Six Realities That You’ll Need to Embrace as a Professional Photographer


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Everyone dreams of being a professional photographer at one point in their life or another, but that usually just consists of a myriad of visions of them rolling in money and shooting gigs. Unfortunately, being a photographer requires much more than just that these days.

Are you ready for them?

You’re Probably Not Going to Be Rich

A very small percentage of photographers in the world make six figure salaries on a yearly basis and even less make more than that. Like most professions, you’re most likely not going to get rich off of it, and even if you acquire lots of money you’re going to have to pay a lot of it in taxes on a quarterly basis in addition to a yearly basis.

The only way that you can probably become rich will have to do with lots of networking, back image sales, licensing, and more. But that type of work takes an entire team and can’t be done alone.

You Will Spend Most of Your Time Not Behind the Camera

While photographers try to spend more time behind their cameras, the unfortunate truth of the business is that you really won’t be behind the camera most of the time. Instead, you’ll be working and talking with people in order to generate more revenue. After this, you’ll also be working on editing your images, marketing yourself to ensure that you can continue to get more business, reading business emails and messages to bring in more revenue and figuring out what gigs you want to take.

So instead of just being a photographer, you’ll also be a salesperson, marketing manager, accountant, photo editor, social media content developer, and much more. Indeed, you’ll be wearing a lot of hats.

Your Costs are Going to Rise

As a professional photographer, you’ll have lots and lots of new costs to add into the budget. For example, you’ll need an office, to pay the specific bills for the office, office supplies, technology for the office, sales taxes, insurance, personal insurance, renters insurance, etc. But you’ll also start to travel more, and the travel cost will continue to add up on top of things like website fees, copyright fees, and the list goes on and on. It’s almost like nurturing and providing for a whole new adult person or persons.

You’ll Need to Do a Lot of Networking

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One of the best skills that a photographer can have is learning to network. Indeed, you’ll have to hang out with a whole bunch of people to continue to get new work. If you’re a wedding photographer, it would be a smart idea to get on the good side of venues, caterers, DJs, wedding planners, etc. If you’re a photojournalist, you’ll need to hang out with editors at publications.

If fact, you’ll need to do this pretty often.

You’re Going to Need to Develop the Business Side of Your Brain

Most photographers are either creative or technical in varying degrees. But what many schools won’t teach you is that if you have great business savvy, you can sell almost anything to anyone. With that said, you need to find ways to stay motivated and on top of pulling in streams of revenue.

You’ll Probably Need to be On Instagram

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While many photographers absolutely hate Instagram, it is arguably the best place to develop a following of your work and spread the message about what you’re capable of. In fact, some photographers make their entire living off of just Instagram. You can gain lots of new business, followers, and even larger recognition by using the social community for everything that it allows.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.