Being immersed in a subject and surrounded by others who are also engaged is invaluable. When you live and breathe photography daily, and your peers and instructors are pushing you to do more, it’s almost impossible to regress. Mainly introspective students will gain an enormous advantage from regular “crits.”

Back in the day, things were evident; if you wanted to become a photographer, you’d get a degree in the field. As in many other professions, formal education was required to gain experience, learn the technical aspects and obtain official certification.

Nowadays, you’ll have a hard time finding an employer or client who cares if or where you got your “proper” education; you no longer need to be a semi-engineer to take your photos or a chemist to develop them. Some level of experience can quickly be gained since everybody has a camera now (even dogs).

You’d think all that would lead to a clear cut answer for people asking if they should get a photography degree. However, as Ted Forbes explains, things aren’t so black or white.

Being immersed in a focused environment and being surrounded by people who are in the same boat as you and share the same passion is one of the reasons to decide to pursue the path of formal education.

You could make excellent connections at or through college, and while studying, there is another great advantage, you could, at the same time, make some of the best connections via the internet or through friends. 

The only definite benefit of a degree is that you will need one if you decide to teach. Most people won’t go down that path, though, and either way, a degree doesn’t guarantee you will get a teaching position.

On the flip side, getting a degree is a serious commitment. No more spontaneous photoshoots or field excursions – you’ve got a class to attend and an assignment to hand in.

Photography is everywhere. In today’s media-driven culture, we are constantly bombarded with imagery every single day. From the creative and alluring imagery used by advertising photographers on billboards and magazines to the hard-hitting world of editorial photography, the camera’s ability to record and manipulate the world around us creates an infinite number of aspiring opportunities for the photographer. Check out our extensive list of Wedding Photographers in Melbourne to help capture your special moments.

Like most other creative industries, photography is incredibly competitive and getting your foot on the ladder can be very difficult. More often than not, it involves a lot of hard work and dedication, but the chance to make a living out of your passion is what makes everything worthwhile.

Degree For a Career in Photography

Most people going into the business now are graduates. Completing a photography degree gives you the time and opportunity to experiment and develop your work, allowing you to build up a strong portfolio whilst gaining vital technical knowledge and receiving constant guidance. It is also a great place to make friends and contacts in the industry, which potentially gives you opportunities to set up work experience whilst you are still studying.

However, a degree is not always necessary in gaining employment. A diploma course will teach you the technical aspects of photography, and many employers value a good attitude and hard work over qualifications. Those people with a strong portfolio and a good head for business can become successful in all aspects of the industry.

Whatever your background and training, the most necessary item you need will be your portfolio. This is essential for showing prospective clients and employers your work. In most cases, if not all, your portfolio’s strength will determine if you are successful in securing the job.

Photographer’s Assistant

Do you need a degree to be a photographer

Many budding professional photographers decide to take the assistant route into the industry. This is often done on a freelance basis, and the assistant will usually work for several different photographers. Assistants hired by a single photographer permanently have traditionally been working in a similar role for many years. As an assistant, your job will generally involve:

  • Getting the equipment to the studio or location.
  • Setting up lighting.
  • Taking light meter readings.
  • Cataloguing and optimising digital files.

The assistant’s duties will also include:

  • Keeping records of exposures and lighting setups.
  • Entertaining the clients.
  • Generally ensuring the shoot runs smoothly and shielding the photographer from any disruption.

There are many benefits to taking the assistant route. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills from professional photographers whilst getting a vast and varied experience of the industry as a whole.

Freelance Photographer

If you think that the assistant’s route may not be for you, you may wish to go out on your own and become a freelance photographer. Freelance photographers can work in just about every photographic field, including specialist areas such as event and wedding photography, editorial or product photography.

Being a freelance photographer means that you work for yourself, taking on clients for photoshoots or creating and selling your fine art photography. Pretty much every business or entrepreneur out there will need photos at some point, whether it’s a professional headshot or product photos for their online store. And that’s not to mention all of the personal occasions that people might want to be commemorated through photos. As a freelance photographer, you get to choose what types of work you take on and turn down an assignment that doesn’t align with your style or interests. However, with the pros of becoming a freelance photographer come the cons of any freelance job, like dealing with filing freelance taxes, finding clients, and properly ensuring your camera gear and photography studio.

