It's Not Just About the Images You Make

It's Not Just About the Images You Make

If you’re thinking about going into photography full time and make a profession out of it, it might be worthwhile considering the skills other than getting a good photograph. Let’s discuss the somewhat soft skills required.

For me, the most important part of photography is getting into spaces and places that aren’t easy to get into. You’ll need permission, and to get that, you’ll need to be able to make contact and discuss your ideas in a way that appeals to the permission-giving person concerned so much that they want to help you.

So it’s about contacts, growing your network, and learning how to approach someone with empathy, seeing what you’re asking for from their perspective.

To get into places means you’re going to have to talk to people. You’ll have to be able to tell them what you do. And, it’s important to note that when you do tell someone, you attach a specific type of photography or video production style to it. Just saying you’re a photographer won’t cut it. You need to be more specific. They might not see any advantage of knowing you specialize in real estate, but they might know someone who does. And they might want to sell their house one day and could call on you to help them get the best representation of the house which leads to the best price and quickest sale for them.

Getting Started

If you’re a budding real estate photographer, can you call up an agency and see whether you could tag along with an agent to get into a great house that you know would be great to shoot?

If you’re looking into getting into fashion, do you know any local designers you can call to see whether you can collaborate on shooting their designs and creating some images that they can use for marketing and advertising purposes?

If you think you will do well in portraits, do you know anyone who you think wants to become an actor or musician?

You Know Someone

The second part is the harder part. So you’ve got the connection, but can you set up a quick chat to discuss what you want to do? Do you know how to persuade them to consider doing what you’re asking of them? It’s one thing following them on Instagram, but it’s another to actually send them a message.

If You’re Nervous, Be the Director

You’ve watched BTS videos of your favorite directors. You’ve heard them break down how they got what they wanted, and how they directed their team and actors to get what they wanted.

Be a director. Before the call, try to see yourself in the third person, like you’re an actor playing a part. Practice what you want to tell them. Try to be as natural as possible. While you’re on the call, if you mess up, it’s all part of the scene, and adds a little drama. It can also be corrected easily, and people like talking to people who are genuine, who are not shy about making mistakes, and who open up about their shortcomings.

Getting the Details

Now if you’re ready, you need to get the contact details of the people you want to call. It can be a Google search, but if you want to be sure, I can recommend, a tool that works inside LinkedIn, which will give you the numbers and emails of your prospects. You can try it out for free. With the free account, you'll get contact details of 5 people per month for free. 

Secondly, if you want to do some research and what the interests are of the people you’re calling, Crystal is a tool that gives you an idea of what type of person they are, and how you can adapt your conversation to get more rapport with them.


You’re not going to be good at the beginning, but you need to start. And the only way to make a success of it is to actually get going.

Wouter du Toit's picture

Wouter is a portrait and street photographer based in Paris, France. He's originally from Cape Town, South Africa. He does image retouching for clients in the beauty and fashion industry and enjoys how technology makes new ways of photography possible.

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How, specifically, would the concepts in this article be applied to wildlife photography? I mean actual wildlife on public land (wilderness), not animals in zoos or preserves or privately owned estates. I read this article with hopes of learning something pertinent to my type of photography, but couldn't see any way to apply the info here to what I do.