How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (2022)

In Instagram people ask me about how to become a professional photographer? Photographers, who managed to turn their hobby into moneymaking business typically use advanced methods and technologies to take pictures and deliver quality prints or digital shots.

14 Steps to Become a Professional Photographer:

Nowadays, there are a lot of amateurs learning photography without school and promoting their services on their own. Let’s see the most effective ways to become a professional photographer in any genre.

1. Get Ready by Answering the Questions

Becoming a freelance photographer or a full-time specialist is a great decision if you are sure that you'll be able to combine your passion with the business aspect of this occupation. Anyone, who is going to master a new profession should answer the questions, which will help understand if he/she possess all important qualities to achieve success.

  • What inspires me?
  • Am I ready to start and develop on my own?
  • Can I work alone and offer professional services?
  • Which photo genre interests me most of all?
  • What niches in my region I can fulfill?
  • How can I master photography and photo editing skills?
  • What will be the price of my services?

2. Get the Necessary Education

You are really lucky, as professional photography belongs to those fields, which don’t require structured education and degrees. You can study at home, develop your skills and practice as much as you wish without attending schools or colleges. Still, if you want to know how to become a professional photographer and create your own business, this will be quite helpful.

Best Photography Courses

You may choose any course, starting with Certificate programs and ending with an Associate Degree in Photography. The Certificate Photography programs last several months. The students learn the fundamentals of the profession and receive a photography license

3. Purchase Proper Equipment

It is very important to choose the gear in accordance with the photo genre, you are engaged in, be it wedding photography gear, landscape shooting, etc.

Best Amateur Camera Kit for the First Start

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (1)

There are many different styles and they typically require different lenses, flashes, etc. The best and quickest way to decide on the gear is to consult the professionals.

  • Check out the best cameras for an amateur photographer.

4. Learn How to Set Your Equipment

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (2)

The truth is that professional photographers know how to shot in the Manual mode and they don’t use the Auto settings at all. There are 3 key parameters you must know: ISO, Aperture, Shutter speed.

Each of them greatly affects the quality of your picture. I have to admit that it took me a long time when I was a beginner shooter to understand how everything works. So, be very persistent if you really want to know how to become a professional photographer. In addition, you should learn how to regulate focus and set composition, which will allow you to realize your creative ideas.

  • Read more about Camera Settings for Portraits.

5. Identify the Niche: Why It Is So Important?

There are certainly different niches you may choose from: wedding portraits, newborn photography, travel, real estate, interior photography, portrait, jewelry photography, wildlife, and many others. After you define your specialization, the clients will have a clearer understanding of what to expect and how they can get in touch with you.

(Video) How to Get a Photography Mentorship that Will Help You Reach the Next Level feat. Marc Silber

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (3)

Even if you have decided to become a portrait photographer, for example, you’ll probably have other related orders and you shouldn’t refuse. In such a way, you can earn more money and enrich your portfolio with diverse photos.

It is a natural thing to experiment with different styles at the beginning of your career. Actually, it takes time to understand what genre you like most. Still, don’t try to cover several niches at once. It will be quite difficult and your business may not look really professional. Your goal is to become a truly skillful photographer. If you plan to make a living with shooting, it is advisable to find your personal niche.

6. Find Your Focus Area

But don’t try to imitate somebody, even the best photographers. You have to develop your unique style. Is there anything special you like to photograph – nature, people, property, jewelry? Follow your dreams and trust your passion.

These are your personal powerful tools, which will help to grow as a photographer. Sometimes, specific gear, models, lighting setup, and image editing programs help to define the photo style. Monitor the work of other local shooters. Keep reading and learning to be aware of modern trends.

  • Check out useful 20 Photography Cheat Sheets.

7. Master Image Editing

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (4) How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (5)

Order High End Retouching $10 per photo

Some photographers say that they treat image editing as a separate art, which requires special knowledge. You have probably noticed that some terms are identical in a camera and Photoshop.

Still, taking pictures and editing them are two different things. But if you want to learn how to become a great photographer, you have to master both of them.

The most well-known and effective programs to enhance photos are Photoshop and Lightroom. So, you have to learn how to use them, as they feature lots of necessary tools.

8. Find Photography Locations Near You

Every picture has a composition and a setting. Even if the photo session is spontaneous, the place for the shooting is usually examined in advance. In case it is a park or a riverfront, it is much easier to conduct a photo session than to find a studio or the location, where the license or permission is needed.

Google Earth/Google Maps

(Video) Guidelines to Become a Photographer - Terry Shaddock

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (6)

If you do not want to go all over your city or even country to find a great place, just use online maps. You’re most likely familiar with Google Maps, which can also be used to determine the location. Google Earth, in turn, will help you find amazing views.

