When I ask myself what is next, I often think of a number of things I want to do in order launch myself into a photographic career. It is easy to get caught up thinking that you need this or that in order to become a professional photographer, and while some of those things may be true, others are not. I am putting many of these ideas together for myself, as I continue to consider working as a photographer, so if anything hits home with anyone else, that is pure coincidence.
One of the areas that often pops into my mind is that I do not have good enough gear to do the kind of photography that I am considering doing as a professional. As if gear problems are not on a hobbyist mind often enough, but when you consider launching into a business, even if with someone else, you do not want to be stuck in a situation where you do not have what you need to get the job done. How do you know if you have the gear you need to get the job done? Look first at the job you want to do. If you want to shoot portraits, you need to do some research and find out what gear portrait photographers use, then you pick the gear that fits your budget and start with that. I think having a budget is an important place to start, and you have to think about more than just lenses and cameras. What kind of lighting equipment are you going to need, do you need an assistant?
There is another big question you need to answer, do you want to use your personal gear for work? For me, I would want separate gear for work and personal use. The wear and tare of work will put a lot more pressure on your gear than personal use, most likely. Also, how much will it cost you to insure your gear? Sometimes you may need to rent lenses for a specific task, find out where you can rent lenses from, and how much it costs for a day, week or month.
To answer one of the questions above, I believe that I will use a different camera and gear for work than personal use, for several reasons. 1. Ability to write off gear as business expenses, 2. Different kind of insurance is required for for work than personal gear, 3. Less ware and tear on personal gear, 4. Less likely to lose personal gear to theft, and most importantly, 5. Different or higher quality gear needed/desirable for work than hobby use.
I'll be posting more thoughts on this subject over the next week or so.