8 Practical Tips for Advancing Your Photography Career
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Expand your photography knowledge
  2. Develop a unique style
  3. Create a professional portfolio
  4. Network with other photographers
  5. Submit your work to competitions
  6. Gain experience through internships
  7. Update your photography equipment
  8. Learn how to market yourself

Photography is a fascinating field, full of creativity, beauty, and the opportunity to capture moments in time. But how about turning this passion into a thriving career? If you're wondering how to improve photography for career advancement, you're in the right place. Here are 8 practical tips that can help you step up your game and advance your career in photography.

Expand your photography knowledge

Your first step should be to expand your photography knowledge. The more you know, the better your shots will be—and that's a big part of how to improve photography for career advancement. So let's break this down:

  • Understand the basics: Study the fundamentals such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. These are the building blocks of photography and understanding them will give you more control over your images.
  • Explore different genres: Whether it's landscape, portrait, wildlife, or sports photography, each genre requires different skills and techniques. Exploring different types will not only make you more versatile but also help you find your niche.
  • Master post-production: Learning how to edit your photos using software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop can significantly enhance your images. It's not just about fixing mistakes, but also about bringing your creative vision to life.
  • Learn from others: There's a wealth of knowledge out there. You could follow photographers you admire, read photography books, or even enroll in online classes on platforms like Udemy or Coursera.

Remember, photography is a continuous learning process. The more knowledge you gain, the more you'll be able to bring your creative vision to life—and that's a surefire way to advance your photography career.

Develop a unique style

Now let's move on to the next tip: Developing a unique style. Yes, it's easier said than done, but it's a key aspect of how to improve photography for career advancement.

Imagine you're scrolling through a sea of images on a social media platform. What makes you stop and pay attention to a certain photo? What makes it stand out? It's the unique style of the photographer that catches your eye.

But how do you develop your own unique style? Here are some tips:

  • Experiment: Don't be afraid to try different techniques, perspectives, and editing styles. Experimentation is the key to discovering what you like and what resonates with your audience.
  • Find your passion: What do you love to photograph the most? Is it the serene beauty of landscapes, the raw emotions of portraits, or the vibrant colors of street photography? Your passion will drive your style.
  • Consistency: Once you find a style that you like, be consistent with it. This doesn't mean you can't evolve or try new things, but a consistent style will help you build a recognizable brand.
  • Reflection: Regularly review your work. Look for patterns, themes, and elements that appear repeatedly. This can give you clues about your unique style.

Developing a unique style can take time, but it's worth the effort. It's what sets you apart from the crowd and helps you make a mark in the world of photography. So, keep shooting, keep experimenting, and let your style shine through!

Create a professional portfolio

Next up in our journey of how to improve photography for career advancement: crafting a professional portfolio. A portfolio is much more than a collection of your best shots. It's the face of your brand, the first impression you make on potential clients, and a showcase of the unique style you've developed.

So, where do you begin? Let's break it down:

  1. Selection: Your portfolio should only include your very best work. Make sure the images you select align with your unique style and show off your skills as a photographer.
  2. Organization: A well-organized portfolio is easy to navigate and allows viewers to appreciate your work fully. You can organize your portfolio by theme, style, or project.
  3. Presentation: How you present your work matters. High-quality prints, a professional website, or a sleek digital presentation can all make a difference. Remember, your presentation should reflect your brand and style.
  4. Feedback: Don't be afraid to ask for feedback. Show your portfolio to other photographers, mentors, or even friends and family. They can provide valuable insights that can help you improve.

A professional portfolio takes time and effort to build, but it's an investment in your career. It can open doors for you and help you make a name for yourself in the photography industry. So, take your time, put in the effort, and create a portfolio that truly represents you as a photographer!

Network with other photographers

Alright, you've got an impressive portfolio. What's next on the list of how to improve photography for career advancement? Networking. We know, it sounds all corporate and formal, but we promise it's not as scary as it sounds. In the photography world, networking is simply about building relationships with other photographers.

Why is this important? Here's why:

  1. Learning: Other photographers are not your competition, they're your classmates. You can learn so much from them — different techniques, new perspectives, the latest trends. So, grab your camera and start making friends!
  2. Collaboration: Ever heard the saying, 'two heads are better than one'? It's true in photography too. Collaborating with other photographers can lead to some truly amazing work. Plus, it's a lot of fun!
  3. Support: Photography can be a tough career. There will be days when you feel stuck or uninspired. Having a network of photographers means you'll always have someone to turn to for advice, feedback, or just a friendly pep talk.
  4. Opportunities: Your network can also open up new opportunities for you. They can recommend you to their clients, invite you to collaborate on projects, or even offer you jobs.

So, don't be shy. Start attending photography meetups, workshops, and events. Join online photography communities. Reach out to photographers you admire. Not only will it benefit your career, it will also enrich your journey as a photographer.

