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Hey Photographer, Shannon again!

I know many of you out there love to take photographs and have a great desire to become more proficient when using your camera. Maybe you’ve gotten to a point where you’re shooting pretty regularly and the technical aspects aren’t so intimidating anymore. That’s awesome! Further, perhaps your family, friends, neighbors, and even your Facebook friends have noticed your images and love them. They tell you that you have a great eye and a lot of potential. So, what now?

If you take photos simply because you enjoy doing so (which I believe should always be the case!) and want nothing else out of it, then that’s wonderful. However, maybe this attention you’re garnering has you questioning, “Could I bring in some extra money taking photographs?” The answer is: you absolutely can! Not every potential client’s needs require a professional photographer –– some just want nice pictures for a family holiday card or a fun portrait to hang over the fireplace. Enter: you! Below are some tips on how to get started:

  1. Network- The best way to get the word out that you take photographs? Talk to people about it! Tell your friends and family, your co-workers, someone on the subway, etc. If that particular person doesn’t need your services, chances are they know someone who does. It can’t hurt for people to know you’re out there and eager to put your skills to work.
  2. Compile a portfolio- It’s a good idea to have some of your best images in one place so you can refer potential clients to them. Choose ones you’ve received the best feedback on, or ones that really resonate with you and you’re especially proud of. You can create a very simple website, a PDF, or a Google drive folder that you can quickly share with others.
  3. Get on Social Media- Aside from networking face-to-face, put your photos on your social media platforms! It’s the best way to immediately reach a large audience, and people can easily contact you directly.
  4. Determine your prices- Do some research and see what other amateur photographers charge, but also look into a professional’s rates. You can price pretty comparatively to the former, but it’s a good idea to know what the overall pay scale is so you can determine where you fall as a non-professional.
  5. Offer a few free shoots to work on technique- Offering shoots at no charge is a great way to book a session quickly, add to your portfolio, and continue to refine your skills, but keep it at a few. If you’re constantly shooting others for free, it could be harder to get real paying clients. For example, you could advertise 1-3 free sessions on your Facebook account, and once you have those booked, wait another month or two to offer the deal again. You want others to know that you wish to be compensated for your work, but a freebie every once in a while keeps you fresh in their minds.
  6. Remember to have fun- Don’t let the fact that people are paying you take the enjoyment out of something you love to do! Your clients know you aren’t a professional, so allow this to relieve some of the pressure you might feel. Plus, if you remember to have a great time with your subject(s), that will translate through your photos and bring in more paid work!

Happy shooting!

 
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