Becoming a Professional Photographer



I read many different blogs throughout the week. Today I happened apon two that together struck a cord.  First is This Article by Ramit Sethi Titled How do I Stop Being so Damn Lazy?  In the article Ramit talks about how lazy “Our Generation” is and how we genuinely want to change but cannot figure out how to do it.  The article also touches on something that is very important not just in life but in the photography world as well.  That is allowing yourself to fail.  Often times not allowing yourself to fail will hold you back.  Being afraid of failing will keep your photography average.  The great part about photography is that you are the editor.  You only have to show people your best work.  That means you can shoot one hundred shots and only show one.  If it is awesome people will think you are an awesome photographer.

 Myst - Point Reyes National Seashore, California

The second article that I read today was by Commercial Photographer Chase Jarvis the article is titled Should I go to Photo School.  That is a common question that photographers receive from young people who want to make a living being a photographer.  Chase answers the question perfectly so if you are wondering that yourself you should go and read what he has to say.

My mind blended these two articles and I get a new answer about Photography School.  Getting paid to take pictures is about becoming awesome at taking pictures.  With todays Camera technology my Grandma can take good pictures.  If you want people to pay you then you need to be AWESOME.  To be awesome you cannot be Lazy.  Do not think that you can go out and get a DSLR and learn how to use it and start charging to shoot weddings.  It is a long hard road of discovering your photographic style, developing your critical thinking skills, building a photography business, and learning to use your equipment.  You need to find ways to learn everything you can from anyone that will teach you.  Read blogs like this one you are reading now.  Set goals.  Work on personal photography projects that do not pay but are interesting to you.  Then figure out how to make those personal projects pay.  Business is at least half of what all profitable photographers say they wish they knew more about when they started.  I would suggest talking to a few photographers and working out a business model that works best for you.

If this all sounds hard thats because it is.  No matter if you decide to go to Photography School or build a business on your own, the road is long and hard.  So do not be lazy.  Get excited because if Photography is your thing then you will make it.  Learn to accept failure and keep going.  If you are going to fail, fail fast and keep going.  As a child when you started to walk but fell down the first twenty times did your parents just decide to let you crawl the rest of your life? No. they made you continue to try and walk until you would walk.  Take that same approach with anything whatever you decide to do with your life.  I believe there has never been a better time to be a photographer because you have more resources than ever in the history of photography that can help you be successful.  You have access to many amazing photographers via Facebook, Twitter, and Email.  If you have a question they will often write back.  So ask them.  If you do not know who they are here is a good place to start Most Influential Photographers.

Become a “Joiner” go join as many photography related clubs and organizations as possible.

If photography is what you want to do then commit yourself to becoming a master of photography and business and you will soon be on the list of Most Influential Photographers.  Good Luck.

Do you have something to add?  Leave a comment.

About Tyson

I am a Photographer and Teacher from the Western United States. I enjoy the creative side of photography. When I am not teaching, I like to write about photography and creativity here on

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