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm
  • Gailsman

    If only I could dip my toes in such a venture. Alas I don't consider my photography good enough to even sell greetings cards.
    A dream for many. A reality for the lucky few.

    January 3, 2012 at 11:14 pm
  • dawn

    you are so right, carla…..this is such important and concise information that we photographers need to remember. it's easy to get the stars in our eyes, but it's hard work! and it's time consuming and yes…it's a business as well! thank you for this important post.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:25 am
  • leah of sang the bird

    happy new year carla! you have been in my thoughts. i hope you had a lovely time away. much love xxx

    January 4, 2012 at 9:35 am
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    kisses!!!

    January 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm
  • dina vanessa mercado

    great blog!!!

    following you now…

    visit my blog…!!!

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    kisses!!!

    January 4, 2012 at 2:58 pm
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