Creative Careers: Building a Career as a Photographer


If you’re just starting to build your career as an equine photographer, you may find things don’t go to plan and that you make a few mistakes- it’s just the way things are with all small businesses, so don’t panic! I have compiled a list of top tips that can help you develop your successful equine photography business.

#1: Learn to shoot in manual mode as soon as you can:

If you know how to use your camera in manual mode, you allow yourself to have better control over the photographs you take. Learning how to adjust your camera when shooting in difficult light or at high speed gives you the upper hand when the auto settings don’t quite cut it. This will not only allow you to shoot quicker and take better shots, but you’ll save a lot of time editing your photos too.

#2: You’re not just a photographer:

You need to remember that your job roles stretch much further than simply taking gorgeous images. You are also the customer service representative, the marketing director, the book keeper, the branding responsible, the SEO, the CFO- but to name a few! I think you’ve got the idea…. But it is important to nurture these roles and pay as much attention to them as you do to taking great photos- the images won’t sell themselves!

#3: Be patient:

You may think that you’ll have lots of success in your first year without much effort- but you have to remember that nurturing the perfect, successful business takes a lot of time and effort! Its not all plain sailing, and when you feel as though you’re really struggling, you need to be proactive and analyse where you’re going wrong and what you need to focus on and improve- then wait for the results!

As the old saying goes, patience really is a virtue, but as long as you persevere and work hard at it, you’ll get there- I promise!

#4: People skills are vitally important:

Photography is a people business- no matter what field of photography you’re in. You need to know how to liaise with people, be it your clients; business partners; associates; suppliers (I could go on)… Once you understand how best to interact with these different groups of people, the more people will remember you and associate doing business with you as a positive experience.

#5: Purchasing unnecessary gear won’t solve your problems:

When you’re an equine photographer, it’s easy to convince yourself that new kit is the answer to improving your business. At the end of the day, a new lens for your camera is not going to earn you a six figure salary. Photographers are known for convincing themselves that fancy kit and the most expensive supplies are the answer to making your business run more smoothly. The key is to improve your skills with the kit you already have- chances are, its perfectly good enough, you just need to learn how to make the most out of it.

If you are about to invest in new kit, make sure it has a purpose. It needs to improve your photos sin some way, or it won’t be worth the investment.

#6: Branding is very important:

The branding you create for your business is vital for getting people’s attention and for getting people remember you. It is important to remember that during the early stages of your business, people don’t know who you are or what you have to offer. Good branding can give you an advantage over other equine photographers as it is a great way to really sell yourself and make yourself known.

Make it personal, bespoke and relevant- don’t design a brand that looks similar to another successful equine photographer’s- if it’s already been done, then stay clear and create something unique and personal to you that makes your business stand out.

A mistake many people make is to buy large amounts of packaging, brochures and business cards in bulk. This can be a mistake because you’ll hardly use it and you’ll be wasting a lot of money at the same time. It will only get used if you have got yourself a solid brand which you can be proud to market.

When starting your own career as an equine photographer, things can be tough. However, just put your business head on and stick to your plan. I hope you can take away some useful tips from this!