10 Steps to Start Photography Career from Scratch

Originally published December 27, 2020 , updated May 9, 2021

So, you are willing to follow your passion for photography and start photography career. I can bet that you're in search of a useful guide so that you can pursue a successful photography career.

Photography is more than just a skill or talent.

Moreover, your skills, passion, patience, and planning will reflect your successful career.

I believe that good photography, editing, communication skills, time awareness, reference taking abilities will make you successful in this business.


People always want to preserve all the precious memories. Maybe it is birthday parity or the places they visit.

But how can you do that? Simple, you need to snap some pictures. However, do you know? Can you pursue that as a career? Think again!

You see, the main thing you need to consider now is passion. If you take pictures and think of doing this to earn bread and butter, this is the article

I will be covering all the possible outcomes of this particular career.

In this article, I am not going to focus on starting a photography business. It is a no-bullshit guide to start a photography career as a 9-5 or part-time job.

About Photography Career

Photographers use technical expertise, creativity, and composition skills to capture people, places, events, and objects that tell stories.

To be successful, it needs lots of practice and patience. At the same time, the working field is also expanding. This career is becoming popular day by day.

Though as a beginner, it may seem challenging. However, once you are on the right track, it will become easier.

Self-employed or freelance photographers may license get started. However, your success will be dependent on how well you develop an individual photography style, networking & marketing skills.

On the other hand, if you work under an agency or professional, you may not need any license in the first place. Besides, this will be helpful if you are starting.

It will aid you in learning industry knowledge, pricing, networking, and marketing knowledge.

Is photography a good career?

Is it hard to become a photographer?

Consideration Before Becoming a Professional Photographer

Can photography be a full-time job?

Can I become a photographer without a degree?

Career in Photography Where to Start

From my experience, I can easily say that it is impossible to start with when you don't have the appropriate skills. This field is only for professionals.

If you don't know what it needs to start your career successfully, this article will be the colossal guidance you ever need.

Now where you can start-

You can start by developing skills and learning about the photography realm.

The best way to do that will be building characteristics like creativeness, development in imagination, and passion.

In this article, I have described ten steps to start a photography career.

Photography Careers Salary

A photographer's salary is somewhat equal to location, marketing skills, experience, reputation, and photography types.

In the USA, a novice photographer makes $10 to $30 per hour. The medium-level skilled person makes $18 to $45, while experts make $30 to $70.

Freelance photographer's earnings depend on the number of jobs done. Your work experience, training, marketing skills, or talent will determine the number of jobs you get.

How to get product photography clients?

When you have started a photography business finding clients faster is crucial. Learn what skill you need to get more clients.

Steps to Start Photography Career from Scratch

  1. Understanding the Realm of Photography,
  2. Learning the Art,
  3. Pick a niche/ Category to Work With,
  4. Equip up with Right Camera and Gears,
  5. Explore Your Creativity Space by Practice,
  6. Follow Others Works,
  7. Build up Confidence by Showcasing Your Works,
  8. Create Your Online Presence,
  9. Build Your Portfolio,
  10. Finally, get ready to get your first photography client.
Steps to Start Photography Career from Scratch

Though, everyone is not equal, so that you may have accomplished some of that. However, when you are taking this as your profession, you better take it seriously.

The dream always kept distances from reality. To get success, you must work hard. And those are the things that should be built up for sustaining and thriving your career.

Besides, in this year 2021, the consequence of pandemic outbreak is still there. Starting a career can be more challenging in some industries.

So, I will recommend to keep patience, build your career slowly by creating a strong foundation. If it's done according to a plan, it will be easier to get clients or jobs.

Now then, let's explore the challenges and goals you should try to achieve in each stage.

Realm of Photography Business and Career

Realm of Photography Business and Career

You see, photography is not a small world. It has a broader perspective. There are a lot of sectors that you can showcase your talent and earn pennies from that.

Now, your mind seems this odd, as I have mentioned pennies. But this is the way it is. You cannot ask for a fat amount on the first day of your job. Right?

You will have to work hard to strengthen your paycheck. Before hitting the market, you need to learn the Art first. Otherwise, the world will be harsh to survive.


If you are wondering How to Start a Career in Photography, this is important to understand the realm.

The digital industry is ever-changing. There are no better ways other than digging deep and adapting accordingly to cope with time and trends.

Now, depending on the state you belong to, the trends can be different. So what to do?

Yes! You are correct. Getting the degree or reading or exploring workshops, reading, and Joining a photography community can solve many of those problems.

It will help you learn and adapt to the proper mindset that a professional progresses.

