How to Become a Professional Photographer in USA

(Almost) Everything you need to know about becoming a professional photographer.

If you want to dive headfirst into the exciting (and potentially lucrative) career of becoming a professional photographer, it’s important to recognize right out of the gate that you are jumping into as competitive and industry as there is and you’ll need real dedication to have the kind of success you are hoping for.

Photography used to be relatively simple and straightforward to break into, which sounds kind of crazy considering the fact that today we have so many gizmos and gadgets that capture photos – and so many opportunities online to share our photos – that it seems as though it should be easier today to get into the field than it ever used to be.


The ease of taking photos and sharing them with the world, however, has opened up a lot more competition than there ever used to be. Now you aren’t just competing with other people that want to become professional photographers, but also with those that are shooting amazing photos on their phone and sending them out on social media, capturing a lot of attention that way as well.

To give you a bit of an edge and advantage against the rest of the competition, however, we outline these tips and tricks that should help you boost your odds of success significantly. Let’s dive right in!

Focus on your photography skills before anything else

Understand this right out of the gate – there is no such thing as a “right way” and a “wrong way” to become a professional photographer, but the one thing that will separate you from the rest of the pack is the quality of the photography skillsphotos that you take and the quality of the photos that you share.


You need to develop your baseline level of photography skills as much as you are able to, especially early in your pursuit of this career. Learn as much as you can both in front of and behind the camera from online resources, college credits, and good old-fashioned books and tutorials and you’ll be much farther ahead of those that try and figure everything out all on their own or dive into the professional side of things on prepared with skills that just won’t translate to success.

Get your hands on quality – but inexpensive – equipment

At the very least you are going to need a quality camera, a handful of quality lenses, some photo editing software, and a couple of key accessories. At the same time, you don’t have to spend $25,000 or more outfitting yourself with camera equipment just to pursue this career.

Look for equipment that is used, a couple of generations old, and not featuring all of the new whizbang technology that brand-new cameras and photography equipment often includes and you will be able to save a bundle on amazing technology that would have cost a small fortune just a year or two ago.


Unless you plan on specializing in one very specific field of photography (thereby limiting your career prospects significantly), it’s a good idea to learn how to shoot all different kinds of photography in all different kinds of situations. This is going to provide you with an incredible education, not only in creating impactful photography but also in how to get the very most out of your environment and the equipment that you have available.

You’ll also pick up tips and tricks from shooting portraits that you can apply to landscape photography and vice versa, giving you the kind of flexibility and “skills library” you will be able to draw on for the rest of your career. In case if you travel to USA don’t forget about VISA or ESTA. Discover more here –

Partner up or go freelance

At the end of the day, you are going to need to actually dive into the business side of things when it comes to photography – either as an employee at an agency or an organization or out there in the world all on your own.

Should you go the employee route you have the opportunity to learn while getting paid, and you’ll also have the chance to learn some pretty solid photography and business habits from people that have already been there and done that. On the flipside, you won’t have a lot of freedom or flexibility, will be kind of limited when it comes to income potential, and may not be able to really explore the creative side of photography that you are most interested in.

The freelance route can be very exciting, very lucrative, and perfect for those that want to kind of go out on their own, but it definitely isn’t for everyone. You won’t have a safety net, you will be responsible for drumming up business AND handling the creative side of things, and some people just aren’t cut out for that.

Regardless of how you decide to go about getting into the world of professional photography, hopefully we’ve been able to shed some light on the subject for you so that you can really hit the ground running!

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