I am going to be honest with you; taking your photography hobby to a place where you actually make a good living takes a lot work. But if you do it the right way, you will have a FUN, life-changing and exciting ride! When I made the decision to go Pro, my business grew very quickly. In fact I could hardly keep up! But my success was not because of my talent, camera gear or connections.
When I first started out, these were my odds:
- I had a cheap beginners camera + one lens
- I knew nothing about camera settings, lighting, posing or anything related to photography
- I knew no one who could help me out
- I knew nothing about blogging or branding
- I had no connections in the photography industry
- I knew absolutely nothing about the photography industry
- And as a native Dane, my English was poor—and it still is 🙂
So how the heck did I do it?
My strengths that came in handy
- Passion – It might sound strange, but I don’t believe that talent is enough; I believe that passion is the fuel and I am deeply and madly in love with photography.
- Determination and willingness to learn – I spend hours, days, nights and months practicing.
- Ambition + vision – I knew I wanted to help women in photography (in front of the lens + behind the lens) to believe in themselves.
- A creative mind – In the past I’ve crossed paths with fashion design, interior decoration, styling and art in many form.
- Business know-how – This was due to running my former life coaching business.
Now, let’s focus on YOU!
Do you have what it takes?
What it Takes To Go From Hobbyist To Full-Time Photographer
1. You have PASSION
You LOVE photography so much that it’s ALL you think about (besides your loved ones, of course). Your camera is your baby and the only thing you want for Christmas is a new lens! You wake up, excited about what you do.
2. You are WILLING to do the work
- You are ready to put in the hours.
- You are willing to put a minimum of 10-15 hours a week into learning, creating, and building your business.
- You can build your business while you still keep your day job, which is what I did the first year. Some mornings I would get up before my children, to get a few quiet hours of work done. Other times I would sit up all night to practice photoshop. You are willing to do what it takes, because you know it will change your life.
- You are realistic and understand that nothing comes to you, without you taking ACTION.
3. You LOVE to learn new things
As the owner of a photography business, you need to master a lot more than the camera. You must be willing to learn how to design your blog, run a Facebook page, book yourself solid, connect with clients and so much more.
Personally what I love the most about photography is that there is always something new to learn. I never get stuck in “I-know-it-all-and-now-I-am-bored” land.”
If you want to be a success, you’ll want to love learning more than just how to take photos—it’s an entire business and lifestyle to embrace and enjoy.
4. You know your strengths and understand how to use them
One of the keys to success in the photography industry is to choose a niche, a passion that you combine with photography.
If you love dogs, for example, and know everything about them, you might want to consider specializing in dog portraits. If you are the master of cake baking and love decorating cakes, you might want to consider specializing in photographing pastry. If you love nature, sports, weddings, beaches, traveling…you get the idea. The possibilities are endless!
Your niche might shift during your growth as a photographer—mine certainly did many times. I started with boudoir photography and then moved into fashion and glamour-inspired portraiture. Now my niche has shifting again to lifestyle images.
My main niche is to inspire and motivate women around the world to believe in themselves, whether they are my clients, my students or my readers. No matter what I do, that will always be my core niche!
Choosing a niche will not make it difficult to get clients; rather your focus will attract clients to you. More importantly, it will help set you apart from the competition.
5. Build relationships with clients AND like-minded photographers
When I first started out, I didn’t know any other photographers. So I started networking on flickr and by being very active—liking, commenting and sharing tips—I gained a whole new group of friends. With their support and the inspiration I felt from these relationships, I started to grow really fast. Soon after that I created my blog and then later my Facebook page.
If you truly want to grow your business, take your time to to connect with people. Show your support, write comments, cheer, be positive and say “THANK YOU” when people care about you and take their time to like your work. Be nice and give people a reason to care.
How you treat people will determine how well your business will do.
6. Walk through your FEARS
The truth is: you can never actually be completely fear-free. So that’s not really the goal here. The true goal is to ACT, despite the fear you are feeling.
Ninety-percent of the time, fear is just thoughts running through your mind, and has nothing to do with reality.
The best thing you can do, in order to propel forward, is to IGNORE your fearful thoughts and start putting one leg in front of the other. As NIKE so clearly puts it: Just Do It!
When you act despite your fears, the fears will slowly die and leave you alone.
New fears will pop up as you move forward, but with time, you become much better at dealing with them.
Never let your fears stop you from creating the life you truly want for yourself!
YOU deserve the best of the best. Now go for it, girl!
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