Talented photographer Chase Jarvis (@chasejarvis on Twitter) recently shared some insight into how to be a professional photographer. He said he gets asked a lot about what needs to be done to achieve professional status. When I read through the list, I thought this list could be for any profession, especially the creative professions. Since he is wildly successful, I figured I might take a little of his advice myself. Maybe you should too.
Here are his steps (with a few notes from me). Thanks, Chase.
1. Declare yourself a photographer (or whatever). Nobody is going to believe that you are a professional at anything until you do. Don’t tell people you are a full-time barista and a part-time whatever. Be a full-time whatever all the time.
2. Make it a business. Make it real. Any business needs a few things. You need business cards. They are cheap so go out and buy some. You may need a business name and register that name with the county or state you live in. Make it real to you.
3. Read everything about the business you want to be in. If you want to be a professional photographer, read books on photography, especially books on the business of photography. Spend your time getting better by learning from those who came before you. Read books about whatever business you are in (see what I did there?). Start today.
4. Want to be a professional photographer? Take photos. Take photos every day. Then find a way to post those photos, online, offline, in-line, out-of-line, whatever. Edit those photos. Online display the best. Let people see your work. Then market the shit out of those photos so that people know — or at least want to know — who you are. Give them a way to see your stuff and contact you about doing more stuff. Again, this goes for any business.
5. Repeat. Especially the last step.
Here's a link to his original post.
Follow him on Twitter @chasejarvis and check out his blog.