Creating Something From Nothing

Building Something from Nothing

Using little to no overhead

by Abel Garza 08/31/2019

I want to get into photography but have no money, no equipment, and no experience. How do I start?

Aspiring photographers will often say that want to take up photography but don’t have the experience or money for equipment. If you want to break into photography, there are many things that you can do now that requires little to no money and no experience. How is this possible, you may be asking yourself?

Contract Work

If you have a cell phone you have the resources available to start your career in photography. I don’t have any experience you may be thinking. One of the best ways to learn photography is by seeing it firsthand. When you see another photographer in action, you can learn much faster than just reading about it. Pick up your cell phone, turn off Netflix, Candy Crush and start calling some photographers and negotiate a discount for contract work. Have at least five photographers to start. One photographer for every day of the week. This will keep your options open and create the most leverage when scheduling your shoots. Like with most contract work and scheduling, you will have to be in continual communication with the client and the photographer who is doing the job. Have a backup to the backup. Remember the photographer works for you. The photographer is representing your company, so it is essential that the photographer has a good portfolio, great work ethic and represents your company in a professional manner.

Photography Experience

You may take it upon yourself to attend those shoots to make sure that everything goes smooth and of course to learn from the other photographer. If the photographer is experienced, they may offer some advice or even let you ask questions. For many photographers, this is not typically the norm as sometimes you have to be in the zone and outside questions may not be conducive to the shoot or may be uncomfortable to the client. But, if you communicate your shoot with the client, and the photographer explains that this could be something of a learning experience for everyone, then the client and photographer may be more inclined to doing something like this.

Money for Equipment

Now that you are establishing contract work with your clients, you are generating income and creating some revenue to purchase equipment. Your revenue is determined on what you can negotiate with the photographer and how often you schedule. The percentage may vary based on whether the photographer is doing the editing or if you are contracting the editing. You can get good editors by outsourcing, while relieving the photographer from additional time on the project which may be cheaper, or you may ask the photographer to edit the photos for an additional cost. You will have to look for quality editors. You can schedule as many or as few as you want during the week. The more you schedule, to more time it will take to communicate and organize, but the more money you will make.

Every photography session is different and with that offers a cornucopia of opportunities to learn. Contract work is a great way to start for a number of reasons, but the best reasons are that it allows you to start with just a cell phone, you keep your customers, find trends in the market and most importantly get referrals.  When you start talking to people on the phone you start to get a pretty good feel of where the market is. This is a unique opportunity to know what many people are unwilling to learn about their industry. You may learn that after 100 phone calls no one in your town even wants photography and learn this isn’t even a viable career in your area. You may find a niche and corner that market.

You may decide at one point that you are confident enough to start doing your own shoots and by then you will have the clientele, equipment, and experience to pursue your own jobs. So tell me again how you start with no money and no experience? Hard work! Now get up, get out and start.


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