Instagram Location Tags

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (7)

The question of how to become a professional photographer is not so difficult in some cases. Using Instagram can be a great help, as it will let you learn the newest information about the locations you may choose.

You will see many photos, so you can understand what weather you should expect, and what the other conditions in this place are. In addition, you can detect some disadvantages, like a construction or some other nuances that can hinder the shooting.

9. Photography Internship with a Professional Photographer

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (8)

If you a beginner and want to learn how to become a professional photographer, watch and communicate with other experienced photographers, and masters your skills. Do not be afraid to get feedback about your work, even if it is a critical one. Eventually, all of this will contribute to your development and professionalism.

10. Try Workshops

Take some online photography classes, visit different workshops or find your own mentor. This all will enable you to bring your career to a higher level. Anyway, it is never too late to learn, so keep improving your skills, growing and gaining experience. You also have an opportunity to join the Photography Associations for Free where you would learn necessary and interesting information and gain experience.

11. Create Your Online Portfolio Website

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (9)

Creating your own portfolio website means that you set up a connection between you and your clients. Do you know who has all this? WordPress. It comes with beautiful photography themes and powerful plugins that don't require coding skills. Also, Modula gallery plugin provides all the whistles and bells you’d expect from a gallery plugin - mix images and videos, add filters, captions, social icons, hover effects, password-protection, watermark, image loading effects and so much more.

12. Tell People About What You Do to Grow Your Network

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (10)


Tell people about your new business! Smart photography marketing is the next step of your becoming a professional photographer.

Begin with your family and close people. Do not also forget about the social media, especially the above-mentioned Instagram, which is becoming now a great platform to start your business. Remember to leave the link to your portfolio website.

By the way, you can even take part as a photographer in those events, so that people will learn you better. Look for the ways to enhance the skills needed to be a photographer, which will make you more confident.

(Video) 3 Things That Will Help You GET MORE Photography Clients Fast

13. Find Feedback

It is very important not to worry and panic in case you get negative comments. The question of how to become a great photographer implies that you have to make every effort to find your oversights and improve them. It can be difficult for you, but it is crucial for developing. Just do not forget your goal and create a list of things, which you must improve.

14. Practice Even When You Don’t Have Clients

Do it as much as possible. The more you practice, the more chances you have to become a professional. Besides, remember that you have to upgrade your portfolio and accounts on social media constantly. This will make you more skillful, so many tasks will become automatic for you.

Find a location and take the photos every day! You can make this process much more interesting, setting up a project, for example. You can take every day a photo for the whole year and create a ‘365’ project.

In addition, you can arrange free photo sessions and use them to check new ideas or new poses.

Photography Direction: Tips

When you reach a certain skill level, you need to define what you want to photograph.

How to Become a Good Photographer in Portraiture?

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (11)

Portrait Photography Guides

  • 50 Portrait Photography Tips
  • Portrait Photo Ideas
  • Portrait Photo Poses
  • Family Portrait Photography

To become a portrait photographer, primarily you need to learn everything about lighting and different posing techniques. No matter what kind of portrait you take, whether it concerns family, fashion or sport, this will enable you to understand how to take the photo perfect like an expert. You have to master the fundamentals of this genre. Experiment and practice with posing to understand the best angles and learn lighting techniques to create the ideal photo.

How to Become a Professional Photographer in Weddings?

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (12)

Begin as an assistant of a professional shooter. Even if you’re a great photographer, you may not even realize how a wedding photo session occurs! It is very important to know every detail, such as what things you have to capture, when shoot the newlyweds, how to deal with guests, and how this day runs in general.

You will develop your own style and manner of organizing the shootings when you become more experienced.

Wedding Photography Guides

  • Wedding Photography Tips
  • Wedding Photo Styles
  • Wedding Photography Ideas

First of all, you will have an opportunity to get a few photos for your portfolio without the pressure of the wedding. In addition, you can meet a lot of new photographer friends, and learn many useful things from the people, who hold the workshop. But there are also disadvantages, and the main is that it will not represent a real wedding day.

You will also have much more time for shooting than at the real wedding. Thus, you should realize that it’s a great way to get some new photos for your portfolio, but it will not show you how the real wedding day runs.

How to Become a Professional Photographer in Travelling?

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (13)

Travel Photography Guides

(Video) This feature WILL help you as a photographer!

  • Travel Photography Tips for Your Adventures
  • Choose the Best Travel Camera
  • Best Photography Workshops to Visit
  • Best Camera Backpack

If you are interested in how to become a travel photographer, you probably understand that it deals with capturing places in all the glory. Of course, you are going to travel a lot and visit many locations, whether it is some places of interest, buildings, landscapes, and so on.

