What they don’t tell you about professional photography

Get an insight into the world of professional photography – including the not-so-glamourous bits – with tips from photographers in the travel, fashion, food and family niches.

27 Aug 2019

There’s so much to love about photography. Whether you’re an avid Instagrammer, enjoy whipping out your compact camera on your trips abroad or have a serious talent for photography (and the equipment to boot, such as your favourite pick of Canon’s mirrorless cameras), tinkering behind the lens can be immensely appealing. So much so, that you might be looking to make photography your career one day.

But, is getting the best DSLR camera you can afford all you need to make it as a pro photographer? Probably not. Currys PC World partnered with photographers in the food, fashion, family and travel niches to get their insights into the virtues and vices of the industry. With reference to some notable photos they’ve taken throughout their career, they talk through the lessons they’ve learnt along the way.

If you’re looking to turn your hand to professional photography, their insights can help you figure out if this is the right path for you. After all, it’s wise to get everything in frame before embarking on a new career. So, here’s what life is really like as a professional photographer:

  1. It’s not just about taking photos

Travel, wildlife and nature photographer Richard Bernabe says “a misconception about the type of photography I do is that I’m out travelling and taking photos all the time. It’s not even close. The vast majority of my time is spent writing, planning, doing promotions, and marketing. It’s a business, just like any other career.” So, while you’ll need to enjoy taking photos, being a professional photographer also means dealing with (if not enjoying) the admin side of building a career (taxes, invoices, client meetings, etc.).

photographer in creek

  1. Photography can be exhausting

Hannah Harding is a family photographer and she says you’ll have to be relatively fit to be a good photographer. “I often find myself running around outdoors, or kneeling, sitting and lying on my stomach to get the perfect shot.” Richard concurs, noting that the sheer act of physically “moving your body from place to place and getting through airports and security can be an energy drain.” Fortunately, the adrenaline rush you get from nailing that perfect shot can quickly make it all worthwhile.

  1. You can’t take good photos by only taking photos

Being a professional photographer isn’t only about being able to take a good photo. You’ll need to “gain a deep understanding [of what] you’re photographing,” says food photographer Sid Ali, “or your photo won’t have the depth, meaning or story that makes an image powerful”. When it comes to food photography, this means learning how the food was made, where it comes from, the history behind it, and why you’ve been tasked with photographing it. The same goes for every photography niche; the more well-rounded your knowledge of the subject, the better your photos will be.

  1. Your clients aren’t just hiring a photographer – they’re hiring your creative vision

Fashion photographer Saurabh Dua notes that photography “requires far more planning than you’d expect, as well as vision and a great deal of creativity.” Sid concurs, noting that, even when you’re trying to turn your client’s brief into reality, it’s important to “think independently about the story you want to tell and plan how best to achieve it” – from getting the right equipment, understanding any limitations of the equipment, and setting the right mood. 

Canon EOS 2000D

That’s where the Canon EOS range comes in. Of note, the new Canon EOS 2000D. It’s the perfect starter DSLR for amateur photographers, offering guided modes, on-screen previews and settings advice with the Creative Auto mode and companion app. Packed with detail, depth and precision, the Canon EOS 2000D is a high-performance camera that could see you well on your way to becoming an excellent professional photographer.

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