Pixean
Jun 22, 2018

With the number of artistic entrepreneurs rising every day, this is an ever lingering question. Can you actually turn your creative art skill into a career? For example, you have a huge passion for photography, an intense creative art skill. When do you know that you can actually turn it into a full time career? You may have seen a friend of yours leave the day job to start his own photography business. This may seem to be a very cool and tempting option. But can you actually do it then and there? Let’s discuss a few steps to making a career out of your artistic skills.

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1)  Consistency.

You may have a great passion for photography. You may be making some great images too. But I assure you, it is not enough to make a career. For this, you need to work consistently on improving your images. This means you will have to shoot consistently. A common saying goes like ‘The first ten thousand images, a photographer takes are his worst!’ Photography, like every other skill requires a lot of time and consistency to learn. Practise is going to be your best friend all the way through. Before you go out to shoot something, learn about the behaviour of the subject. If it is a landscape that you are going out to shoot, learn about the weather conditions, and the best time to get the shots. Think of the shots you are going to take. This is called pre-visualisation. This will help you in deciding the gear you need to carry. If you carry on with this practise, you will reap the benefits later. All professional photographers make the images in their mind, days or months before the actual event.

2) Social media and communication

Social media will get you work. Once you have decided to start, build a website of your own. Even a Facebook page and an Instagram account will do. Try out stock photography for a start. There are several websites related to stock photography. Upload your images with the correct information on these websites and you may make a considerable amount of money. However, this takes a lot of time and you need to have a huge stock of images. Writing blogs related to photography can attract a lot of visitors to your website. Communicate with event organisers and other photographers for collaboration. They may not be interested in you straightaway, but it will be beneficial over time.  

3) Investment and pricing

Photography is a very expensive creative art form. Even a very basic photography gear is costly. But you do not need to break your bank and start with a huge investment. Start with a beginner dslr camera and kit lens. Get yourself a tripod as well to get those stable shots. Practise with whatever equipment you have. You can shoot amazing photographs with basic level cameras too. The knowledge of photography comes to the fore here. You need to know the limitations of your camera and find different ways to work around them. This will help you acquire unique skills. When you are starting your photography business, make sure you have a reasonable pricing chart. Nobody is going to hire a new photographer by paying out a professional’s charges.

4) Knowledge and quality

Quality goes hand in hand with knowledge, in photography. With a lot of practice, you should be able to have a complete control over the camera settings. You should be comfortable with the following parameters.

i)  Aperture, shutter speed and ISO – These are the three main pillars of photography. Learn the use of each of these parameters. Once you are done with this, you should be able to make quality images in all conditions.

ii) Metering, exposure compensation – Metering is the ability of the camera to judge the amount of light falling on the subject. You need to know how the camera actually meters a particular scene. In case you want to override the camera’s judgement, you can do it by learning the art of exposure compensation.

iii) Post-processing – You might be making great quality images most of the time. However, post-processing is still going to be mandatory. Learn the art of post processing and you can completely change the quality of the image.

5) Client satisfaction and references

You may have just got a deal. You may have a good knowledge of photography. But, the subjects in your images are not the ones the client is interested in. For example, you have been assigned the task of shooting only the woollen garments for an apparel brand. However, you go out there and shoot all types of garments without any special emphasis on the woollen types. Even if you deliver quality, will the client be satisfied? No. So when you are starting off, learn all the requirements of the client. Focus on delivering quality images related to client requirement. At the end of the day, client satisfaction is going to be of topmost priority. It will also help in bringing more business.

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Turning a creative art skill into a career is not easy by any means. But if you are really willing to go for it, it will be worth every bit of effort it requires. When you actually turn your passion to profession, you don’t work at all. If photography and all its tedious nuances are fun for you, you should start. Before you leave your day job, make sure you are actually shooting great images and getting some amount of recognition. Get your images critiqued by a professional photographer.  Start off with your website and all other social media promotions. Once you start getting assignments, focus on delivering the best quality in an affordable pricing range. You might feel let down by the initial remuneration but I promise you, it will get better every time. You need to show your clients what you can actually deliver and they will start paying you more for your services