This image tells the story of the foundation of my professional career as a photographer.
Although I’m doing any commercial photography, I love taking images of architecture, but had no idea how to make a living in this field.
My first camera.
The first thing I did, when I finally got the money for my first camera (it was a Canon 650d or Rebel T4i), I started to take pictures of random buildings. In hindsight these images very really bad, but my skills were improving to a decent level. I practised a lot, and I mean really a lot, a lot… If you want to read more about this story, find the next image of this building and read that caption.
I got something valuable!
After taking shots after shots with my kind of cheap camera (this is another story, I will tell you later), I contacted random real estate agents and asked them if I could take images of their houses for free!!!
Real estate agents are great, because they need tons of images to sell their objects and are more than happy, if they don’t have to pay anything. I hustled like crazy, always did my best, to impress the agents and deliver the best photos possible. I did many many jobs for free, not earning anything. No money for petrol, no money for my time on location, no money for post-processing, no money for anything.
But, I got something way more valuable…
Why networking is so important!
I started to build up my portfolio and even more important, my reputation!
Around a year later, without earning anything with my photos, word to mouth finally started to kick in. Real estate agents are networking a lot and finally an architect with a high reputation asked me to take pictures for his new website. Even though I had not a website or anything online, my real estate agents started to recommend me to their partners who were looking for a good photographer. For those who ask themselves how to get started as an architectural photographer, I have one advice.
Start working for free! It will change your business tremendously!
Seriously, it is a smart move, especially if you start with real estate agents!
These guys are networking geniuses and if you are looking more for high-end clients like architects or other commercial clients, the chances that these guys know somebody in this field are pretty high.
Just deliver your best work anytime you get hired for a job. Paid or unpaid. This building here was the first architect who became my client and it changed my business tremendously.
– Dominik Berg –