A self-employed photographer can choose one particular or multiple niches to work on. Like journalism, social event photography, fine arts, and commercial field.

Now, as you have a clear idea about photography, it is crucial to find the right path to get on to the journey. This is very crucial to follow the right way. So, here is a possible workflow.

Learning the Art

Now, you might be googling this particular topic. You will also find various articles or videos that would brag about teaching you photography within seven days!

But that is certainly NOT the path to walk on. To learn something from the very core, you need to invest your time and devotion.

You will have to be patient. I mean, come on! You are not superhuman, right! You will have to take time and realize the potential.

Learn the techniques of photography as much as possible. Keep learning as much as you can about points, shots, cameras, etc.

You can learn a lot about editing from essential software. At least you can learn the basics of editing from software like Photoshop.

It would help if you practiced more and more to perfect yourself. Now, you get the patience part. Now the big question comes up.

How can you possibly learn photography in the ‘right’ way? Have to worry because I got you covered.

You can search the internet in the initial stages. You can easily find in-depth research about the art itself.

Hold it right there.

Before just getting into the learning phase, you will have to select what type of photography you want to do.

What Qualifications Do you Need?

Qualifications and Education for Photography Career

Taking incredible photos is the most required Qualification that you will need.

Now, as a photographer, you need to ensure quality shoots with quality cameras and image editing.

However, what's about educations like a photography diploma or degree? Do you need that?

The answer to that question is - Maybe!. Yes, you probably need a degree to complete a task like getting a professional license or job. However, it depends on the rules to start a photography business legally.

A degree or higher education will increase your acceptance in some places. Besides, when you are a newbie, taking a course may help you build your skills. Also, it may involve you in a photographer society.

Photography Career Paths to Choose From

You see, there are a lot of options when it comes to Photography. Some of those are as follows.

List of photography career-

  • Portrait photographer
  • Event Photography
  • Wedding Photography
  • Corporate Photography
  • Stock photographer
  • Photojournalist
  • Sports photographer
  • Wildlife photographer
  • Creative Photography and Filming
  • Commercial Product Photography
  • Fashion and Modelling Photography
  • Forensics Photography
  • Wild-Life Photography
  • Scientific photographer and more...

Here, I will be covering all the valuable insights into all types of Photography. This will help you decide which to choose and which to leave as it is.

So, please pay a great deal of concentration as the variables are critical.

Don't be a Jack of all trades, master of none.

Don't be a Jack of all trades, master of none. Find an appropriate photography niche and build a career around it.

First up, we will be having a closer look at event Photography.

Event Photography

Many events are going on in our neighborhood - Birthdays, celebrations, ceremonies, and what not. All of these are precious memories.

And these memories are bound to be captured. You can cover this as well. But you need to be smart and cunning at the same time. As the events are dynamic, the photographer should have the instincts to click the right picture.

So, it would be best if you had a significant presence of mind in this case.

These events can cover a wide range of paycheck. Some even might be pretty less, but some might hit a couple of thousand bucks.

Nonetheless, the hard work and the skills you will pay off nicely. So, you should consider this option.

Weeding Photography

Your wedding is perhaps the best day of your life. You are united with your life partner on that day. Indeed, the day is worth celebrating, and the memories worth preserving. So, what better way to keep than taking pictures of the day?

A good wedding photographer can easily make a couple look stunning on the day of their wedding. But things will be sour if the photos don't turn out well. So, like the previous option, this Photography also requires a quick presence of mind.

You need to be in action all the time. All you need is to maintain a good flow of the event. You should have eyes on every side. This is undoubtedly the best profession of you know how to own it. But if you are not into going to gatherings like weddings, then this might not be your cup of tea.

Corporate Photography

Now, this might be the most sophisticated photography jobs you could find. But think again, this requires precision and ability. I am speaking of the ability to impress the clients.

But, the corporate world is a ruthless one. If you want to survive in the ocean, you will have to make friends with the sharks.

To be honest, covering only a single corporation might not be fruitful in the long run. You will have to maintain a good connection with your clients.

Understanding the need of the clients is another aspect of this particular profession. If you cannot participate thoroughly with the client, then I am sorry, but this is not the option you are looking for as a career.

Creative Photography and Filming

You might have guessed it by now as this photography is mainly in the entertainment industry.

This is perhaps the most happening industry in the world. People might not have money to lead a good life or buy decent food, but they will still buy tickets or watch it on the table.

What I am trying to say is that this is an area that has a lot of potentials. You will have to work in movies, daily soaps, and other relevant content. What it will do is that it will make you more and more skilled in how things work behind the scenes.

