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How To Become a Photographer: Find Gigs, Build Photography Skills, and more!

How to Become a Photographer: Find paid gigs, Build Photography Skills + Other Requirements

If you're starting in photography, the world of professional gigs can be both exciting and intimidating. Where do you begin?

Well, it begins by building your portfolio--as well as your skillset. As a photographer looking to get more clients and shoot more often, here's what you should know:

Build Your Portfolio

If you're looking to find more paid gigs, your portfolio is critical. As a photographer--especially an amateur--you must build your collection of images, whether on the web or in physical print form. Having both will significantly increase your odds at landing not only free gigs but paid ones as well.

And it all begins with your portfolio. A great way to start is by creating a website and blog where you can upload your images--and even ask for client feedback. Sites like Project Casting are free sites that allow you to create a personal online portfolio easily. Plus, Project Casting offers easy-to-find paid gigs from clients, which is a great way to see your work in action.

If you're looking for more traditional portfolio building, look into taking some courses online or even at your local community college. Learning how to shoot and edit the right way has never been easier in today's technological age. And if budget is an issue, you can always take advantage of online deals and discounts to create your portfolio--be sure to check it regularly for broken links.

Build Your Skillset

As a photographer looking to pick up paid gigs, the more skills you have, the better off you'll be, especially regarding diversity. From photographing people and landscapes to shooting weddings and events, having a diverse skill set will only help you in the long run.

And it all begins with investing in your education. The more time you dedicate to honing your craft--via online courses or hands-on training--the better chance you'll have at landing that next paid gig.

That being said, here are a few other skills you should have under your belt before taking on or pitching a paid gig.

  • Learn How to Edit Photos: A big misconception among amateur shooters is that once the shutter clicks, their work is done. Unfortunately, that couldn't be further from the truth. This is why it's essential to hone your post-production skills, whether editing through Photoshop or purchasing an Adobe subscription.
  • Master Your Camera: Another crucial skill you should have before seeking out gigs is knowing how to use your camera. From understanding aperture and shutter speed to manual shooting modes, mastering your camera will allow you more control over the images you create--especially when it comes to composition.
  • Build a Portfolio That Stands Out: While having an online portfolio is one thing, it's essential to make yours stand out from the crowd--which can be done through various ways, including unique layouts and graphics. Don't forget about your website landing page either, as many potential clients will quickly judge a book by its cover.

Becoming a photographer is easier said than done--which is why it's essential to invest in your craft early on. Whether through online courses or local classes, having a portfolio and skillset will open up your chances of landing more paid gigs and improving your odds of success. And once you do land a paid gig, make sure to do everything in your power to land the next one and the one after that.