If you want to find out everything you need to know about becoming a freelance photographer and learn how to make money with your photography, this guide is perfect for you. Using the resources we’ve gathered, you’ll be ready to start your freelance photography business in no time.

Freelancing demands the ability to network. You need to market your skills and communicate well with potential clients. It is a hugely competitive field, and many photographers find it difficult to start. This is where the industry’s prior experience, gained through internships or working as a photographic assistant, can work to your advantage. However, despite the potential pitfalls, freelancing can be incredibly rewarding both creatively and financially.

Become a Successful Freelance Photographer

Whether you’re tired of working nine to five and want to transition your photography side hustle into a full-time gig or you’re just looking for something creative to do in your free time, becoming a freelance photographer could be the perfect solution. Not only will you be your boss, but you’ll also get to develop your artistic style and express yourself creatively, all while getting paid. However, becoming a successful freelance photographer takes more than just snapping a few smartphone photos and putting a filter on them. That’s why we’ve prepared this comprehensive step by step guide that will take you through everything from how to start freelance photography to making your online portfolio website, finding clients, and getting paid.

Choose Your Equipment

Let’s be honest: photography equipment can be costly, and if you’re a high-level professional photographer, it makes sense to invest in the best camera equipment you can get your hands on. But when you’re just getting started as a freelance photographer, there’s no reason to go overboard with spending on your first camera and accessories. Many retailers may offer refurbished camera equipment that will allow you to purchase a higher quality camera for a lower cost than brand new. If you don’t have the funds to buy any gear right now, don’t worry! Don’t use a lack of access to professional photography equipment as an excuse for putting off becoming a freelance photographer. You can still take some great photos with your camera phone—many smartphones are designed with high-quality photography in mind. Since you are just dipping your toes into photography and haven’t yet figured out how to make money as a freelance photographer, there’s no shame at all in practising by using what you’ve already got available. You can take a good photo with any level of photography equipment depending on the style you’re going for: even a cheap disposable camera can make beautiful art if that’s the aesthetic you want for your photos.

As you develop your photography skills and styles, you’ll start to understand what kind of camera gear might enhance your freelance photography. Once you decide it’s time to begin upgrading some aspects of your photography kit, most professional freelance photographers would suggest starting with some new camera lenses, lighting and camera lens filters. Even before you get your first photography client, you may find it helpful to use photo management software to keep your photoshoots organised.

While most become freelance photographers out of love for taking a good picture, being a professional photographer means doing a fair amount of post-production photo editing and administrative work too. Since you’ll want each photoshoot or project to feel consistent, it’s a good idea to set up systems for yourself when editing your photos, like using Photoshop actions to speed up your workflow.

There are so many different types of photography that you can choose from. While there’s no rush to choose just one to focus on in your freelance photography business, you may immediately notice that you’re more interested in investigating food, still life or product photography over portraiture. Go with your instinct on this, as you can quickly become burnt out if you try to dabble in everything.

In addition to practising your photography skills, now is an excellent time to get comfortable with your photo editing skills. Whether you’re doing wedding and event photography or shooting landscapes, you will likely find yourself using post-production for something with any digital photography. Taking a professional photo is the first step, but becoming a freelance photographer means knowing how to edit out any client blemishes and bring your colours to the next level with the right Lightroom presets.

Find Photography Clients

Now that you’ve established your freelance photography workflow and you have a good handle on things, it’s time to turn your attention to seeking out and securing awesome photography jobs. There are so many places to sell your photos online, but your priority should be setting up your online shop on your photography website. For clients to find your portfolio in the first place, you’ll need to make sure that you are making good SEO tools. Some website builders even have built-in SEO optimisation to save you the time and energy of figuring it out all by yourself.

