I am hoping someone can give me some pointers and a little direction. I love photography and I am currently in a rut career wise. I would love to start on a path to make a living of some kind from photography and want to get an idea as to the best way to start.

I am happy to be labelled a complete novice and would like to know the best courses that I can enrol on to learn nthe basics. I have a digital SLR and an eye for a photo (I think anyway!) and a genuine love for photogaphy and in a perfect world when it all works out I would be doing portraits/landscapes, but that's a way away just now.

So if anyone can recommend a great course and offer advice I would be really grateful. I live in London so courses local to that would be preferable.

Really hope to get some feedback and thanks in advance.

  • Its all down to money. courses cost money, advertising costs money. I have some of the best kit available but cant get any jobs in because i cant afford to advertise... Aug 5, 2013 at 20:24
  • I haven't experienced any trouble with money regarding advertising for the sort of things I do. Get to grips with your camera. Portrait landscapes is tricky since there isn't a lot of overlap (studio vs wilderness)! For landscapes, simply go out and get as much practice as possible with tips you have picked up from internet walk-throughs. Put together your portfolio and then send photos off to the relevant agencies and see what they think. There are a few guidebooks to freelance photography that cover which agencies to send to. Avoid prize based photo competitions.
    – James
    Aug 6, 2013 at 1:40
  • This blog post by rfusca may help a little. Aug 6, 2013 at 5:59
  • @GoodGravy - can you name these books? Aug 6, 2013 at 7:44
  • whosoever voting for closing the question, please indicate your reason
    – K''
    Aug 6, 2013 at 13:20

4 Answers 4


Read this guide by Ken Rockwell: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/go-pro.htm

is totally enlightening...

If you don't have time to read it, let me summarise it: do not go professional.

The article a little bit dream shattering, but the sad truth is that very few people can make a living with photography (many try and most struggle), if you really like photography it's more enjoyable as a hobby than as a profession.

  • 1
    This article is a true masterpiece of advice) Thanks for sharing, and +1 with no doubts!
    – Peter L.
    Aug 6, 2013 at 8:02
  • by far one of the most interesting articles about starting business in photography i've ever read. Thanks!
    – K''
    Aug 6, 2013 at 15:11
  • one of the most gripping quotes I ever got from a pro photographer: After 20 years as a pro, I hate photography but I can't stop as it's all I know how to make a living.
    – jwenting
    Aug 7, 2013 at 5:12
  • 1
    Seriously guys? You're giving advices to people NOT to go pro because someone on the internet just couldn't? Countless times I have seen KRW getting bashed about his bizarre reviews and here I see link to advices from him? And is there not a single person on stack community who is a full time pro and earning his living entirely through photography? Well if there isn't, I am one. I'm a full time professional and I only do ONE genere of photography, do not teach or have workshops (yet) and yep, earning.
    – Rish
    Aug 7, 2013 at 12:40
  • 1
    @fortran But that's true for every other profession right? Anyone can pick a guitar and claim themselves musicians. There's nothing wrong with that. But are they gonna produce some world class music? Maybe, if they try. And try real hard. Have talent and be fearless enough to go out and tell people who they are while having enough minds to create a business. Everyone started like that. Had they came across such advices, their confidence would've got a huge hit even before starting. Failure is an end for most but a starting point for many as well.
    – Rish
    Aug 7, 2013 at 12:56

Being a professional photographer is not about taking great photos. Its about running a business. It requires that you sell your services. If you are not comfortable doing sales, you are not going to succeed.

Watch this video from Zack Arias, he describes what he did the first time he tried to be in the business. There is a long list of mistakes, starting with thinking that equipment mattered.


Its a business. You have to manage and run a business. You have to be the boss.

Look at all the very talented professional photographers who have extensive blogs, Google+ pages, website, and do training. There is a reason they are doing this: there isn't enough paying work to support them purely as photographers.

  • and many of those will have side jobs (well, actually their main source of income) as tour guides, lecturers, authors, etc. etc.
    – jwenting
    Aug 6, 2013 at 5:06

I would personally start with some basic to advanced art course on photography and some courses in business. You could probably get started even with a simple community college. I'm sure there must be generally good options around London. You could also look for local photography groups that may have training in the area that might be cheaper than a full blown college course.

The real key is more to master the business side of it than the photography side, but also to know the photography side well enough that it doesn't require thought. A professional photographer is a businessman that provides a service and that service just happens to be making images with his tools (camera, lenses, lighting, etc). You need to know the tools and running a business.

If going after the business side of things isn't something you want to do, you can try to get involved with a local photography business, but you would need to look in to what their specific educational and experience requirements are. Some might be willing to have you along as a second shooter, but others may want more formal training or experience first.

Offering to intern with someone that can show you the ropes might also be a decent option as long as you have decent enough equipment to do the job and know how to stay out of their way while learning and practicing.


In my non-existent recent experience you can count on diyphotography.net for gear ideas, on the strobist.blogspot.com.ar for learning light, and with some of that new make-shift/make-do knowledge to look at amazing looking pictures from other people.
And most of it cost little to nothing!

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