Nov 08, 2022
World Photography Day 2022: 4 Lessons From Photographers On How They Went Pro
Ask a professional photographer why they started on this career path and you won’t hear the same answer twice. No two photographers feel the same calling, but there is always one thing in common: no one ever did it for the money.
Photography is an art. It is defined by passion, and it’s a common misconception that passions do not make for realistic careers.
On World Photography Day, Hostinger is celebrating our customers who took matters into their own hands, dared to dream, and proved how to transform passion into profession.
Patrícia Devoraes – Build Your Community
“I had conversations with professionals until I really got to grips with the profession and understood that’s what I wanted for my life.”
Patrícia Devoraes works in stage photography. Her job is to capture the communal energy of a live show and distill that into a single image – it’s no mean feat.
Each day is spent hunting for organic moments in preprepared routines and having the patience and intuition to capture their essence. Yet, it wasn’t even until after her second stint at college that Patrícia actually studied photography.
Inspired by conversations with her friends, Patrícia’s talent for communication brought her into a new community of professional artists. Even while learning the ropes, Patrícia understood that publicizing her art among that community was the key to professionalization.
She created a photography website with Hostinger and started building a portfolio. Grouping and sharing event photography hosted on a professional website paid off, and Patrícia soon found herself immersed in a niche community of like-minded professionals.
Each type of photography comes with its own challenges. While Patrícia’s setting changes every single day, her guiding virtues are patience and intuition.
“It’s all about the artist’s vibe on the day, the ambience, and the story they create on stage. Once I have that, I am always searching for emotion.” While those situations can change in the blink of an eye, Patrícia has learned to take to her time.
“Be patient because sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes the conditions determine the outcome of the work, but I still know I did my best at that moment. I learn from it, and I plan ahead so that the next time such a thing happens, I know how to find a solution.”
Patrick Silveira – Invest In Your Craft
“I wanted to know how to tell stories with images. I started to pay more attention to style, consistency, and themes.”
Patrick Silveira calls his style “Urban Nature,” an umbrella term for travel, street, architecture, or documentary photography, linked by the idea of capturing and juxtaposing impressions of lifestyle and what it might mean around the world.
Outside of a few teenage classes, Patrick’s eye for a picture is mostly self-taught. The turning point came when he bought his first DSLR camera – one investment led to another. After taking a few courses to understand the technicalities of essentials like studio lighting and color editing, it was clear that this was his path.
While a level of technical knowledge is imperative to becoming a professional, Patrick continues to find inspiration in the basic principle of paying active attention. Learning how to read between the lines and understanding how to evoke those nuances often reveal the core elements of an image that inspires emotion.
It’s one thing to take a camera to an interesting place and observe the interactions, but Patrick is a storyteller. His images embody dramatic structure, and nothing drives narrative like conflict. Documentary, war, and portrait photography were early inspirations – timeless vignettes eternalized at shutter speed, capable of epitomizing such vast complexity in fragments of no more than 4×6 inches.
A good enough storyteller only ever needs three things: a subject, a medium, and a setting. Patrick’s stories evoke life, and while social media breeds volume, it sacrifices deeper interest. “Social networks like Instagram rely heavily on constant attention due to algorithms. It’s all very fast, momentary, and is designed around little attention. Websites are slower places where you can write and tell stories. Artists that have the attention to prepare a website demand a different kind of engagement from me. I created my own website with WordPress on Hostinger’s Business Shared Hosting plan. The focus is on the image, and it is designed to be simple and practical.” In his photography, he is clear that it is important to pay attention to his own emotions.
That’s why taking the time to question why something seems curious, feels beautiful, or interesting allows him to act fast in the moment. “Always have a camera on hand. Don’t worry so much about taking a technically perfect photo because the most important thing is to record good stories.”
Pedro Francescon – Take Your Chance
“I only became a photographer 9 months ago, but I’ve always seen my eyes as a camera.”
Pedro Francescon is an inspiration to anyone who has ever wanted to pick up a camera. He takes pictures of “everything.”
