This is a question I receive in my inbox on a regular basis. My typical response is “it depends” and I know that doesn’t satisfy the reader who is awaiting a response. Here are a few things that I personally believe should be evaluated and achieved prior to entering on the scene as a “professional”.
Do I still squirm at the thought of calling myself a professional photographer? You betcha! It’s a tricky question to answer but nonetheless here are my thoughts on the subject from someone who entered as a “professional photog” without any of the following.
There is no set timeline, some achieve these quicker than others. It’s all personal discretion. That being said, personal discretion also requires learning from others experiences. I have admitted that I was one of those “open the box and start charging to cover my costs” photogs forever ago. It was WRONG. I cringe now at the thought, even though I can now tell people truthfully “I’ve been there, I get it.” Understand this post is to humbly put myself and my faults before you, to encourage you a path that I found was a proper way to enter the industry. Not everyone is going to agree, and that is okay. That’s the beauty of running your own business. So without further adieu, , here are a few things that I personally learned!
Clients typically hire based on work they have seen you produce. They will demand reproduction of the same quality. For instance, I know the quality that Apple has for its iPad. How sorely disappointed would I be and what disservice Apple would have done me if I order an iPad 3 and it’s an old brick similar to the Zach Morris phone from the 90s? Producing consistent product meets client expectations. Without clients you have no business.
Legitimate Business Formation
Without going further into it the legit business formation should also include the proper acquisition of insurance (Liability, equipment, etc).
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