When interesting things happen around you, don’t you wish you had a camera on your hand and documented those moments? Well, maybe you thought that only professional photographers could really get pictures that speak a thousand words. Here’s the thing, let’s go around and answer how to become a professional photographer. You may be surprised by what it takes.
Photography is capturing light according to encyclopedic resources. Now, to capture light, you will need a camera! Today, smartphones have amazing cameras and pristine display resolution. However, going pro would require you to have a camera that has control parameters that can be easily tweaked on the fly! This means that, although high-end camera phones can capture great pictures, you need some sort of camera.
So, here’s what you, basically, need to start on the path of professional photography.
1. A camera that does not double as your mobile phone (preferably some form of DSLR, or hybrid).
2. SD cards and hard drives.
4. A lot of time to study and practice.
A few professional photographers had discovered their love for capturing still arts when they were young, probably in the womb, and have aligned their college degrees with the art. There are a few select colleges and universities offering BA in photography where you can branch out and major in different genres.
Other universities have a BA in Fine Arts where you can major in photography. Depending on the college or university you choose, it may take two years (associate degree), up to a full bachelor’s degree.
Of course, you need your camera with you while studying photography. Should you decide to go for a college program, you have to consider that you will be paying tuition fees. You might also need a dorm or an apartment near the institution, or you have to spend some for the commute.
And lastly, there will be projects and other requirements that you have to meet in order to get a certification at the end of the program.
By the end of the program you engage with, you would become skillful and adept at using your camera that people will recognize that you are a professional photographer! However, remember that it takes a few years to finish and bring home that degree!
Now, aside from the tedious process of getting an associate or a college degree, you can join photography crash courses hosted by professional photographers that have extensive experience in the field. Crash courses last a lot shorter than college, and university degrees, and are more affordable.
Classroom theory and practical experience are very different matters, and we may agree, to some point, that learning practical application cuts a few corners.
Photography is an art, and many professionals in the field have learned and become adept at using cameras without getting prestigious (and expensive), degrees. I am not devaluing the merits of going through a legitimate college program to learn photography and become a professional. The point is, professional cameras have become more affordable, and photography skill isn’t that rare anymore.
So, here’s a few things you can do to become a professional photographer:
There are tons of literature about photography that you can access even when not enrolled in a university. If you set aside time to study, there will be no stopping you! You would be surprised to know that some of the professional photographers who inspire you have Youtube channels. These are free professional lessons from acclaimed photographers. Learn from them, its free!
Whatever you learn from the books you read and videos you watch, practice it. Because you won’t be wasting films, you can take thousands of pictures with your SD card! Don’t hesitate to capture photos! Practice framing your subject, practice taking pictures in daylight, try night photography, try low-light photography, take pictures of people and scenery, take pictures of whatever you want! When your SD card is full, transfer your files to your hard drive.
Keep in mind and take a note of your framing and lighting. You may get a lot of advanced lessons from your Youtube mentors, but don’t forget to master the basics.
Don’t forget to review the photos you take. Go through it and take a look at where you failed and where you succeeded. Take note of your mistakes and try not to do them next time. You may capture crappy photos in the beginning. But don’t worry about it. That’s what practice is all about! Gain some experience and learn the basics.
If you want to make a career out of becoming a professional photographer, then you should find yourself a mentor. A mentor is someone who is ahead of you in the field. Remember, you may not be able to learn a lot from your peers. So, find yourself a mentor who will guide you in your adventure.
Apprentice photographers may not get paid as much as professional photographers, but it’s decent. And besides, getting paid while learning your trade is not bad, won’t you agree?
There is a career in professional photography that is waiting for you. Get yourself a camera that would pass as a professional camera. A DSLR or a hybrid would be a nice choice. If you have the time, you can attend a college or university to get a degree. Crash courses would do well too.
If you don’t have the time to get into a university or take a crash course, you can always study in your free time and practice whenever you want. Just remember, professional photography requires skill and talent. To become good at it, you need to spend time improving your talent and honing your skills.