Pun intended. All joking aside, though, the journey to becoming a full-time professional starts with being recognized as a legitimate, talented photographer. But, how do you get people to notice your work? Well, while there is no guaranteed recipe for success, there are definitely certain steps you should be taking if you're serious about turning your photography into a career.
Aside from having a strong online presence which is a given. Here are some ways you can increase your visibility, and get noticed!
Position yourself as a local artist.
Networking is huge. It will be extraordinarily beneficial for you to get to know others who you can help and who can help you.
Get involved in the art scene in your community. Enter local photo contests. Get your photos hung in local galleries, coffee shops, etc. The more experiences you get, the more versatile you become as an artist and the more networking opportunities will present themselves to you.
How Lightbox does it: Lightbox has partnered with local businesses, art enthusiasts. We leverage the relationships we've built and services we offer to find spaces to run our classes. That way we save save more money than we would if we rented our own office. Plus it helps bring us more visibility because people outside of our classes see us in action!
Know your worth
Don't work for free! You are a professional and you should be respected and paid as one. At the beginning of your career, you may not be able to ask for big bucks, but as you grow, your value will increase. Also, try not to focus on getting all the credit from each thing you do. It can be a distraction to the work by clamoring for the credit. Leave the best impression possible and your people will see your value when you do things for others.
How Lightbox does it: Our prices reflect the premium services we offer. We want people to know they are getting more than a YouTube tutorial when they attend our classes. We also don't always flaunt our name when doing something for someone else. This goes back to the networking piece. If you show your value through various things without shouting your name to everyone, you build strong relationships that you can leverage for professional needs!
Find small marketing opportunities
As an entrepreneur, cash flow will be slow, especially at the beginning. Look for ways to get your name out there for free, to better conserve your money. For example, research some popular local bloggers who will feature you in their posts. If you do choose to invest money in marketing materials, as an individual photographer, business cards are your best bet. They are a great little keepsake of you that others can hold on to and pass around.
How Lightbox does it: Because our name and brand hasn't completely switched over to Lightbox yet, many of our marketing opportunities await us. We have business cards, stickers and magnets bearing our name and logo that we believe will spread awareness of our existence of a brand outside our given reach (Facebook, e-mail subscribers, etc.).