Are you considering creating a photography business but aren’t sure where to start? One of the best ways to begin is to learn from famous photographers and pay close attention to what they did and how they were able to stand out.
Even if your goal isn’t to be famous with it, knowing these unique skills will help you stand out and make more money in your business.
Starting a photography business may feel nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we will go over exactly how to start a photography business, what equipment you need, 10 of the most famous photographers, and how they made their business a success.
HOW TO START A PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS
What sets most people back when starting a photography (or any) business is not starting sooner. While learning all there is to learn about photography may seem like a daunting task, take small steps to get the process started.
Look up terms you are unfamiliar with, look at pictures that inspire you, and practice taking shots.
TAKE A LOT OF PICTURES
This may seem like an obvious step, but it is worth mentioning. If you want to be a professional photographer, then you will need to take lots and lots of pictures.
Take as many pictures as you can and learn from your mistakes along the way. The more pictures you take, the more you are able to learn through the process.
CHOOSE A CAMERA AND GET COMFORTABLE WITH IT
Some may think that a camera is what makes such a good photo, but it really is you, the photographer, behind the camera that brings a picture to life. In order to do so, you will need to know everything about the camera you are working with.
Dig into all of the features of your camera until you know what every single button does, and why it does it.
Auto mode isn’t going to create terrible photos, but still, it is important to learn the fundamentals – shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. These settings will affect how light/dark your image is, the focus, and the sharpness.
You do not need to be an expert immediately as it may take you some time to get familiar with these. Just know that you will need to know them down the line to take your photos from good to great.
LEARN THE TOP TECHNIQUES
As you study new techniques, make sure that you keep taking pictures so that you are continually getting the hang of what you are learning. One thing to pay close attention to is lighting – possibly the most important factor in taking great pictures.
Lighting can create completely different effects, and it is important to know how to do them all. How do you create a silhouette? How do you use the sunlight to your advantage?
Get familiar with light, and you will be well on your way to taking incredible pictures.
FOCUS ON ONE TOPIC
As you take more and more pictures, you will begin to see which pictures you enjoy taking the most. Maybe you take some pictures at a wedding and decide you want to be a wedding photographer. Or perhaps, you take some soccer pictures for your nephew and find yourself really enjoying it.
Having a specific focus will help you to enhance those specific skills and make you an expert in that area down the line.
ADJUSTING YOUR PHOTOS
Once you have a handle on taking great photos, it is time to dig into the editing. Photoshop is an art, and it is important to familiarize yourself will all the aspects of it.
Begin learning the basics, and then slowly start diving into the trickier parts of it.
After you feel confident in your ability to not only take good pictures but to edit them well, finding someone to give you honest feedback will help you go to the next level.
Don’t get discouraged if you get constructive criticism but instead, use it as a way to learn and enhance your skills.
START YOUR PORTFOLIO
If you’re wanting to get your foot in the door but are having a hard time landing a gig, you may want to offer a free or discounted shoot to friends or family members to get your portfolio started.
It will be difficult to land a job without a portfolio, so if your only way to build it is to do free work at the beginning, it will pay off eventually.
HAVE A STRATEGY
In order to succeed in any business, you will need to have a solid strategy. Determine what your main focus will be, how you will price your work, and how much work you need to make the money you want.
Then, determine how you will market yourself. Social media is a great way to get your name out there.
THE NECESSARY EQUIPMENT
Okay, this one may seem obvious. Of course, you will need a camera in order to have a successful photography business. A DSLR is going to be your best bet for taking high-quality photos.
If you are in the beginning stages, you may be able to start with a smartphone to enhance your aesthetic eye.
LAPTOP OR COMPUTER
Once you start editing your pictures, you will need some sort of computer with editing software to adjust your photos.
You may start out by using flash and natural lighting, but having a professional ring light will allow you to take pictures in well-lit areas no matter what time of day it is.
10 FAMOUS PHOTOGRAPHERS AND HOW THEY MADE THEIR BUSINESS A SUCCESS
One of the most famous photographers in the world, Annie Leibovitz, started her photography career working for Rolling Stone magazine. Her ability to take intimate pictures of celebrities allowed her career to skyrocket.
Her advice is to get to know the model on an intimate level to take pictures intimately the way she does.
Even those who may not be aspiring photographers probably know Ansel Adams as he is arguably one of the most famous photographers who shoot landscapes. His beautifully contrasted, black-and-white landscape photos are easily recognizable.
He suggests that anyone pursuing photography should do their best to stay in shape so they can do what they love for longer.
Mario Testino is known for shooting the late Princess of Wales, Diana, for Vanity Fair. She has a unique ability to take pictures of models that make people desire to purchase the clothes in her photos.
Her photography is highly desired by designers everywhere. Learn to not only capture an image, but highlight pieces of it to create interest the way Mario does.
Brian Duffy was a photographer who mainly shot fashion in the 1960s and 1970s. Later in life, he lost his desire to do photography and burned over half of his portfolio.
Some of the photos were luckily salvaged and are still on exhibit today. To learn from Duffy’s mistakes, make sure not to make rash decisions just because you are in a rut. You may come to regret it later in life.
You may recognize Dorothea’s name from her famous picture, as “Migrant Mother” is one of the most well-known photos in history. She is famous for taking photos documenting the Great Depression.
Learn from her ability to stick to one subject before moving on to the next. Find something you love and stick to it.
Yousuf Karsh is a master when it comes to portrait photography. He even had separate lighting for the hands than for the face, saying that it is a vital part of the piece.
If you want to create quality portraits like Yousef, make sure that you never take a picture that doesn’t speak volumes about the person you are photographing.
This street photographer is known for taking photos without even looking through the camera. He also used a wide-angle lens up close to his subjects’ faces.
To learn from Garry, always be open to experimentation. There’s not one right way to do photography; it’s an art.
Brassai is known for his work in the streets of Paris. Unlike some of the others on this list, Brassai didn’t take photos of celebrities or events in history but is one of the most famous photographers, nonetheless.
Brassai never traveled around the world or shot celebrities, and you don’t need to either to be successful.
Known for his war photography, Robert Capa was able to cover 5 different wars. He was known for getting down in the trenches when shooting his subjects.
He says, “If your picture isn’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
Jay Maisel doesn’t use fancy and complex equipment. Instead, he looks for interesting shapes and colors when shooting his photos.
To take beautiful photos the way Jay Maisel does, pay attention to the different colors and shapes of objects throughout the day for that interestingly different shot.
If you have been considering starting a photography business, just get started. You will learn along the way by not only taking photos but by also getting feedback.
All you need to get started is a camera, a laptop or computer with editing software, and eventually, good lighting. One great way to get started the right way is to learn from famous photographers to enhance your skills even if you don’t desire to be a famous photographer yourself.
The famous photographers listed above are great examples of photographers with unique skills you can learn a lot from.