Travel photography is in most cases connected with the tourism industry, as it delivers pictures for advertisings, magazines, brochures, and for the social media. Here you can learn some advice on how to develop the travel photography business:

  • It is not going to be easy, so get involved in such a sphere only if you are passionate about it
  • Get ready to invest a lot of efforts, time and money to learn everything about the trade
  • Create your personal website
  • Promote your services with the help of social media
  • Try to set up your travel photography blog

How to Become a Professional Photographer in Real Estate?

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (14)

Real Estate Photography Guides

  • Real Estate Photography Tips for Beginners
  • How to Get into Real Estate Photography
  • Real Estate Photography Classes Reviews
  • Real Estate Photography Equipment
  • Real Estate Photography Contract

The question of how to become a real estate photographer is not so easy to answer. It requires both your photography skills and marketing aptitudes to offer your services to the real estate agents. Listing brokers claim that the collection of property photos that includes every part of the building, represent full information about the house to the customers.

So, first, develop your skills of using the different lenses for such type of photography and pay attention to your communication skills to succeed in promoting your services. You have a great chance to participate in The Real Estate Photographers of America and International Trade Association and find an agent that needs your services.

How to Become a Freelance Photographer?

How to Become a Photographer – Detailed Instructions (15)

Freelance Photography Guides

  • Freelance Photography Tips
  • How to Become a Freelance Photographer

Let’s face the fact that freelance beginning photographers will most likely to get small salaries. It often happens that at the start of the career the freelancers work for free just because they have to gain more experience and add a few wonderful photos to their collection. You should decide when you’re ready to take money for your work.

Do you know how to become a better photographer? For example, you may begin working with small websites and social media accounts. You can also offer your service to some hostel or a lodge. Don’t expect to get a great amount of money, as it will rather give you the necessary experience and skills to start dealing with something more serious. Remember that punctuality is very important and affect the first impression you make on clients. So, use a special plugin to simply schedule appointments not to forget something important.


How do photographers get the most detail? ›

Use a Wide-Angle Lens – Lenses with a shorter focal length generally have greater depth of field. This means sharper photographs, because there is more of the image in focus. If you use a telephoto lens at the same aperture, you would have less of the image in focus (less depth of field).

What are 3 skills you need to be a photographer? ›

Key skills for photographers
  • Creativity.
  • Technical photography skills.
  • Patience and concentration.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Strong networking skills.
  • Team working skills.

What are 7 things you should keep in mind when you are taking a photograph? ›

But the trick is being able to repeat that awesomeness… Time and time again. That's what great photographers can do.
This is where to start.
  • Know Your Camera. ...
  • Understand Exposure. ...
  • Master Light. ...
  • Explore Depth of Field. ...
  • Get to Know Perspective. ...
  • Conquer Composition. ...
  • Perfect Your Post-Processing.
17 Mar 2020

What makes a successful photographer? ›

A good photographer is passionate about photography and willing to learn and improve continuously. Acquiring technical skills is just the beginning. A good photographer also needs an artistic vision and storytelling skills. All these take time to develop, but they will become your second nature soon.

What are photography skills? ›

Photography skills refer to the set of skills that you need to capture and produce high-quality photographs. Photography skills include the creative skills you need to capture unique photographs but also the technical skills necessary to operate camera equipment and edit photos after you've taken them.

What's the best way to learn photography? ›

Regardless of what you want to achieve with your photography, here are some sure fire ways to improve your skills without a degree.
  1. Get familiar with your camera. ...
  2. Watch online tutorials. ...
  3. Hit the books (and online portfolios) ...
  4. Practice, practice and practice! ...
  5. Expand your network. ...
  6. Get a mentor or apprenticeship.

What knowledge is needed to be a photographer? ›

Important skills for photographers often include artistic vision, technical knowledge of cameras and an understanding of light and shade.

What skills should I learn for photography? ›

6 skills every photographer should develop
  • Master your camera and shooting in manual. ...
  • Learn to read a histogram. ...
  • Learn to capture light. ...
  • Learn to use composition and design elements in your imagery. ...
  • Learn your editing software. ...
  • Listen to your heart and observe.

What is the role of photographer? ›

A photographer works closely with clients to capture photos of people, places and things through the use of creativity and technical abilities in photographic equipment and photo manipulation software.

What are the 3 most important things in photography? ›

The three variables that matter the most in photography are simple: light, subject, and composition.