A chance encounter with a photographer friend resulted in him buying his first high-quality camera, and he has never looked back. Under no pretenses that he is new to the game, Pedro has dedicated himself to studying photography, but most importantly, to constantly practicing.
He feels that even before he started learning the intricacies of photography, he had always seen the world differently, that he had always noticed things no one else saw. The moment that changed the game was obvious: as soon as he picked up that camera, his instincts became actions, and his actions were impossible to ignore.
Pedro’s path to professionalization is fresh, but his persistence and desire quickly earned him a first paid job photographing a dinner for friends. Start small. Aim big. Or so the adage goes. Yet, dinner with friends turned out to be a surprise wedding, and so, by some dint of chance, a regular student job was transformed into a professional gig.
Clearly, taking scores more photos means more money (a win-win) but as an artist first starting out, it is worth so much more. Photographing a wedding means a larger portfolio. It demands more connections and introductions and is the archetypal foot-in-the-door that every freelancer yearns for.
Yet, it is also an example of the exact serendipity that turns so many creatives away from their calling. Pedro, however, exudes energy and determination. His inspirations range from Bobby Womack, the soul singer, to a fellow and little-known Brazilian photographer, Rafael Fontana.
A shining example of the fact that there is no true path to achieve your goals, Pedro continues to follow self-learning as his guiding principle while often citing 70s and 80s pop music as a core inspiration behind his visual compositions.
That same ethos underpins an unusual quality that is reflected in his photography – the lack of ego that is so often built into those behind the camera eye. When you have the know-how, there is a fine line between evoking a feeling in a subject and taking ownership of a feature that was never yours.
Pedro’s photography is steeped in empathy, “the most important lesson I learned is that it’s not about me, it’s not about my photography, it’s not about the photo, it’s about the person.” And that’s part of the reason why he currently chooses to promote his work through his online portfolios, gaining publicity through his website, with a view to one day expanding his business through partnerships.
“My website is synonymous with professionalism, respect, seriousness, and zeal for my client… My website was designed by me… and it is one of the ways I sell my work.” Pedro’s lesson is loud and clear: “What’s most important to me is not the light; it’s the person. Photography can be a healing injection, so I want people to feel happy, fulfilled by their self-esteem, and see that they are living something amazing at that moment.”
Thiago Silva – Own Your Talent
“I couldn’t call myself a photographer just because I had a camera.”
Thiago Silva is a photojournalist with a strong background in fashion photography that is always happy to freelance for a wedding or professional event.
Since completing his studies, he has worked professionally with NGOs and nonprofits such as Hamburgada do Bem, Mais Amor SP, Bem da Madrugada, Comida Pra Quem Precisa, and more.
His CV speaks for itself, yet the fact that he didn’t pick up a camera until 2018 is enough to plant the seed of uncertainty in his head. “I photographed everything from rehearsals to free events, but I did it without any interest; it was all just for the hobby and the knowledge.”
It’s impossible to pretend to know what is going through another person’s head, but we still know that the feeling of doubting yourself is commonplace. Thiago didn’t find a paid photography gig until 2019, a whole year of working for free to further his passion and expand his knowledge of one very particular and complex craft.
As an artist, the issue is always to find a sustainable way to make money. Thiago knows that his website is valuable while also being affordable and easy to maintain. “I created my website myself,” Pablo admits, “in difficulty, but I managed.”
“With a website, you have more credibility in the market, and you can genuinely show your portfolio to a global list of clients. Your website is your home, and with analytics, you know who enters it and why.”
As anyone who has ever been paid for their art will know, the feeling is instantly life-affirming and simultaneously promises that it will happen again. Even if you don’t know when that might be, every single artist can learn from Thiago’s words.
“Don’t compare your work with that of another professional. You should always look for new references, but never think that someone else’s work is better than yours. Otherwise, all you’ll get is frustration and not evolution.”
Hostinger is proud to celebrate artists and empower entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and freelancers around the world by making web hosting and website building accessible to all.