Now, a question might be banging inside your head. Why motion pictures require still Photography? Because there are more things other than motion. Trailer thumbs, posters, leaflets, banners, and other promotional content need photos.

The still photos allow the artists and the staff to understand the content from another perspective clearly. So, Photography plays a significant role in this sector. But there is a hiccup. You might have to ram around with the crew in locations and shooting sights.

And some shooting might take the whole day. Also, if you are covering the entire project, there is a high chance that you need to off-shore for a more extended period. So, think twice before picking this genre of work.

eCommerce Product Photography

Business is all about selling and earning money. But to sell a specific product, you need to make this product appealing.

The customer should feel the need for that. Then they will think of buying it in an instance or later on the proceedings.

So, how can you make your product appealing more and more? Simple, take appropriate photos that can create a wanting in the minds of the customers.

On the other hand, you will be making something that will scale up the sales as well.

Moreover, think about it thoroughly. I need to mention that you need to think twice, first from a photographer's perspective.

And secondly, think about it as a customer. You should be convinced first. Then you can make a difference for the product itself.

Guide on DIY Product Photography Setup

Photographer having the perfect product photography setup is a dream of reality.

Fashion and Modeling Photography

This is perhaps the most recognized profession for photographers. People from all stages kind of have an idea about this prospect. But the real picture is more than you have thought of it. That requires immense skills and dedication.

You need to understand the context first. Determining the best way to make your model stand out is the main goal in this Photography.

One more thing to inform you that - you will have to work in various conditions. And modeling photography is not a joke.

Forensics Photography

Now, this is not the photography opportunity you might have thought of in the initial stage.

But the thing is, this requires a great deal of will power and integrity in your character. In some sort of way, you will have to think like a detective as well.

You might found yourself clicking possible evidence in a crime scene. So, this is the way it is. You might encounter a dead body in a murder case. So, you will have to be healthy and have a stud personality. It is crucial in this job sector.

But, if you have a soft heart, you might not be able to maintain or continue this work line.

It is not your background where you can raid as your own will. Now, we will be looking into the most challenging yet thrilling photography genre.

Wild-Life Photography

As I said, Wild-Life Photography is the most daring photography. Now, wild life is very unpredictable.

You can see the unseen and untouched beauty of Mother Nature. But things might get pretty dangerous in times.

So, you will have to keep that in mind as well. Nonetheless, you will get countless opportunities to visit unknown locations, forests, and even under the ocean.

Wildlife Photography is certainly a bit challenging and the game of calmness.

Finding a Learning Platform

Now, finding a good learning platform is pretty crucial. If you are not learning from an authentic source, this might prove a lost course.

You can find some great tutorials. Besides, you can also find a professional photographer and work as an assistant.

Working as an apprentice is the best way to learn something. But if you have a bit of a fortune and are willing to devote your life to deep learning, you can find yourself a degree in the relative field.

Tat is costly, so think about it before applying.

Joining a local photography club is an essential step toward success.

This will allow you to learn a lot by sharing your different topics with others. Able to capture the mind of the photographer.

Find one or more mentors. Take pictures with them, share and work with one. It would help if you learned something from them.

Attend Photography Conferences: If you want to be a successful photographer, you need to attend any local, national, or international exhibitions or seminars. Your presence is also essential in such conferences.

View Exhibition: View various photo exhibitions. Notice their colors, types, perspectives, content.

Getting Your Weapons Ready!

Choose Right Photography Tools

Equip with the right camera and gears are crucial. You know, even the most expensive camera will not make you successful.

Now, you need cameras and lenses to pursue your dream career. That will take a fat chuck of investment.

So, I will suggest picking standard ones. Ones that will be enough to take evident shoots.

But having the right equipment is half of your job. You will still have to train and practice hard. In this process, you can do great things with the camera!

The necessary photography tools and equipment for beginners are-

  • Camera,
  • Lenses,
  • Tripod,
  • Lighting Equipment,
  • A computer or laptop for post-processing.

These are the most common equipment for your photography studio. It is not necessary to pick expensive equipment. Hence, you will need something that serves your purposes.

Even if you don't have the right equipment or a good camera, you can only take a good picture if you have the mind and eyes.

The ability to analyze your mind and eyes from the camera frame is real. So talk to good photographers, get ideas of ​​their thoughts and perceptions so that their vision becomes yours as well.

No matter how small or large you do Photography. It would help if you always had backup tools with you.

You've just been hired as a photographer at a wedding, and you've seen your camera not working. What do you think will happen? So keep up with backup tools at all times.

