Sunday, December 21, 2008

Business: Getting Established as a Professional Photographer

How do you get started in this business? For many, the opportunity does not just knock on your door; you must go find it. In my case I was very fortunate to have a dance studio photography opportunity get me established as a money-making photographer. That branched out into school work, weddings and seniors. But I also built other connections that have led to more work.

The best way to get started is to become recognized in your community as a person of action, and a person of heart. By this I mean that you are constantly participating in activities and events that help someone, and not asking to get anything or much in return. By giving of your talents, whether as photographer, teacher or worker, you show the community that you exist, you care, and you are in it for more than the money.

As an example, I have been active in Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) for many years. I volunteered to make a calendar for the local chapter for two years, and for several years I donated event portraiture for their annual winter Gala. I also donate a free session for their charity auction (and just about any other fund-raiser that asks). I cannot tell you the amount of spin-off business I have received from this. It started with me wanting to help the foundation raise money, which worked...then it had benefits for my business as people saw my work and my dedication to community service, and hired me.

So my suggestion is to identify several areas where you can contribute to your community and use them as anchors to build relationships, awareness and a portfolio of images. You will help others and help yourself as well.

For some ideas on how to get involved in the community and grow, see my article on 20 Ways to Grow as a Professional Photographer on my business blog.

This winter, I'm also branching out into Church program photography, retirement home holiday portraits, portraits for military families, and portraits for local firefighters. I'm also leading a fund raiser for the local food bank that doesn't have anything to do with photography, but it will be good publicity and it takes advantage of the quiet winter months. This will keep me busy and will provide needed financial support to support those that have trouble keeping food on the table.

So what are your plans for the next 3 months?

No comments:

Post a Comment