Truly, many professionals in the photography business are having a degree in photography from one of the different schools of photography, schools of art with a specialization in photography or press photographers education on schools of journalism etc. Programs like Professional Photography, Digital Photography, Mass Communication and Graphic Design are among the offers at colleges and universities to get a professional photographer degree.
But what I am focusing on is the possibility of people skilled in photography without the basic training and with another full time day job who want to live out their dream of being a photographer. The individual history of now well established photographers are showing a diversity of paths to their career as photographers but here I will first emphasise the potential of starting the photographic career as a part time stock photographer.
If the dream is to become a photographer and the question accordingly is how to become a photographer this could be a no-risk opportunity for the engaged amateur photographer who wants to change his/her life situation. As the stock photography business is a very dynamic field it might be difficult to give advice of any persistency, but let my try anyway.
How to become a photographer through work for stock photo agencies
Income for photographers from stock photography has been under attack for years but the kinds of photography that keeps the income and position best is related to up to date model released photography with a focus on lifestyle and with a strong conceptual mood.
As that is also an area that are most difficult for the general amateur photographer to deliver of professional quality I strongly recommend this field as the focus point for the potential full income professional photographer. The submissions of photos to one or more of the professional photo agencies of this kind of stock photography will be able to direct the person who wants to become a full time professional photographer.
This will come through the continuously improvement of his or her style for shooting, as stock photography is a tuff marketplace with rather fast response to trends and buyers requests. At the same time these photos might generate enough income to support further training to become a full time photographer.
Let me underline that I cannot recommend the potential photographer to engage in micro stock agencies. They pay too little, and you will have too many pictures flowing around in cyberspace without having enough control of their use.
May be my advice on life style shooting isn’t making you happy as your dream was to become a wildlife photographer or a similar kind of specialization as a photographer. Never mind, include that kind of stock photos among your submissions to your chosen stock photo agency and let the sales reports tell you what to focus on. But remember the life style photos.
Commissioned photography as an alternative to stock photography to become a photographer
An alternative to the approach mentioned becoming a stock photographer is to focus on the needs of individual customers and to develop a reputation as one of the freelance photographers available for special photo needs like:
– Shooting special events in a company
– Private weddings for couples that cannot afford to hire a fully professional wedding photographer
– Photography for small business’ websites, including product photography.
– Pet photography, as many people have their pet as their most valued partner in life. Pet photographers specializing in taking pictures of people’s dogs, cats, hamsters, birds etc. might be able to do very well.
– Equine photography. Similar to pet photographers equine photographers might be able to get a decent income part-time as a path to becoming a full time photographer. Often the sessions on equine photography can be scheduled for weekends making it easier to combine with a full time job.
The beauty of this answer to the question how to become a photographer is that some of these kinds of photography can be combined with submitting selected pictures of the commissioned work for stock agencies; just keep in mind to get all needed kinds of releases.
Well established areas populated with lots of party photographers, school photographers, travel group photographers etc. might be difficult to dig into, unless you have a nerve for it and want to go for it. To run a portrait studio might also be a difficulty part time area but to offer portraits etc. at homes of people might be an option, too.
Conclusion: To become a photographer through engagement in stock photography might be your best option.