09 Jan The Business of Photography – Published on FujiLove

Source: Fujifilm Insider

“INSPIRATION IS FOR AMATEURS, THE REST OF US JUST SHOW UP AND GET TO WORK” – CHUCK CLOSE
The first thing I usually look for when I see an article with a title like this is who the author is. Who is this person giving me advice and why should I take this advice? So allow me to introduce myself real quick. My name is Waleed Shah and I’m a photographer. I started my professional career as an engineer in the oil industry slowly transition to being a full-time photographer. I now earn 80% of my income through photography and I’d love to share some insight on how you can do that too.

What is a professional photographer?
This is the first question you need to wrap your head around. Your definition is probably based on how creative or technically educated the photographer is. Or maybe even if he/she is full time or not. In my book, a professional photographer is one who earns money from photography skills. It has nothing to do with creativity, technical capabilities or time dedicated to the job. In my book, the guy shooting photos of you and your spouse by the Eiffel Tower and offering you a print for the price of a cup of coffee is a professional photographer. The photo might not look great and he might have taken it with a point and shoot on auto but you still paid for it.

The Emotional Element
The first step to becoming a professional photographer is an emotional one. When you introduce yourself like, “Hi, I’m John Smith. I’m an accountant but I shoot landscapes and street photography and I’m trying to get better at my portraits. I’m exploring etc…” then don’t expect anyone to hire you. Would you hire someone who’s trying something? Instead, switch to “Hi, I’m John Smith and I’m a Photographer. What’s your name?” Stop there. Try it out right now. Say it loud and get comfortable with it because this is how you will introduce yourself from now on. Even if you’re an engineer or an accountant it’s more likely to meet someone at a party and get hired to shoot their portrait or kid’s birthday party than to do their company accounts.
Ps. Notice how I introduced myself at the beginning of the article.

The Grind
Now that you’re comfortable in your own skin it’s time to get to work. The next steps are all about the grind, but let’s start with one of my favorite quotes from a Zack Arias seminar I attended in Dubai…

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