How to become a successful photographer?

How to become a successful photographer? When I started photography, in 2012, this was one of the first questions to ask myself. At that time, I didn’t have a framework. Meanwhile, I’ve built one of the most successful photography studios in the world. Today, I’m trying to put together exactly that. A framework and a photography course, that help you become very fast a successful photographer.

By the way, my name is Fran Boloni and I’m the founder of The Paris Photographer and The Now Time.

What is a successful photographer?

Here is how I would define what a successful photographer is: an artist who takes beautiful photos and many people pay him for these photos.

Alternative definitions for a successful photographer: a photographer that has many followers on social media, a photographers that makes a lot of money, a photographer that has photography expositions regularly. Your personal definition might be different and that’s ok.

Picture taken in Paris by a successful photographer

In this following article, I’ll refer to a successful photographer as someone who is an accomplished artist and makes money with this skill. You can be a very talented photographer, who takes beautiful pictures in your spare time. But if photography is not your main professional activity, then I’d not called that being successful. Because success implies that people hire you to take their photos.

What are the most important aspects to master in order to become a successful photographer?

Before we dive in, let’s make a distinction between being an accomplished photographer and having a successful photography business.

Creative photography using silhouettes

What skills make you a great photographer?

There are quite a few things to master in order to become a great photographer. First, you need technical skills:

  • Gear: understanding how cameras and lenses work
  • Photography: understanding composition, framing, perspective, distances, angles
  • Specific: portraiture, landscape, documentary, etc
  • Light: understanding what is flattering light
  • Creativity
  • Editing images

Then, you’ll have to develop a few communication skills:

  • Prepare the clients for the job
  • How to communicate during the job
  • Posing the clients
  • Managing clients expectations

Third, you’ll need some making friends skills:

  • Identify and approach accomplished photographers from your field
  • Assist them as much as possible
  • Find a photography mentor
Landscape photographer working in cold

Of course, you’ll develop a lot of experience during the apprenticeship of the skills above, but there if one additional package of skills that is necessary in order to become a successful photographer. These are growth skills:

  • Adopt success mindset
  • Find inspiration
  • How to practice to become great
  • How to curate your portfolio
  • Build a personal brand

What skills help you build a successful photography business?

You can be the most talented photographer in the world. If clients can’t find you, you’ll never make money. So how to get paying clients for your photography business?

  1. Marketing helps to attract paying clients. Some of the steps in your marketing efforts involve creating a website and setting up your social media channels.
  2. Communication: learn how to convince clients to book you.
  3. Customer success: over deliver.
  4. Create a legal business.
  5. Accounting & investing in your business.

That sounds like a lot of skills. The good news: you don’t have to perfect the skills. Besides, you might already master some of these, without even knowing. It’s true that some skills require more practice and experience, however, some are very fast to acquire.

Girl working on photography business

How do I start a photography career?

First, learn photography. Master everything that is related to gear, light and such. The goal is to be able to create beautifully framed and correctly exposed images. Befriend accomplished photographers and find mentors. Go and assist them as much as possible to learn and build experience. Learn how to communicate with clients and manage their expectations. Over deliver.

That’s a good start.

Follow me on Instagram and reach out. I would be delighted to become your photography mentor.