Chapter 17: How To Land Your First Paid Photography Job – The Ultimate Beginners Photography Guide

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The Black Light Studios

Welcome to the seventeenth and the last Chapter of Free Online Photography Course – The Ultimate Beginners Photography Guide.

I hope you have learned a lot from this Free Online Photography Course – The Ultimate Beginners Photography Guide Article Version. If you have read from Chapter 1 to 16, you have a very good idea about what photography is all about and how to be the best at it. Now, that you know a lot about photography as you started learning basics and honing your skills it’s about time to start earning as an artist through your photography skills.

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If you are a beginner photographer I bet these questions might have poped up in your head: How to land your first paid job? Or how to earn as a photographer? Or where to find paying jobs as a photographer? This is an article/chapter solely dedicated to answer these questions and especially meant for a beginner photographer. So, enough of this introduction part let’s get to the main goal of this article!

Landing your first job or a paid client is not an impossible task but as a beginner photographer it can be very ovherwelming. In order to land your first paid client or job as a photographer, there are nine important tips you need to keep in mind which I will explain you one by one below.

Just follow these nine important tips and tricks to land your first paid job or client as a photographer:

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9 Important Tips To Land Your First Paid Photography Job Or Client

This nine important tips will really help you to land your first paid gig as a beginner photographer. They are as follows:

  1. Purchase Camera And Necessary Equipments
  2. Identify Your Niche
  3. Take A Lot Of Photos
  4. Build An Amazing Portfolio
  5. Start By Family And Friends
  6. Make A Business Card
  7. Search At Online Job Search Sites
  8. Look For Job Ads In Newspapers And Magazines
  9. Attend Networking Events
Camera And Accesories

1. Purchase Camera And Necessary Equipments

First and foremost and an obvious thing to do in order to land your first paid client or job as a photographer is to purchase a camera and necessary equipments. If you are just starting out get an entry-level DSLR or a Mirrorless Camera and only buy extra accessories if necessary.

I recommend reading my article “Ultimate Guide On Buying Your First Camera, Lens And Accessories” which is solely dedicated for beginner photographer on buying their first camera, lenses and accessories.

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2. Identify Your Niche

Before applying for a job or finding your first paid client, it is important for you to know what your niche/genre of photography is. Just ask yourself, what kind of photography you like? Or what type of photography you are good at? It could be only one or it could be more than one. You just have to get better at your niche before deciding to start earning.

For example: If you like taking landscape photography, get better at taking photos of landscapes.

Photo by li shanting on Unsplash

3. Take A Lot Of Photos

As soon as you figured out your niche/genre of photography, it is time for you to start clicking as many as photos you can. What it will do is help you get better at your niche and also it will help you create your portfolio for applying for jobs and landing your first client. Also, by taking as many as photos you can you will also be able to get better at basics and improve your photography skills every time you click a photo.

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I highly recommend a beginner photographer for taking as many photos as possible because you can learn from an art school or by watching videos on youtube or reading an article just like this but you won’t be able to master those skills unless and until you do it yourself. Photography is an art and you can also consider it as a technical and practical field, for you to be successful only knowing information won’t do any good for you. You can only be successful in the world of photography by your practical knowledge and your photography skills.

Bottom line is, click as many as photos as possible for you to get better at your niche and improve your photography skills and basics.

Online Portfolio

4. Build An Amazing Portfolio

In order to land your first paid client or job as a photographer, it is very important to have an amazing portfolio. In your portfolio showcase only your best works and your first few images should have an impact on the viewer. Just make it sure you make it as simple as possible with a theme matching your photography skills and do not inlude thousands of photos, always remember “less is more”.

I recommend you to read my last article which is solely dedicated on building an amazing photography portfolio. Just click below if you want to learn everything on making an amazing portfolio.

Looking to create an online photography portfolio for, sign up at Pixpa. Use my discount code TBLS10 during checkout or https://www.pixpa.com/signup?refcode=TBLS10 click this link to get 10% off for your first year.

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5. Start By Family And Friends

While finding yourself a paid client or a job as a photographer, start by making your own projects. You can ask your families and friends if they need someone to take photos at certain events such as: birthday party or any family functions. This is also a great time for you to learn how it will actually be while taking photos on a job because there are times not everything is under your control and you have to make the best out of it.

So, you could say it could be your practice run for doing it for real while you land your first client or job. Also, remember before you start working for money you should be willing to work for free and the best way to do it is by asking your friend and families if they need any photos taken. Who knows maybe one of your mom’s friend might like your photos and actually hire you.

Business Card Example
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6. Make A Business Card

Now that you have started taking photos of your friends and families, after finishing the job just hand them your business card. Your business card doesn’t have to be very flashy. It should only contain your contact information and some social handles where they can see your work. If one of your siblings friend likes your photos your sibling could just hand over your business card and they will be able to contact you easily. This how you get the word out that the “new sheriff is in town“.

It will help you gain your identity in this world of photography which is full of competitions. Even if someone doesn’t want a photographer now, you should still give them your business card so that if in future they want to hire one, they will remember you first because they already have your contact information which is provided in your business card which will also save their time to search for a photographer. This will ultimately improve your chances for getting hired.

7. Search At Online Job Search Sites

We are living in a digital world and internet is a place where you can literally find anything or any kind of information you want. So, why not use it in our favor? Just search for jobs online at online job search engines to find out any new and and apply for the one that fits for you.

Search by keywords, for example: If you are a product photography, start by searching product photography jobs at online job search engines. Don’t worry too much about location because as I said earlier we are living in a digital world so there are also many photography jobs available for you to do for working remotely. There are also jobs that require you to go physically to a location, that is when you need to search by locations. That is why I recomment reading the description and responsibilities of the jobs before aplying for it.

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Here are some of the best online job search engines: Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Monster, Freelancer, upwork, etc.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

8. Look For Job Ads In Newspapers And Magazines

 Look for job advertisements near the back of newspapers and specialty magazines. Call or email the companies to inquire about the position. If you qualify for the position, send the company an email with a link to your online portfolio. If you do not hear back from a job within a week, then follow up on your application by emailing them again. If you still do not hear back from them, it is time to move on and check for another job.

9. Attend Networking Events

Attend as many events as you can to get your name and work out. Handout business cards to people you make connections with. Call or email your connections 5 to 7 days after the event. Invite them to lunch or after-work drinks to discuss your work and career goals. Find out about events through MeetUp, artist groups, business groups, your Chamber of Commerce website, local Professional Photographers of America (PPA) groups, and local SmugMug groups. This will help you gain exposure and people will know you mean business and not just someone randomly taking photos of anything.

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10. Bonus Tip

There are many employers who expect the photographer to have their own camera, accessories and necessary equipments and also some of them expect you to have your own lighting setup. I recomment you to visit Chapter 11: Importance Of Lighting In Photography for learning more about lighting and different types of lighting.

This is the end of Chapter 17: How To Land Your First Paid Photography Job of the Free Online Photography Course – The Ultimate Beginners Photography Guide. You can subscribe to The Black Light Studios website to stay tuned and get notifications on the upcoming chapters. In the mean time you can check my other posts on this website.

This is it for this post. Thank You! for visiting The Black Light Studios, I hope you find this article helpful to you and got the information you were looking for. Stay tuned for more posts like these by subscribing to The Black Light Studios website. If you have any suggestion or feedback comment down below or contact us through the contact form via contact menu.

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