How Do You Know if You Have What It Takes To Be a Professional Photographer?

Though it takes a lot of skill with a camera and in editing, being a successful professional photographer takes a lot more than just those. If you feel comfortable with your skills and your portfolio and you are wondering if you are ready to make the jump, check out this fantastic video essay that features an experienced professional detailing how to know if you are ready. 

Coming to you from Scott Choucino with Tin House Studio, this important video discusses how to know if you are ready to make the jump to being a professional photographer. The thing I would tell anyone considering this to really think carefully about is if they will enjoy the change this will bring about with regards to their relationship to photography. When you are running a photography business, not only will you not have the freedom to shoot whatever you want, you will often spend less time behind a camera than you think and more working on things like marketing, invoices, emails, etc. Of course, that isn't meant to dissuade you, but simply to give you a realistic understanding of the profession. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Choucino. 

If you would like to learn more about the business of photography, check out "Making Real Money: The Business of Commercial Photography With Monte Isom!"

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Another great video from Scott. I really relate to the likeable part of this. Believe it or not, I used to be pretty quiet and meek before I started my photography career. I was confident but I only really opened up to people once I got to know them and built a relationship first.

Then I went through a stage in my mid 20s where I was reading a lot of books on social dynamics and quickly learned how important it was to connect and engage with people I had never met before. What felt like an overnight epiphany, I found myself a completely different person than I was just a few months prior. My family noticed it, my friends noticed it, and of course I noticed it.

Anyways, I say all this to just to hit on the point that you really need to be a people's person to be successful in photography and probably most self made careers too. If you don't feel like you are good with people, can engage in a conversation with minimal preparation, and aren't able to instantly connect with your potential clients, I think this is one of the most important human qualities you need to invest in immediately.

Just don’t do it. If you are compelled then good luck. If not - don’t do it. Actually if you are compelled, maybe get some help.