A friend asked “I am an amateur photographer. What do I need to do to turn my hobby into professional photography?” I feel a bit guilty in this context since I have been telling him that he is really a very talented photographer. So now I have to own up to it. Here are some disorganised suggestions, tips and advice.

A rusty old lock and bolt at the medieval chateau
A rusty old lock and bolt at the medieval chateau

Think about what kind of photography you want to do.

Is it advertising? Fashion? Reportage? Travel? Wildlife? Etc

Then think about who buys that kind of photography.

Then try and make a sale.

For example: If your chosen niche is editorial food and drink photography then look at the magazine that publish that kind of material. You could, for example, make a pitch to one of the publications for something that you have. Say for instance you have a lovely set of mushroom photographs you could pitch a mushroom article to a food journal.

However, one of the first things you need to do is to understand the technical requirements for “professional” photograph. This of course not very well defined and it is changing all the time, and depends on the buyer. (One thing you should seriously consider is not shoot jpeg but instead use raw.)

A very good place to look to start understanding technical requirements are stock photo agencies contributor requirements (stock photography submission guidelines). Here are a few to get you going:

Testing the waters by contributing your images to a stock photography site like Alamy is a good way to start getting the feel for it. But be aware: there is huge competition (and poor prices) in stock photography today, so do not set your expectations high in terms of what you will sell.

One other useful thing to do is to read photo magazines and books. A few “photo business” oriented photography books that can be worth your while:

Business

Photography

Organisation

Hope that helps, as Matt Cutts says.

Do you have more tips and suggestions? Write a comment!

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