A new year. A new you. A determination and will to really do it this year. 'Live your dreams' they tell you at school.

That's great, but what's the best route to becoming a professional photographer. Do you enrol on a part or full-time photography course, look for an apprenticeship, look for a trainee job? Yep, these are all good options to get started; the problem however is that most keen photographers think they're good enough to set up their own business with little or no education, little training, no work experience and wonder why they're never able to give up their full-time job and actually make a living from photography, because that's what it'a all about...can you really make a living out of taking photos?



So here's my top 5 tips to make a start;

Learn - Enrol on a course, ideally a full-time course and study to Level 4 (HNC/HND).


Get work experience, once you've finished studying you may have a qualification but are you experienced enough to set up your own business. Go and get a job with a company, it doesn't matter what type of photography they do, just get out there and learn the industry for at least 5 years, try and work for different companies and look at the way they work and most important, learn how they actually survive as a business.


Take it all in. Whilst working for other companies you'll be getting yourself valuable experience and you'll realise it's not just about taking photos. Now that you have your photography qualification and you're getting work experience enrol on a business course, learn what it takes to run your own business. Accounts, marketing, managing and sweeping the floor and clearing the bins! 


Keep Fit! Seriously. This industry is tough, so look after yourself. It's one of my top tips. Remember an assistant costs money, so carry your own gear!


The above is a minimum 5 year plan. Most people that fast track won't learn the industry and simply won't succeed in the long run. Even the very best photographers.

I've been in the industry for over 30 years and spent over 15 years working for other companies before setting up my own business, it wasn't intentional, it wasn't planned, it just happened that way because I needed to be earning and living and I'm so thankful for it. But in my early years I worked 7 days a week, worked without pay to get experience, went from one job to the next and finally set up my own business. Now 24 years later I'm still here working 7 long days a week, still sweeping the floor and clearing the bins and working longer hours than ever, 70 hours a week are the norm.

It's tough and I mean really tough, constantly keeping up with competitors, wondering where the next job is coming from and are you ready for the onslaught that is social media? Keeping up with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pintrest is a full-time job in itself and taking numerous sales call everyday with people trying to sell you cheap phone deals and Google ads. 

Guys, welcome to the world of professional photography!

Don't get me wrong, I love what I do and rely on the people who work with me.....and that's another thing....managing people? Who needs it? Ask Jose..