What should a beginner photographer know? ›

  • Learn to hold your camera properly.
  • Start shooting in RAW.
  • Understand the exposure triangle.
  • Wide aperture is best for portraits.
  • Narrow aperture is best for landscapes.
  • Learn to use Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes.
  • Don't be afraid to raise the ISO.
  • Make a habit of checking the ISO before you start shooting.
1 Jan 2021

How do you take professional quality pictures? ›

How to take a professional photo
  1. Choose and understand your subject. Every picture tells a story, and the star of that story is the subject of your photo. ...
  2. Use the right camera and photography gear. ...
  3. Adjust your lighting. ...
  4. Focus on framing. ...
  5. Learn to customize your settings. ...
  6. Practice using photo editing software.

How do you take photos with everything in focus? ›

DSLR Tutorial: How To Get Everything In Focus - YouTube

How do I prepare my photos? ›

  1. Pick Out Your Clothes Early. I highly recommend working with your photographer to get suggestions on what to wear for your portraits. ...
  2. Practice Hair & Makeup. ...
  3. Gather Your Props. ...
  4. Eat, Drink, and Rest. ...
  5. Bring The Necessities. ...
  6. Shave The Night Before. ...
  7. Get On The Same Page As Your Photographer. ...
  8. Pre-Plan Locations.
14 Oct 2020

What is the most important thing in photography? ›

1) Emotion

Hands down the most important aspect of any photograph is it's ability to invoke an emotional response. This response is what gets you to look longer at some photos than others, maybe even decide to buy a print and hang that photo on your wall.

What is the most important part of the photographer? ›

Light is the most fundamental element that all photographs need because it illuminates the scene or subject. Whether it be natural or artificial light the quality and direction of light is what's important.

Is photography a talent or skill? ›

Photography is both skill and talent

In other words, what distinguishes the two from each other is the placement of where this so called “ability” resonates from — from practice or from natural disposition. A proficient photographer might have accrued their ability by having a natural eye for composition or light.

What are the 4 things that a good photograph should have? ›

So if your photos aren't great it means you're missing one or more of these four things.
  • An Interesting Subject. First things first, you have to shoot something that you find fascinating, intriguing, beautiful, or otherwise interesting. ...
  • A Good Composition. ...
  • Good Technique (F-Stop, Shutter Speed, ISO) ...
  • Good Light.
30 Dec 2014

What inspires a photographer? ›

As photographers, we can be inspired by many things before clicking the shutter on a scene or subject to capture a moment in time. It could be the light falling on a scene or the look in someone's eyes. It might be the time of day or the time of year. Maybe it's a combination of a lens choice and a situation.

Why are photography skills important? ›

Images can keep the memory of a loved one alive, hold a moment in history for future generations, be a witness to tragedy or joy. They can also change behavior, stimulate understanding and create a sense of urgency that will move people to action. Photography is the universal language that speaks to the heart.

What is a photographer called? ›

What is another word for photographer?
camerapersonamateur photographer
freelance photographerpress photographer
professional photographerphotographers
celebrity photographerpaparazzi
4 more rows

What is called photography? ›

Definition of photography

: the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (such as film or an optical sensor)

Is photography a good career? ›

So, as an overall answer regarding the question “Is Photography a Good Career?” Yes, it is! As long as the earnings of a photographer, in general, are concerned, a photographer in the USA can earn about $30-40k per year.

What is the golden rule of photography? ›

What is the Golden Ratio in Photography? The golden ratio is a ratio of approximately 1.618 to 1. Artists have used this ratio for centuries to create works of art from paintings to architecture.

Do and don'ts in photography? ›

Photography Dos and Don'ts
  • DO take your photos in natural lighting.
  • DON'T take your photos in bright sunlight.
  • DO frame your picture correctly.
  • DON'T use a flash.
  • DO work with what you have available.
  • DO purchase professional lighting if you can afford it.
  • DO use nice backgrounds for your photographs.
12 Feb 2018

What makes a photo beautiful? ›

They capture a personality through just the eyes. They capture (or evoke) emotion. They use leading lines, the Rule of Thirds and other framing techniques to create a compositionally strong image. Beautiful photography has the right timing, the perfect color and many are bursting with creativity.

What is a beginner photographer called? ›

Level 1 – The Blind Amateur

You're very new to photography, unsure of how any of it works, and you're not very good. You spend the majority of your time shooting on Full-Auto mode, and some of the presets, such as 'portrait'.

