You hear it all the time when it comes to career advice: “Follow your bliss and do what you love.” However, that’s naturally easier said than done, especially if what really gets your blood flowing is something creative like making music, painting portraits, or – of course – taking landscape photos.
Since there isn’t any one clear-cut path all working landscape photographers have taken to get where they are, it can be difficult to figure out where to start. Whether you’re interested in making a full-time living via your photography one day or you’d simply be happy making a little extra pocket money for the moment, the following are all things you should consider.
Lay the Groundwork
The first order of business is to start thinking like a professional. If you haven’t already, really start practicing your craft and making an effort to hone your skill. Upgrade your equipment if you can. If you do well in traditional education settings, take some classes. Most importantly of all practice, practice, and then practice some more. Start a portfolio of what you consider to be your best work and update it often. You’ll need a strong portfolio if you plan on presenting your work for consideration in person.
You’ll also want to build a website around your landscape photography sooner or later. Make sure you add written content as well as visual content to help generate traffic. A blog where you chronicle what you’re studying and learning on an ongoing basis is a great idea, as are standalone pages where you discuss your approach, philosophy, inspiration, and so forth. You should also offer prints for sale so those that are interested in purchasing your work can easily do so.
Start Submitting Your Work
Next, you’ll want to start getting yourself some exposure. Submit your photos to stock photo sites like Shutterstock or Fotalia. Stock photography can be hit or miss, but landscape photographs are always in high demand (especially if you have photos of famous or popular areas) and they can be an excellent way to make money if you’re good.
You should also consider submitting your photos to outlets that may not necessarily make you money, but will help you generate exposure that you sorely need if you’re just starting out. Enter photography contests, contact local newspapers, or get in touch with online publications that cater to your target demographic to help get the word out about what you’re doing.
Get Local Exposure
Don’t count out local businesses either. Your area is most likely full of restaurants, cafes, hotels, local gift stores, and more that would love a chance to display stunning photographs of local or nearby scenery. You can try to sell the photos to the owners of these venues outright or else offer to sell them through the establishment on a consignment basis.
Once you start to make a name for yourself, you can also advertise your services as a local landscape photographer and begin taking commissions. Do whatever you can to build up a resume, add to your portfolio, and accumulate some professional photography credits. They’ll come in handy when and if you’re ready to start submitting your work to print magazines, major newspapers, and more.