Photographers go through many different phases as they are building their careers. Sometimes we are swamped and busy beyond belief and sometimes we sit around twiddling our thumbs fearful that we have forgotten something we should be doing. Free time isn’t free in this business. If you are sitting idly then you are wasting your time and money. It’s time to make your time work for you from the very start and here are a few ways to do just that.

Make Rewarding Relationships

High school

is where it all starts. Even if you hadn’t discovered your talent or passion for photography in high school, I think we can all agree that if we had leveraged this time a bit more than we would have been better off. We can all think back to a teacher in high school that helped us discover something about ourselves that we still remember to this day. This is the start of learning to utilize those relationships. High school teachers, especially those in the arts, have been around the track before. They have lived a life and gone to college and worked other jobs, most likely. Use them and their knowledge to find contacts and make your photography learning curve faster and smoother.


is where it continues. For some of us, college was when we learned a little more about ourselves as a creative and started considering this photography thing as being part of our journey. College professors are an invaluable source for you. Much like your high school teachers, they have contacts and experiences from which you can learn immense amounts of knowledge. Sit with them, talk about their journeys, and learn what mistakes they made and what they learned. Your college education may be about you getting that degree. It’s about learning through relationships you make, too. There are a number of photographers out there today that were aided by a teacher or professor to snag their first job out of school. These people know a lot more than just curriculum. They have experiences that may often change our lives.

Learn To Be Irreplaceable

It might be scary at first but you have to find ways to put yourself and your work out there. If you find yourself sitting around jobless, whether you are still in school or not, don’t waste your downtime. Learn something new by pushing your work out there. This will help you find your edge when you finally land that dream job or start your own business.

Enter contests

You can be submitting your work to contests. This will tell you a lot about your work and it’s a great way to thicken your skin to criticism. This could even become a small stream of income if you get good work out there. It puts your work up against others for thousands of eyes to see and will gain you some exposure simply by the submission. Winning is an added bonus, but it’s the process that will give you better lessons.

Study new tools

Another way you need to avoid perishing in this field is to learn about the tools photographers are using. Maybe this starts as simply mastering all aspects of your own camera and renting other equipment to learn and master. A photographer that can work with any camera or lens is just one of many ways to make yourself irreplaceable. Practice Photoshop or Lightroom and master the technical side of photography because current professional photographers are from a completely different generation than you and the tech side may be a weak point for them. Mastering someone else’s weakness will make you a priceless asset.

Exhibit your work

3. Find galleries near you and see about putting in some of your work. This is just another hurdle of publishing work that will need to be overcome before you are ready to be a pro. If you cannot put your own work into these galleries, just walk through them. Any in your area is good. Find ways to build a base of inspiration and ideas for yourself. Jot down ideas and images that catch your eye and spark your imagination.

Minutes Turns Into Money

Photographers are notoriously busy people anyway and that’s because they know that time is too valuable of a resource to be wasting. There is time, of course, for family and other commitments, but this passion of yours will never sleep. Finding ways, little ways to put together a foundation of knowledge and experience will help you land those first few gigs will give you the edge you need when you are ready to take your own business to the next level. Make your free time make you money.