How do photographers get professional quality? ›

How To Take Professional Photos: A Beginner's Guide
  1. Master the Fundamentals of Composition. Choose a Strong Focal Point. ...
  2. Make Sure You Have Good Lighting. ...
  3. Get Some Lighting Equipment. ...
  4. Learn How to Edit Photos Like a Professional. ...
  5. Learn Your Camera's Settings. ...
  6. Pick Up a Tripod. ...
  7. Upgrade Your Gear. ...
  8. Show Off Your Shots Like a Pro.
25 Feb 2019

What do photographers get for detail shots? ›

Items to have ready for your photographer include his shoes, tie, cuff links, cologne, letters from each other, gifts to/from each other, and any other unique details that will be a part of your wedding day. Make sure there is natural window light available in his getting ready space!

What is the most detailed photo ever? ›

London 320 Gigapixel (2013)

This is the world record photo! With 320 Gigapixels of resolution, it really made its away around the Web, with tens of millions of visitors.

Which quality is best for photography? ›

The highest quality format for photos can be one that is uncompressed or lossless. Going by that logic, you can say lossless RAW or TIFF formats are the best. But there is more to image file formats than this.

How do you act like a professional photographer? ›

How to Act Like a Pro Photographer (Even When You're Not One)
  1. Gather your camera gear arsenal. ...
  2. Shoot during the golden hour. ...
  3. Memorize poses. ...
  4. Create a list of must-have shots. ...
  5. Create an inspiration album before each shoot. ...
  6. Have some go-to props. ...
  7. Keep things moving. ...
  8. Understand what's flattering in a photo.
2 Nov 2016

How do photographers take detailed portraits? ›

Below are a few photography techniques you can use to enhance your shots and turn your good portraits into great portraits:
  1. Diffuse your light source. ...
  2. Use a longer lens. ...
  3. Find a different position. ...
  4. Bring your own lighting. ...
  5. Alter the aperture. ...
  6. Try props. ...
  7. Use gels. ...
  8. Finish with editing and post-processing.
7 Jun 2021

How do I prepare for a professional photo shoot? ›

How to Prepare for a Professional Portrait Photo Shoot
  1. Create an inspiration board. ...
  2. Get the photographer involved with your process and ask for their ideas. ...
  3. Put together a shot list. ...
  4. Make a pre-shoot chore list. ...
  5. Test out your shots and poses.

What are the 3 C of photography? ›

The three variables that matter the most in photography are simple: light, subject, and composition.
  • Light.
  • Subject.
  • Composition. Simplicity. Balance. Breathing Room. Interconnectedness.
19 Nov 2018

What is the most important rule of photography? ›

The most basic of all photography rules, the rule of thirds, is all about dividing your shot into nine equal sections by a set of vertical and horizontal lines. With the imaginary frame in place, you should place the most important element(s) in your shot on one of the lines or where the lines meet.

What is the most difficult thing to photograph? ›

Toughest photography subjects: Wildlife

The most elusive of all subjects, wildlife requires the technique of sports photography, the patience of landscape photography and the wanderlust of travel photography.

What is the clearest photo in the world? ›

At Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in USA,the scientists have captured the world's first 3,200-megapixel images. Yes, 3,200! This achievement was made possible with the help of an image sensor that will later be the core of the world's largest camera.

What's the highest image quality? ›

TIF is lossless (including LZW compression option), which is considered the highest quality format for commercial work. The TIF format is not necessarily any "higher quality" per se (the same RGB image pixels, they are what they are), and most formats other than JPG are lossless too.

What is the most looked at photo? ›

You may not recognize the image by its name, “Bliss,” but you'll know it when you see it. Viewed by over a billion people since it was Windows XP's default desktop image, “Bliss” has long been the subject of speculation as many doubted that such a “perfect” hillside could exist beyond Photoshop.


1. Starting a PHOTOGRAPHY Business (and how I can help YOU) | Weddings, Portraits & Music Photography
(Steve Gerrard)
2. Photography Tutorials With Step-By-Step Instructions!
(Israel Muka Tv)
3. Learning To Love Manual Exposure
(The Photographic Eye)
4. Gig Photography - Tips and Help To Get Work
(Khandie Photography)
5. GET PAID for Photography - 3 TIPS to Help You Get Your FIRST GIG
(Zach Mendez)
6. Make The Forehead Less High #Short #Shorts

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Zonia Mosciski DO

Last Updated: 10/23/2022

Views: 5658

Rating: 4 / 5 (71 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Zonia Mosciski DO

Birthday: 1996-05-16

Address: Suite 228 919 Deana Ford, Lake Meridithberg, NE 60017-4257

Phone: +2613987384138

Job: Chief Retail Officer

Hobby: Tai chi, Dowsing, Poi, Letterboxing, Watching movies, Video gaming, Singing

Introduction: My name is Zonia Mosciski DO, I am a enchanting, joyous, lovely, successful, hilarious, tender, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.