If you haven't already made your New Year's resolution for 2013 here are a few for you automotive photographers and a little head start on each to get them done before the end of the year.
1. Get a photo published into a reputable magazine. How to do it:
Contact magazines you want to get published in, it is always easy to send an e-mail to the editor. Ask the format for publishing such as the size of photo, and type of file. Also whether it needs to accompanied by an article, a bio, or a caption. Sometimes editors will give you a specific assignment ie get a photo of a 2014 Honda in motion or a photo of a car builder at their shop.
Otherwise shoot some high resolution photos of images you think a magazine would want. Look at their past issues to see what they use. Either of new cars, car shows, races, custom cars, or people in the industry. Remember events have to be timely, usually a 48 hour window is all there is to submit event and race day photos. Get some with a model, some without. Submit smaller size preview images to the editor and hope to hear back. There is no promise of compensation but your name and photo will get exposure.
2. Start a website. How to do it:
Design the website layout first. There are pre-set designs but your site as a photographer should be personal with preview photos easily visible and accessible. Your contact information and location should be easy to find as well. The header should have a featured photo. Dreamweaver is an excellent tool for website design. It is drag and drop instead of HTML code and you can get a free trial. The webpage has to able to view on all browsers so think about color and size while designing. Remember to make photos into links and use watermarks on any full size images.
Before even getting a domain name search your or your business name to check to see if you could even get on the first page. If you have a fictitious business name, file it with your county of business so no one else will have it. It should be around 20-30 dollars to do this and it's good for five years. You have to read up on SEO now too or you will never be seen. Then you can get your domain name which is $20 or under for a year and web hosting is about the same per month. SEO helps on this as well because almost no one would search your name but they might search for what you do or the kind of photos you have.
Then you have to market and promote on forums, social media, search engines,trade shows, and through business cards and people.
3. Get credentials to a national event. How to do it:
After you have a portfolio of published articles or photos you can submit a request for media credentials to an event you want to attend. There are deadlines to submit credentials so make sure to check at least a month in advance. Just click on media on the website and there will be either a form to fill out or an email for the Public relations person. Send a nice email for a credential request or submit the form and hope to hear back. Sometimes you need a letter of recommendation or a business card so be prepared. Bring business cards to the event as well.
4. Create business cards. You can have business cards before you have a business. It is the easiest way to get business and costs around $5 -$20 for 300 simple ones . Keep your business simple with just your name, what you do and your contact information. Something unique like a logo, photo, or memo on the back will make them remember you. When someone asks what you do or is in a similar field, give them a business card. Sometimes calls come from unexpected people.
You can resolve just to get that killer shot or you can get serious and make that New Year's resolution to be a professional automotive photographer.