There’s a lot more to having a career as a professional photographer than taking great photos. The way your day looks will vary depending on whether you’re a studio photographer, a portrait photographer, a landscape photographer, or an events photographer, and whether you work alone or as part of a team.
Another thing to bear in mind is that there is never a ‘typical’ day and you almost certainly won’t be working a standard 9-5 job! Every shoot is unique, and there is also a lot of work involved before and after the photography session. To thrive as a professional photographer you will need to be motivated, disciplined and flexible about your work.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you might do during a day, as a professional photographer.
On the shoot
Depending on the kind of shoot you’re doing, you may have to get started very early to make sure you’re on location and set up to make the most of your shooting time and the available light (if you’re working outdoors or with natural light). Alternatively, you might be working late into the evening, depending on your client’s requirements.
Before you set out for the job, you’ll check and double check your equipment—especially confirming that you have enough fresh memory cards and fully charged batteries!
When you get to the location, as well as setting up your equipment, you’ll most likely meet with the others involved in the shoot (client, model, assistant) to discuss what will happen during the session. It’s good to have a plan so that everyone involved knows what to expect in terms of time, breaks, and what sort of images you are trying to capture.
Now for the fun part — getting behind the camera and getting some great shots. As well as composing your photographs and thinking about light, aperture and F-stops, you’ve got to relate to the people being photographed, getting them to relax and take your direction.
Depending on the type of shoot, you could be working for one hour or several. But once the photography and pack up is finished, there is still plenty left to do!
After the shoot
First of all, you’ll back up everything! Then it’s time to sort through the many photos you’ve taken. Once you’ve selected the best of the bunch, you’ll do any post-production work required in Photoshop, then send the final images to the client.
Getting down to business
If you work on your own and don’t have anyone helping with admin, there are the nuts and bolts of business that have to be attended to, including reading and answering emails from potential/current clients, handling bookings and scheduling in work for the weeks ahead. You also need to invoice clients and possibly chase up unpaid invoices.
You’ll also put some time into planning your next shoot, working on and updating your portfolio, and making sure all your expensive equipment is maintained with cleaning and servicing.
As you can see, being a professional photographer is a full and busy job, but it can be incredibly rewarding when you get those great shots and fantastic feedback from happy clients.