Having a camera does not automatically make you a photographer. Every photographer started out as an amateur. Some photographers also started before the digital photography era. So you know those photographers had to give extra effort to learn from the start after digital era.

Some photographers took online classes, while there were others who just went old school and started clicking and learned from experience. Now you want to become a professional photographer then this article will help you a lot.

The path to becoming a professional photographer- Get the right education. There are photography programs that are designed to match each student’s genre of photography. They test you on your photography skill and commitment. There are photography programs starting from certificate to master’s level. There are many types of photography that people choose from and focus on that one type of photography. These are –

1. Portrait photography
2. Commercial photography
3. Scientific and industrial photography
4. Aerial photography
5. Fine art photography

Take on internships: Internships provide students an opportunity to engage on different photography projects and getting field experience. This will prepare one to learn what he will have to face once he becomes a professional photographer.

Then you should take exams for certificates. People know your worth once they see the certificates and are willing to work with you. There are numerous certificates available for photographers’ like-

1. Certified professional photographer
2. Certified forensic photographer
3. Registered biological photographer

Try to land entry level jobs. Most schools have a career center that assist with job interview tips and help students write effective resumes and cover letters. If you do these then you should have enough field experience and should have learned enough about photography and camera and equipment.

Get comfortable with one specific camera- A camera is as good as its photographer. So your photos depend on how well you know your camera. Dig into features like ISO adjustment, time lapse, double exposure etc. Know your camera. Know the limits of your gear. Test your lens by taking photos of a piece of newspaper or other objects. Most lenses have a sweet spot where it is sharper than the rest of the lens.

Master the fundamentals- Auto mode isn’t bad at all but you will never be a great photographer by using auto mode. You have to master the fundamentals that allow you to call your own shots. I am talking about learning the 3 essentials to exposure: aperture, ISO, shutter speed.

Each settings effect the photo, its light and its focus. Also learn the basics of focus techniques and composition. Learning these will allow you to start taking photos where you have creative control over the environment.

Learn what makes a photo amazing- The secret to taking amazing photos is controlling light. The word photography actually comes from Greek roots that describe to write with light. You need to learn to control light if you want to create amazing photos.

Sometimes you have good luck and the subject is already in amazing light. But when you need to shoot for a client you will not get the perfect conditions. So you will have to learn how light works. To master light you need to experience.

How to shoot in any lighting scenario. Learn how to shoot with the sun in different positions. Learn how to manipulate light with flash. Learn how to properly use reflectors. These things are important if you are intending to go professional. You can take a few amazing online photography classes and with the right equipment you can just make your own light and won’t have to wait for perfect lighting.

Perfection with post processing- Photo editing can be considered as art. But operating a camera and operating Photoshop are two different things. Learn how to adjust you pictures after you click them. Photoshop and Lightroom are two of the most popular photo editing software in the market.

There are many tutorials on learning these software. Besides you can also hire professional photo retouching companies to retouch your clicked photos for you at a cheap price. These photo retouching companies are really amazing at their job and this is very time efficient.

Develop a portfolio and expand your audience- A photographer should always have a portfolio. Whether he is thinking of going professional or not a photographer should have a place where he can show his work. This helps him grow an audience. A following that support and critic his work.

These followers eventually become his customers in future. So create a portfolio, grow an audience, listen to the audience feedback and try to improve accordingly. Be patient your audience will not grow just in a day. You need to put effort and slowly but surely people will start following you.

Developing a business strategy- As a professional photographer you need to have some business skills too. You need a website for clients to see your work and hire you. You will also need to have good people handling skills. You will need to talk people into hiring you or else they will eventually go to other photographers. Show your customers your worth so they hire you every time.

Give special discounts on special months so that more people hire you and you make more money that month. Learn to advertise or market your business. People will not just come to your website you must get your website to them. If you follow these then you should be ready to become a professional photographer.

Author's Bio: 

Md Rasel is a professional blogger.