It is estimated that there are about 25,000   professional photographers  in  France. In other words, the competition is tough and in this business places are expensive... But you can stand out! If becoming a professional photographer is your  goal,we'll help you achieve it.

The steps to follow before becoming a photographer

Youare passionate,you have the stuff of a business leader,you feel ready to become a professional photographer... Don't throw yourself too quickly into the wolf's mouth! Let's look together at the last elements to validate before creating your business.

Step n°1 | To become a photographer: Master the photo technique

There is no secret, to be a good photographer,you must certainly have an  artistic eye, but you must nevertheless neglect the  technique. To be one of themarketplayers, you will need to know how to sell your shots. And for that,  they must be of  quality. Here are some  technical elements that you will need to master:

  • Have a very good use of the manual mode of your camera: shutter speed, iso, aperture ouverture, white balance, etc.
  • Dealing with natural constraints: brightness, backlight, contrast, etc.
  • Master the sharpness of images: focus, focus peaking/steaking,etc.
  • Know the basics of the composition of a photo: rule of thirds, play with symmetry, use the escape lines to guide the eye, know how to handle diving and  counterdiving, 
  • Master a retouching software dedicated to post-production: Photoshop, Premiere, Lightroom, etc.

become a professional photographer

Note thatthe  profession of photographer is a profession that is constantly evolving. Over time, you will adapt your own style to the technique acquired from session to session. You will evolve and refine your  skills  in image  processing,  frames, visual propositions... In a few words, you will let go!

Step n°2 | To become a photographer: Have photo equipment

To become a photographer,you must necessarily be equipped with  equipment adapted  to your activity. Note that this may takeup somespace. So, before creating your business, be sure to equip yourself to measure your needs  (photo studio or office).

Here is an exhaustive list of the tools you will need (these elements may vary from one photographer activity to another):

  • A reflex camera, anyway!
  • Optics,
  • A powerful computer to process your images,
  • Licensed image processing software,
  • A calibration probe,
  • Artificial lights (flash, projector or studio lighting kit),
  • Memory cards (3 to 4 cards of 64GB each),
  • Ideally two spare batteries (especially if you want to move towards video shooting),
  • An external hard drive that can accommodate all your sessions (lasting at least 6 months),
  • A tripod,
  • All the accessories necessary for your activity as a photographer: studio backgrounds, polarizing filter, portable power station, etc.

Step n°3 | To become a photographer: Master post-production

Have you bought image processing software?  Perfect! Now you have to know how to use it. Don't worry, here too you will evolve over time. There is no point in training you for days and days on your software. The main thing is to know the  basics  and be comfortable with the basic settings. 

 

Then, and according to your needs, do not hesitate to consult tutorials available for free  on the web to optimizeyour performance in terms ofimage processing. YouTube  will allow you to learn more about the  post-production technique, while  Pinterest  or  Instagram  will give you  inspiration for your future   projects. The web is a gold mine,teacher!

Step n°4 | To become a photographer: Practice, practice and practice again

Nothing like the practice to evolve in the profession of photographer. Feed on what surrounds you, call on those around you to pose in frontof the objective, capture outdoor shots, your pet, everything that inspires you and play with light, with iso, shutter speed... In a few words, get your hands on your  camera and take the opportunity to  master your image processing software.

devenir photographe - post-production

To go further and to fill your future portfolio,you can, and we advise you, offer sessions. Thus, in exchange for your photos, the models give you the right to use these clichés to communicate.

Step n°5 | To become a photographer: Create a portfolio

Now that you have explored all (or almost) the technical possibilities of your camera and have mastered the workings of your favorite image processingsoftware, it is time  to select the shots that best reflect your  activity,your universe,  your  style and your  eye in a specific area.

 

The creation of a portfolio can therefore be done very well before launching your activity  as   a professional phographer. This will allow you to support your skills with your potential customers by showing what you can do. Needless to say, the images that should be in this portfolio are the best! So keep the essentialand direct your choice towards photos that will illustrate the field you decide to target (wedding photos, portrait photos, fashion photos, etc.)