Submit your work to competitions

Now that you've built up your network of fellow photographers, it's time to throw your hat in the ring. Or should we say, your lens cap? One of the most effective ways to improve photography for career advancement is to submit your work to competitions.

There's a good reason for it. Let's see:

  1. Exposure: Winning a competition can give you the kind of exposure that's hard to get any other way. Your work could be seen by thousands of people—including potential clients or employers.
  2. Validation: There's no denying it—winning feels good. It's a validation of your skills and hard work. And, let's face it, who doesn't like a bit of praise now and then?
  3. Challenge: Competitions push you to step outside of your comfort zone. You might experiment with a new style, tackle a difficult subject, or push the limits of your technical skills. It's a great way to keep growing as a photographer.
  4. Feedback: Many competitions provide feedback on your work. This can be incredibly valuable. It gives you a fresh perspective on your work and can highlight areas where you could improve.

So, start searching for photography competitions that align with your interests and style. Whether it's a local contest or a prestigious international competition, it's an opportunity to get your work out there and see how it stacks up. Remember, the goal isn't just to win—it's to learn, grow, and advance your photography career.

Gain experience through internships

So, you've been nailing those photography competitions and are eager for the next challenge? Well, buckle up, because internships are a fantastic way to improve photography for career advancement.

Internships work like a backstage pass to the photography industry. You get to see the ins and outs, and perhaps more importantly, the ups and downs of the field. Let's take a look at what makes internships such a valuable experience:

  1. Real-world exposure: Internships offer hands-on experience that you can't get from a classroom or a YouTube tutorial. You'll be part of real projects, dealing with real challenges, and celebrating real successes.
  2. Connections: Remember when we talked about networking? An internship is networking on steroids. You'll be working side-by-side with professionals, learning from their experience, and making connections that can help propel your career.
  3. Portfolio material: The work you do during an internship can be a valuable addition to your portfolio. It shows potential clients or employers that you've got experience and aren't afraid to roll up your sleeves.
  4. Skills development: During an internship, you'll likely be exposed to new techniques, equipment, and styles of photography. This is a perfect opportunity to expand your skill set and continue your journey toward becoming a well-rounded photographer.

So, don't hesitate to apply for internships. They may be an intimidating step, but they're an incredibly effective way to improve your photography and advance your career. And who knows, you might even land your dream job through an internship!

Update your photography equipment

Let's face it, even the most talented photographers can't produce top-notch work with subpar equipment. As the saying goes, "A poor workman blames his tools", but even a good workman can't do much with a broken hammer. This is why updating your photography equipment is a key step when considering how to improve photography for career advancement.

Now, this doesn't mean that you need to rush out and buy the most expensive camera on the market. Instead, consider your needs and invest in equipment that will help you produce the best work possible. Here's a quick rundown of what you might want to consider:

  1. Camera: This is the heart of your setup. Look for a camera that suits your style and needs. Whether you're shooting landscapes, portraits, or action shots, there's a camera out there for you.
  2. Lenses: A good lens can make a world of difference in your photographs. Consider the type of photography you do most and choose a lens that complements it.
  3. Tripod: A sturdy tripod can help you capture sharper images, especially in low light conditions. Plus, it can help with composition and framing.
  4. Lighting equipment: Good lighting is crucial for great photography. Think about investing in some studio lights, reflectors, or even a good flash.
  5. Post-processing software: Even the best photos can usually benefit from a little tweaking in post. Software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop can help you to bring out the best in your images.

Remember: the best equipment is the one you know how to use. So, invest in good gear, but also invest time in learning how to use it. This way, you'll be on the right path to improve photography and advance your career.

Learn how to market yourself

Now that you've honed your skills and updated your equipment, it's time to step into the spotlight. The next critical step in learning how to improve photography for career advancement is to become your own best promoter. After all, a beautiful photo is just a picture until someone sees it.

So, how do you get your work seen? Here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Create a website: Your website is your virtual storefront. It's where you can showcase your portfolio, share your story, and connect with potential clients. Keep it clean, professional, and easy to navigate.
  2. Be active on social media: Social media is a powerful tool for photographers. Use it to share your work, engage with your audience, and build your brand. Remember, consistency is key!
  3. Network: Join photography groups, attend industry events, and connect with other photographers. You never know where your next opportunity might come from.
  4. Develop a unique brand: What makes you different? What's your style? What's your story? These are the questions that will help you stand out in a sea of photographers.
  5. Keep learning: The world of photography is always evolving. Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques to keep your work fresh and relevant.

Remember, marketing yourself is not just about selling your work. It's about sharing your passion for photography and connecting with those who appreciate it. It's about building relationships and creating opportunities. And most importantly, it's about showing the world what you have to offer.

So, don't be shy. Put yourself out there and let the world see your work. After all, the first step to improving your photography career is to start.

For those of you looking to take your photography career to new heights, we highly recommend the workshop 'Taking Risks To Further Your Career' by Sarah. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights on embracing risks and pushing boundaries to advance your career in the competitive world of photography.