Become a Professional Photographer
Once you've made the decision to become a professional photographer, you need to be prepared to for the competitive nature of the profession. With so many talented and qualified professional photographers to choose from, you need to find a style, price range or specialty that sets you apart from the rest. Also remember, there are many amateur photographers who offer their services on a part time basis - but don't neccisarily have the credentials to call themselves professional. If you're really exploring the career option of becoming a professional, make sure you seek out the proper licensure or certification required for your state so you can play up that aspect of your professionalism. To become a true professional, you must possess an extensive knowledge of your equipment, lighting, the medium you're working with, and the vast array of people and objects you'll be photographing.
Your education is one of the most important things you want to consider in the transition from amateur to professional. Photography may be a form of art, but without proper training to fully educate you on the many difference aspects of photography, you'll always have more to learn. You definitely want to make sure you have comprehensive knowledge of films, film developing, chemicals, lighting, and composition. While experience is important too, you may not have a lot of experience if you're just starting out. Take this opportunity to offer your services free or discounted for family members, friends, and acquaintances. You'll gain experience, bulk up your portfolio nicely, get an understanding of working with all different types of clients- and probably learn a lot new things about professional photography.
There are many options for you to choose from to get the certification you need to be considered a true professional. Besides traditional certification, many online programs and alternative organizations will offer the coursework you need to get your certification. These types of programs may very well increase your chances of getting high-quality, high-paying work. Most certification courses require a presentation of your portfolio, and many will require you to seek out Continuing Education courses through the duration of your career.
There are many things you can do as a professional photographer - the options are virtually endless. You may enjoy wedding photography, pet photography or family portraits. You might take your photography skills down a more corporate avenue and work as a commercial photographer, or for a stock house. Make sure you thoroughly understand what's involved in each specialty before embarking on your exciting new career.