Do you remember the year, where it seemed like every other person owned a fancy DSLR or EOS camera? I do.
Almost overnight, everyone became a budding photographer. All Facebook photos suddenly had little watermarks in the corners of each photo in an album, usually in the format of “<first name> <last name> Photography,” or “<Initials> Photography.” Some of the watermarks were well made too, with light gradients and exclusively selected font styles – it was usually a pretty cursive font. The photography fad was seen across all age groups, but that’s what it was: a fad.
However, some people actually found a passion during that time. They honed their skills, found their interests, and continue to pursue photography in any way possible. Some as a hobby, or if they’re lucky, as freelance work.
So what do you need to become a freelance photographer in Dubai?
You need to love the art form to be successful. A career in photography isn’t easy to be successful in, so there will be a lot of hurdles along the way that you’ll need to have the motivation to jump over. Don’t get into it thinking you’ll make a quick buck. It’ll be a long time before you can start charging a premium for your services. Also be true to your own style. Every successful artist in every media has their own style, and that’s what makes them stand out from the rest.
Being social in this industry will take you places. Other than what you already expect to hear about the benefits of word-of-mouth, being social means you have more venues to be able to showcase your talent. Take photos at parties and events! Become the resident photographer at your favourite hangouts, and share on your social media accounts. Allow people to tag themselves in your photos, and build your network through events you’re photographing at. You’ll be enhancing your skills while you’re doing something you love, and that will eventually turn into an actual business lead. Becoming more social also gives you access to friends who would enjoy modelling for you – for free!
In any business you need to make investments to get a return in the long-run. Aside from spending on professional equipment you will need along the way such as new lenses, you need to invest your time. When doing freelance work on the side of a regular job (DEWA won’t pay itself), it all may become really overwhelming but you need to put in place a stringent schedule for yourself. Take time to do courses, get certified, and continuously strive to improve. It takes time, but it’ll pay off.
You need to become virtually fluent in copyright laws, releases, and contracts to protect yourself and your work. It also goes without saying that you need to factor in the culture values of the United Arab Emirates for your commercial work.
Build or buy a website for yourself. Start out small with a WordPress or Tumblr blog which is for free, then once it’s gained some popularity you can buy the domain. You could even start out as a Facebook Page if you’re more comfortable with that platform too. You would be able to easily build a fan base on Facebook and get your name out there. That’s how Humans of New York started, and look where it is now! It’s still a good idea to have a personal website showcasing your portfolio though to use in a professional context with prospective clients.
If you want to setup your own photography business in Dubai, contact us today. We can help you get photography license in Dubai.
Henri was born and raised in Lebanon and studied at University of Saint Joseph. He is an avid fan of extreme sports and RC car racing. He is fluent in French and Arabic, he has traveled extensively throughout the region and Europe for both for leisure and business.