How to Become an Art Photographer


Art photography is a creative and fulfilling art form that many people attempt to become successful in, but few reach success. To become an art photographer, one must be dedicated, creative and possess a certain amount of technical knowledge.

  • Attain a camera, either a digital or a film camera. Learn the basics of camera operation so you can begin cataloging your ideas visually.

  • Personalize a vision for your art. Find something that you love and take lots of pictures of it. Tell a story through a series of pictures that you take to test your ability to create a mood through your photography.

  • Enroll in a photography class at a learning institution in your area; often many art studios and museums offer inexpensive or novice classes. Also, learn the basics of film developing and camera operation.

  • Experiment with lighting and subjects. Create a style that is uniquely your own, something that cannot be duplicated and you can call your signature. Investigate other art photographers to find their niche and how they got their start in the industry.

  • Display your art for others to see in the attempt to sell your work. Look for various forums to post your copyrighted artwork so your work will be viewed by a larger audience. Sometimes restaurants and stores will display or purchase your art for aesthetic reasons.

  • Compile a portfolio of work that you will show to potential buyers and agents. Network and showcase your skills to museums, gallery owners and even other photographers. Get your name and work in the minds of those who can advance your career.

Tips & Warnings

  • Set realistic goals for your art career. Decide where you want your art displayed and work toward getting your photographs displayed in those places.
  • Photography journals are wonderful resources for exposure for new artists. Submit your work to as many journals and periodicals as possible so you can start building a resume worth displaying to potential galleries.
  • Research the kind of camera you want before you purchase one, and make sure that it is on your skill level. Digital camera technology has its limits and is not as widely appreciated in the art photography filed as film cameras are. Be aware of your limitations in regards to your camera.
  • Build a strong portfolio of work that shows a range and studied discipline. This portfolio will be impressive to gallery owners and agents,and it is your single most important part of your art photography career.
  • Be professional and run your art like a business. This is the only way you will make money for your art. If necessary, hire a lawyer for any legal issues or business questions.
  • Do not invest thousands of dollars in a camera and various equipment if you do not plan to pursue a career in this field. Start with a basic camera that is simple to learn and easy to manipulate. Graduate from it as you become more skilled.
  • Be wary of online photography or art contests that promise thousands of dollars after paying an entry fee. Check the reputability of these contests and sites before sending any money to them. Ensure that you work has some form of copyright or indication of your ownership.

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