Step n°6 | To become a photographer: Choose your specialty

You probably already have a sensitivity  in a particular area. This should not prevent you from continuing your activity in very different universes. See it as an opportunity to stand out and learn more and more with each session.

devenir photographe - mariage

By identifyingyour  specialty,you make the choice to orient your digital strategy  by adopting an editorial line consistent with your work, by displaying shots related to your universe. This is about defining  your difference! 

Step n°7 | To become a photographer: Define your target

Once you havedentified your specialty, you can now set the profile of your target. As you will have understood, the goal is not to sell just anything to just anyone. The important thing is to sell something important to the right people.

 

So be relevant and focus your efforts on the target customers, that's where your business plan lies. This will allow you to identify the right tone, the right lexical field, an adapted editorial line and offers consistent with their expectations.

 

Likeany company, we invite you to create your  persona. Thus, you will have to be able to know certain data about him:

  • Demographics: age, family status, gender, etc.
  • Geographical data: city/country of residence,sector of professional activity.
  • The professional situation (if you decide to touch a company): function, status, training, socio-professional category, typical day, tools used, responsibilities
  • Interests and sources ofinformation: hobbies, artistic sensitivity (painter, illustrator, photographer, favorite sculptor?), readings, activities on social networks, etc.

All this information will allow you to define the ideal profile of your target and thus find the right levers to touch him.

Now, let's get started!

Let's summarize: you have completed your training that reports on photography courses, mastery of your camera or the purchase of equipment adapted to your activity. You have also selectedthe photos that will illustrate your portfolio and identified your specialty and the profile of your target. Right now... Make way for  branding! 

Step n°8 | To be a professional photographer: Find a business name

One thing at a time... And before you start thinking about your  logo,we invite you to prepare a document that will give rise to your  company's philosophy,what youcan bring different to your customers, the benefits  of working with you and how you  defineyour universe. Don't forget that by becoming a professional photographer,  the brand: it's you!  So you need to reflect who you are (dynamic, soft, solar, condensed, etc.).

devenir photographe - nom commercial

When choosing a business name for your business, you need to think about everything that will come out of it:

  • Business card,
  • Commercial brochures, portfolio, etc.
  • Your name on social networks,
  • The domain name of your future website,

Reason enough to be strategic. This name must reflect your philosophy and your corporate culture. It should, ideally,  be retained  by your customers, easy to read,  easy to understand and especially that you are happy with  this name.

Step n°9 | To be a professional photographer: Create avibrant identity

To become a photographer,you will then have to think about your visual identity  (charter, logo, webdesign, etc.). We are talking here about your brand image,so it must reflect a professionalimage, make potential customers  want  to learn more about you and work with you.

 

We invite you to follow a methodical process starting by identifying 3 words/adjectives/expressions  that reflect your  work and your  universe. For example: sobriety - authenticity - nature / retro - simplicity - emotion, or life - solar - fullness.

 

You will then associate one, or several, color  according to the words you have identified. This step may be done very  logically by the strength of your intuition. However, you can also let yourself be guided by a simple guide to the meaning  of colors:

  • The color blue: calm, change, confidence.
  • The color red: life, love, passion, glamour, danger.
  • The color yellow: joy, youth, prudence, deception.
  • The color green: nature, growth, hope, jealousy.
  • The color pink: femininity, softness, romanticism, naivety.
  • The color orange: creativity, exchange, vitality.
  • The color purple: luxury, mystery,arrogance.
  • The white color: purity, innocence, elegance, power.
  • The color black: eternal, elegance, pain.

devenir photographe - définir identité visuelle

Do not hesitate to be inspired by the logos,the  charter  and, more generally, thevisualidentity  of your  competitors on the web. Create a folder where you will integrate the logos that touch you or reflect your  sensitivity.