Another big way that you can attract photography clients is through social media. Instagram is an excellent platform for sharing visual media, so use the proper photography hashtags to get those likes, comments and follows to start rolling in. You should also take a look at your Instagram bio and update it so that users can immediately tell what you do and what your brand is about.

And remember to have your photography contracts sorted out before you get to work! At Brighton Savoy, we have compiled a list of the Best Photobooth Hires in Melbourne to help you choose who captures your magical day.

Do You Need a Photography Degree to Be a Successful Photographer?

With the advent of cell phones with built-in cameras, it became easy for anyone to take photographs whenever they wanted. But having access to a camera does not automatically make someone a professional photographer. 

Degrees That Are Needed To Become a Photographer

Postsecondary education is not required for most photographers. However, many photographers take classes or earn a bachelor’s degree to improve their skills and employment prospects.

Classes You Need to Take to Become a Photographer.

Introductory photography courses cover equipment, processes, and techniques. Art school training in photographic design and composition also may be helpful.

Skills That Are Needed For Photography

Important qualities:

  • Artistic ability
  • Business skills
  • Computer skills
  • Customer-service skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Interpersonal skills

Tips To Become a Professional Photographer.

  • An aspiring photographer must choose what type of photography they are interested in pursuing. 
  • Next, the aspiring photographer must take courses/classes to learn about photography and specific courses connected to the particular type of photography they are interested in pursuing.
  • Finally, aspiring photographers should develop their skills and build their portfolio. According to the website, this can be accomplished by becoming an assistant to a professional photographer.

Other Sources of Photography Income

Do you need a degree to be a photographer

Photoshoots for companies or individuals aren’t the only way to make money as a freelance photographer. There are lots of ways that you can use the work you’ve already put into building a photography portfolio to earn money passively so that you can focus on new projects. Here are a few ideas for how to make money as a freelance photographer.

Sell Stock Photos

Many stock photo websites like Shutterstock allow users to sign up and submit their freelance photography. Then every time your work gets downloaded, you’ll receive a small portion of the proceeds. While you probably won’t make a tremendous amount of money from selling stock photography, it’s an excellent way to get eyes on your work and also have a little extra income coming in without too much effort on your part.

Sell Digital Downloads

Think about it: you’ve already got a stockpile of high-quality photography that’s just sitting there in your portfolio. Why not turn it into an income stream? You can list your photographs as digital downloads in your online photography store so that clients can support your career as a freelance photographer and get some great art for a lower cost than they can print at home.

Market to Your Audience

Now that you know exactly what type of photography you want to make and who your dream client is, you’ll be able to address them at every opportunity, so they’ll feel acknowledged and be drawn towards hiring you over your competitors. Every time you promote your art or post about being a freelance photographer on social media or your photography blog, write as if you are speaking directly to your ideal client. This will ensure that every move you make is designed to target the type of person to who your work will appeal and who will be more likely to book you because they resonate with your brand messaging.

Print on Demand

Another great way to bring in passive income in exchange for the time it takes you to upload and edit your designs is by using print-on-demand services. You can offer fine art prints as well as things like wall clocks, t-shirts, and bedspreads with your photography on them, all without having to invest a cent of your own money. If you list a print in your online photography shop, you’ll have to go through the effort of finding a reputable printer, ordering a test print, and coordinating shipment. With print on demand, you upload your designs, adjust them to the objects you are offering, and then go about your business as your portion of the sales starts pouring in.

Further Education

Even when you’ve been working as a freelance photographer for years, and you’ve got ongoing client projects, there is always so much more than you can learn when it comes to levelling up your photography skills. Many organisations offer free online photography courses, where you can pick up everything from tips on making the most of a new industry accessory to learning about the history of photography as a medium. You might also want to look into taking a free course that will help you to improve your photography marketing for free.


Yes, it takes more than access to a camera to become a photographer. What training is needed to become a photographer? With the proper education, which can mean earning a bachelor’s degree, and experience working with a professional photographer, it is an achievable goal. Here at Brighton Savoy, we have compiled an exclusive list of Wedding Photo Locations in Melbourne to help you decide on your special day.

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