You are afraid of being left without money, your loved ones do not understand you, and you can’t find the very author’s style in any way … These are just a small part of the challenges that you are likely to face if you decide that photography is more than a hobby for you. Yes, it will be difficult at first, but many have passed this path successfully. We talked to photographers shooting in various genres and found out what was the most difficult thing when they started, and what a beginner should prepare for if he decided to quit his boring job and go into photography.
Artem Arutyunov, works in the genre of architectural photography
— My journey began in the 9th grade. My friends and I were walking after school, and I saw that an incomprehensible cover was lying under the car. Joy knew no bounds: I thought that there was a telephone! But it turned out — Nikon Coolpix.
In 2016, photography made me grow. I started getting pleasure and recognition. Then I started a group on Vkontakte, where I posted my work: from flowers that I shot with macro lenses, to academic architecture, sculpture, and then urbanism. Now I’ve delved into minimalism and street photography.
I realized that my hobby became a profession when I began to devote all my free time from work in the office to creativity. It was important for me to find the author’s style, to immerse myself in the question of what I can do and show what my main chips are.
I switched completely to photography in 2018. But I consider it not a profession, but rather a craft. A profession is when you get only money, and I get both pleasure, and development, and money, and I also push myself to do something new. A photographer cannot be “preserved” in one genre — he will quickly run out of steam.
The hardest part of the journey as a photographer who is completely self-employed is finding stability, clients who help keep afloat and combine commerce and creativity. And then, in terms of severity, there is already a search for a creative path, overcoming the impostor syndrome, a crisis of self-realization.
For a beginner who wants to become a photographer and make money with it, I advise you to stock up on money for the first period so as not to feel constrained and tormented. There is nothing more disgusting than the feeling that you are running out of money. Because of this, you will think about returning to your previous comfort zone, doubt whether it was not in vain that you left the office.
If you take the intangible side, then decide what you are good at, what strengths you have. There is nothing more important than getting into a niche. You need to be able to show yourself to the audience that you are interested in, and not just to everyone in a row. The maximum coverage is possible when you are “a gamer on the pipe and special in everything”, but there are few such people.
Finding the author’s handwriting is the most important thing. There are many photographers, the sphere is full. Coming here with pink dreams in the hope that you will find your audience because you hold the camera in your hands is wrong.
Mikhail Shestakov, portrait painter
— I started shooting in the 7th grade, when I had a parental 1.5‑megapixel soap box. But I have been professionally engaged in photography since I was 23 years old. It’s hard to remember what genre I started with. When it’s a hobby, you shoot everything. Genres are comprehended after the fact, and not at the time of shooting.
Photography grew from a hobby into a job naturally and gradually. I never decided: “I will be a photographer and now I will start promoting myself.” I did photography for fun, just because I’m rushing from it, I love doing it. And at some point, friends and acquaintances began to ask if I could take pictures of them. People themselves have become willing to pay for what I do.
I would advise a beginner to be patient, practice as much as possible and not expect that after one, two or even ten shootings you will learn everything at once. Photography is a job to which one must devote oneself. If you are afraid of something and your desire rests on fear, then you need to deal with it. And all your life ask yourself: “Am I doing what I want?”
Nina Ippolitova, horror photographer
— The love for photography woke up when I was 6 years old. Then the first soap dish appeared at home, and I didn’t let go of it at all. Then, already in adolescence, social networks came, everyone wanted avatars for themselves. High school girls began to come to me, which for me was luxurious. Then I started taking money. When you are 13–14 years old and you get 300 rubles for a few shots — it’s very cool!
I have been working in horror style since 2016. Everything that was before, I reset and do not count as experience, because then I could not find myself and the clientele. My hobby turned into a job when it began to fully support me, and I went from a stable zero to a good plus.
At the initial stage, the most difficult thing was with the family. They didn’t want to understand what it was like to be a photographer. They said that this was pampering that could not provide for me, and not mine at all.
Another problem was that at first I worked in the red, and then, when it began to work out, I realized that this was not mine, I don’t like this style. And abruptly went into horror. Of course, the audience did not appreciate. They like fairies, princesses and light colors, but here — gloomy, horror, cold. I had to do it all over again: work in the red, increase the client base
If you look at my path, then I have one piece of advice: go ahead and never listen to anyone. Shoot what you want, because you can’t please everyone. Pay no attention to anyone at all!
Irina Zinchenko, works in the genre of “neat erotica”
— My journey began at school, when my mother bought me a camera. I photographed my first wedding in 9th grade. Then I had my own online store, I went into subject photography for a long time, but abandoned everything when I entered the medical university. There I realized that this was not mine either, and went into make-up.
I trained as a makeup artist and decided that I wanted to shoot again. At first, in 2018, I just photographed girls in the forests, and later switched to love stories. And one day I got a hot shoot in my style — neat erotica. And I realized that — mine! Now I am developing this direction, as I see a certain philosophy in it.
The hobby turned into work when I decided that from now on I take a very responsible attitude to photography, that I need to develop a client base, shoot a portfolio, and start developing social networks. I just collected a financial cushion, bought a camera, lenses, a laptop — and quit my office job.
The hardest thing was to break the patterns that were in my head. How the face should be lit, how bright the glare should be, that the horizon should never be filled up, and no “grain” is not of high quality! I was always drawn to cinematic, not staged, realistic, but in my head there were stupid catalog pictures, which I call postcard photographs. All this slowed down my development for a very long time.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and go beyond what you’re told. Train your unique vision and style right away. Believe in yourself, do not devalue your work. Well, promote yourself, of course, because the pictures that you hang in front of the table and do not show to anyone, no one will see!
Author: Lisa Chechevitsa