Step n°10 | To be a professional photographer: Launch a showcase site

It's time to move on to the creation of your web media,likeyour  website. Do not panic, if you are not an IT professional, many themes are available to help you. Thus, you will only have to update the color or colors of your graphic charter as well as integrate your logo, photos and a description telling your story. Thus, we invite you to plan the creation of specific pages,  such as:

  • A page dedicated to the blog part: this will allow you to write articles to optimizeyour SEO on theweb. Now that you know your target, you can write texts that meet their expectations. The goal is that, thanks to these articles, your potential customers find you on the internet.
  • A page dedicated to yourphoto gallery: this page will show your audience the different projects for which you have collaborated, the images that reflect your universe, your sensitivity.
  • A contact page: this page must include information that allowsyour future customers to contact you(telephone number, e-mail address, physical address in case you have an office or a photo studio).
  • A presentation page: this page will tell your story, your training, your studies, the school in which you studied photography, the projects that have marked your career, your universe, how you perceive photography... In a few words, what makes your difference in your job as a photographer!
  • A page dedicated to your e-shop: if, and only if, you decide to offer reproductions, decorative objects (...) in connection with your work. This is a good opportunity to complete your end of the month!
  • A page dedicated to your news: you organize exhibitions, workshops, photography courses, you participate in fairs or cultural and artistic events? This is a good opportunity to get people talking about you. Do not hesitate to update this information to provokethe meeting with your futurecustomers.

Step n°11 | To be a professional photographer: Mark your presence on social networks

This is one of the most important levers when you start working as a professional photographer. Today,  75.9% of French people use social  networks. This is  several million reasons  that  justify your presence on Instagram,  Linkedin,Facebook orPinterest. Depending on your target, you will implement your brand on the  networksadapted  to reach it.

devenir photographe - réseaux sociaux

Here are some tips to mark your presence on the networks:

  • Complete your profile 100%: write as much information as possible to immerse the user in the heart of your universe (bio, profile description, route, link to your website, etc.)
  • Choose your lines of communication: this will allow you to know where to go and how. The best is to think about the expectations of your target. What exactly is she waiting for, what does she want to see, what does she need to read as information?
  • Write a monthly editorial schedule: it may seem long but it is a way to keep a constant rhythm in your speeches. You also avoid oversights and demonstrate professionalism by keeping in touch with your audience by sharing your work.
  • Publish regularly: this will allow you to maintain the link with yourcommunity, your prospects and customers. Publish an average of 3 to 4 posts/week and stories to keep in touch with your audience.
  • Inject a budget for advertising: this will allow you to reach users who do not know you yet. Highlight your posts,page or profile to try to grow your audience over time. Advertising is an excellent lever for visibility and notoriety.

Step n°12 | To be a professional photographer: Define your legal statut

Freelance/freelance photographer, author photographer... What's the difference? For example you can choose: 

  • The status of artisan photographer: you therefore take the side of being freelance, or independent, and will therefore be subject to the URSSAF. You will therefore be able to choose your legal form among which we find the status of auto-entrepreneur, or micro-entrepreneur, of EURL, EIRL, etc. We invite you to take advice from an accountant to help you create your business. This statut is oriented towards photographers who practice social photography, such as photos of baptism, birth, marriage, pregnancy, etc.
  • The status of photographer author: this status is dedicated to professionals who wish to sell photographs or transfer of image rights.

All that remains is to find customers!

We're here... It's time to dive into the big bath by finding your first customers. For this, we advise you to get closer to companies that might be interested in your work. For example, if you decide to move towards the profession of photographer in site monitoring we invite you to contact groups such as Bouygues construction or directly with the companies that carry out construction sites.

Do not hesitate to ask for thebrands in your region. They may still need  photos to feed their social networks, to display POS in store, to communicate in small local magazines.

Then, there is nothing like playing your water to conclude your first contracts. Ask your  entourage,your network of professional photographers,  your  teachers, all your contacts likelyto bring you valuable advice and information on potential customers. 

Finally, go for it! Knock on the door of advertisingagencies, event or  communication agencies.  You will certainly be able to interveneir for them in the futurethen... get noticed.

Let's go, let the adventure begin!