Explore Your Creativity Space by Practicing

Practice More to Explore Your Creativity Space

You see, everyone is different, and Photography is a creative work. So, it will be easier to find out the comfort zone by practicing.

It's often said - creativity an “Acquired Skill” or a “God-Gifted Talent.”

So, use your time intelligently. When you are photographing a subject, use your creative mind. You can explore every angle, pose, camera mode, take advantage of light, use shadow to play with it.

Besides, the beauty of this career is that you'll never stop learning. No matter how long you are doing this, you will not finish the learning process.

Ace photographers of the world still think that they are not over with the learning process.

So, if you want to do well, you will still have to learn and learn. There is no shortcut in this proceeding.

Follow Others Work

The best way to evaluate your learning is to practice. And the way to get ideas from others is to observing professionals.

Now, there is a lot you can adapt to when you got the right mindset.

Follow successful photographers, see the photos they take, gears, props, poses they use. It will expand your thought limit.

It is not about copying shoots. It's about expanding, experimenting.

Some day or after, this will create better lighting, color, and photo shooting senses and techniques.

Photography is an art where everyone has a different style of taking pictures. Never go blindly copy someone.

Then there is a possibility of losing your style. Find your type. It is difficult to find but not impossible.

Build up Confidence by Showcasing Your Shoots

It is pretty hard to maintain the hypes and adrenalin surges when you start doing something new.

But when you do something, you need to get a grip on your nerves. So, you will be able to excel in the line. So, do not expect to hit skyrockets in orders and clients.

Even skilled photographers may have a lack of confidence. Showcasing your works to the world will help to revoke the shyness.

Recognition and appreciation are what you should seek in this stage.

Having that from friends and family is great, but having it from your industry professionals creates self-belief.

“Success gave me confidence as an artist. And now I’m able to do what I want without anybody thinking it’s dumb.”

– Amy Lee

Now the real confidence comes from Success, skill, and dedication.

So, don't shy! share your works.

What you can do is-

  • Enter Photography Contests
  • Offer free photos to magazines
  • Join Photography Forums
  • Upload it in Social Media
  • Run Shows (small exhibition)

Create Your Online Presence

Average US adults spend 3 hours daily online. So, creating an online presence in the early stage will beneficial. As you are getting into a new career, to sustain, you must need clients.

There are many social platforms out there. But so far, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are best for photographers.


To build and improve your online presence, you will need to take a set of actions.

  • Have at lease one social media presence
  • Make a website
  • Share images
  • Personify your brand
  • Endorse online advertising
  • Join communities online
  • Built relationships, grow fan and followers
  • Show up where your audience is

Create a portfolio

A photographer's portfolio can be a CV or a personal website. However, A portfolio is an online representation of your professionalism, photos, activities, and skills.

In fact, you can think of this as a get way to get hired.

The portfolio should reflect your works. Planning is the core part of creating a portfolio. You need to be selective to showcase your creativity.

Tips to Get Your First Photography Client

You are new in this field and build what is required to own a scalable photography career. It's high time to hunt down clients.

However, it may seem a dead end. But it's not. If you followed the other nine steps, you might have an audience base. You can promote your photography services there.

There are other marketing channels based on the niche you belong to. As an example, you can read - how to get product photography clients?

Now here are some tip is to get hired faster-

  • Get recommendations from friends and family,
  • Contact other industry professionals with your portfolio,
  • Exabit on a local art show,
  • Seek an internship,
  • Endorse online advertisements to promote your services

A business is all about relationships with the right people. So you should not neglect any chances to mix with your potential clients.

Social media is an excellent place where you can connect with peoples you don't know. It would help if you built up a strategy to make fans and followers.

The Final Words

We live in deeds, not in years.

You need to go slow, yet steady. Learn, practice, and think out of the box. In this way, you will be able to be a good photographer.

Get a Hold on Your Dreams!

You have to think about how far you can take photography as a profession. The career has to move forward day by day. Your skill with the camera will be to control the time.

Get organized. Challenge yourself - you can. Always take photography with pleasure.

Don't be upset, don't lose patience. See how much joy there is in this creative work. And, most of the successful photographers worked hard and achieve their current fame and position.

And if you want to be the fast forward, this is undoubtedly not your piece of cake!

So, dream big and dream high! But don’t you dare to slip off the edge and die! On that note, I hope you have understood all the prospects of starting a photography career.

I hope this article will guide you to walk on the right path. Till then, keep patience. I wish you good fortune!

How to Become a Successful Product Photographer for Amazon?

If you are looking for an excellent opportunity in the relative fields. So, why don’t you try Amazon Photography?

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