Becoming a Professional Photographer

I received this email today and it's not the first time someone has asked me these questions. I thought I'd answer her on the blog  incase there is someone else wondering the same things.

I have been reading your blog for about a year and you always give such great advice to beginning photographers so I was wondering if you could help me out as well. I just moved to a new area (Milwaukee, WI) and after being unhappy with my job I've decided to turn my photography hobby into a career. I'm just getting started and am only shooting with a Canon PowerShot SX20 IS until I can save up for a DSLR in the next few months. What advice do you have for building a portfolio and experience as a beginner on a budget? Most classes I've looked at require a DSLR and most photographers need a portfolio before they'll consider you as an assistant. I would really appreciate any recommendations on how to overcome these hurdles or other advice for a beginner that you could give me.
Thanks so much for your time Noemi!!
Here's the explanation I give at all my workshops:

Phase One Take Pictures - Sounds simple but, it's true! The more you take the faster you'll grow. Learn your camera - Learn how you learn best! Use the internet free resources. Shoot for free - You have to prove yourself first! Build your portfolio - As you shoot for free, compile 1-2 shots from each shoot and store them in a portfolio folder. Show your work - You're going to need constructive criticism in order to fix mistakes Keep Learning - ask questions and offer to assist any photographer willing to teach you.

Phase Two Start charging -Entry Level Raise your prices when you have too much work Start blogging or website Get your information out there - referrals work Any new type of shooting do for free to build your portfolio Get to know other photographers - have them look at your pictures Keep Learning

Phase Three Make it lucrative - look at what competitive pricing in your area Know your competition Know what you unique Be confident on your camera and with people Update your portfolio Work on Branding, Marketing, Reputation Get to know other Professional Photographers - offer to assist for free and learn from them. Looking into WPPI or other teaching venues

Tara, I hope this is helpful! Definitely get a DSLR as fast as you can and up grade the lens soon after that! I wish you all the best! Love, Noemi.

Noemi Hedrick

Noemi Hedrick is a passionate wedding and portrait photographer based in Minneapolis. Noemi loves capturing the beauty inside every person. Her vibrant energy for life, love and family are grounded in her own values and loved ones. Noemi has been proudly serving as a wedding photographer for over 15 years and also offers a wide range of photography workshops for professional and amateur photographers.