Your Ultimate Guide to Securing Professional Photography Jobs

By Guest Author - 5 min read

10 steps for improving your industry skills brought to you by the team at Format. Whether you're just starting out or looking to increase your intake of professional jobs, this creative guide will equip you to make simple changes towards success.

Finding potential clients, knowing what they are looking for, and securing contracts can be a big challenge for photographers no matter where they might be in their creative career. At EyeEm we work hard to increase your opportunities to secure work with our brand partners through Missions, The Collective and The Awards.

If you are looking for some more options as an emerging professional or you’ve been working on gigs for a while but looking to refresh your perspective then this guest post from the team at Format will give you ideal steps for making the most out of each potential job on the horizon.

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10 Ways of Maximizing Your Professional Success

Do you remember the one that got away? Every photographer has a story about a project that slipped through their fingers for one reason or another. While there is no guaranteed way of securing a photography job, there are things you can do to significantly improve your odds and earn the client’s trust in record time.

Here are just 10 simple changes you can make to increase your chances of getting a professional photography job.

1. Be Active in the Online Photography Community

Being a photographer is a job that comes with a unique set of experiences. Online photography communities can help you tap into the collective knowledge of other professionals and pave the way for collaborations that ultimately broaden your creative range. Not to mention lifelong friendships and cross-continental photography trips that tend to come out of them!

Be intentional about discovering featured photographers, leaving comments and liking images that inspire you. You not only source more inspiration and industry insights, but are also more likely to have your name and work discovered.

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2. Build Your Network Outward

Every photographer is hustling to build their network - whether it be in real life or social media. However, many forget about a core group of individuals who are rooting for them: their friends and family. Consider talking to them about the types of photography you have experience doing, and the ones you want to try your hand at. A referral from someone close to you can go a long way in helping you secure a job as you build your credibility in the field.

It’s also important to think outside the box. Look for brands that need a little creative guidance that often get overshadowed by those big names and trending styles. Your work could be the transformative element that they need and it’s jobs like these that give you the ideal opportunity for showcasing your skill-set where it really will be noticed.

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3. Get to Know the Essential Trends

Is there a local art gallery that you could use to put on an exhibit, or a collection where you could enter your work? Smaller arts and culture spaces shouldn’t be under-estimated. They often serve as venues for industry events and are frequented by individuals in the creative industry.

Stay alert to what’s going on around you not only geographically but also in your niche. Make it a habit to visit local galleries to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the competition in your own town. Regularly keep an eye on visual trend reports and editorials to stay in touch with what’s going on in your preferred part of the industry.

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4. Be Knowledgeable About Your Equipment

You don’t have to have the most expensive camera in town to secure photography jobs, and contrary to popular belief, having expensive equipment doesn’t instantly make you a better photographer. However, clients do expect that you are knowledgeable about the equipment you have to bring to the table, and they want to know your plan for maximizing your equipment’s capabilities for the outcomes of their project.

5. Reach Out to Industry Professionals

Get a second opinion on your portfolio by reaching out to photographers whose work you admire. You will find that the photography community is more willing to help out someone new to the industry than you may think. Getting an experienced photographer to appraise your work has numerous benefits for your career outside of portfolio feedback – if you keep in touch, the relationship may grow into a mentorship, or lead to an employment opportunity in the future.

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6. Consider Becoming an Assistant

One of the best ways to quickly earn credibility in the field is to secure a supporting or internship role with an established photographer. While formal photography job listings aren’t always easy to find, you can start by researching photography professionals in your local area and reach out to the ones whose style you want to learn from, or those that specialize in a niche where you want to gain more experience.

Although it may not be possible for you to make this shift on a full time basis, don’t underestimate the importance of researching. You may find that you can become a weekend assistant or support on the occasional job. In other words, small steps could make all the difference.

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7. Start Off Professional

It’s essential to take cues from your client in terms of the preferred tone of communications. All clients and photographers have differing levels of professionalism that they will bring to their jobs, however it’s far easier to turn a professional conversation into a casual one. If you want to increase the likelihood of being accepted by clients try starting out more formal at first.

8. Initiate Smart Questions

After the initial client email it’s important to ask directive questions about the project. This will help give you an idea of the client’s communication and working styles. For example, you could ask to see examples of work that the client considers ‘best in class,’ inquire about the lighting conditions onset, or outline how many rounds of edits are included should be included in your estimate price.

Asking smart questions demonstrates interest to your client and shows them you can think strategically - two things every client is looking for.

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9. Look at it Through the Eyes of a Client

If you’re not getting many clients reaching out to you through your website or portfolio, you may want to consider doing a content audit from the point of view of the potential client.

Some of the questions to ask of your portfolio include: does my portfolio make it easy to contact me? Does my portfolio give the client a sense of the scope of photography I do? Is the amount of information on my website overwhelming to the viewer? Is all the content on my site relevant to the type of client I want to attract?

If your online portfolio is in need of a rework or update then the team at Format are offering all EyeEm Creators 20% off!. Take a look at their collection of online templates, find one that suits your visual style, and use the code EYEEM at the checkout to make it your own!

10. Source Credibility

Building a close-knit network of photographers that you are able to seek advice from is critical for knowing what to charge clients. Having a few photographers that can review your quotes allows you to stand by them confidently without fear that you are over- or under-selling yourself. Just don’t forget to return the favour!

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The Snapshot:

  • Be active in the online photography community
  • Build your network outwards
  • Get to know the local color
  • Be knowledgeable about your equipment
  • Reach out to industry professionals
  • Consider becoming an assistant
  • Start off professional
  • Initiate smart questions
  • Look at it through the eyes of the client
  • Know your worth
  • Keeping these tips and tricks in mind when you’re looking for professional jobs. Although not every conversation with a potential client will lead to a contract, these small changes could get the most out of every potential opportunity, equip you to start building your reputation, and portfolio of experience and professional skills.

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    Take a look here to discover the right template for you and your visual style. Plus get 20% off with the code EYEEM.