I'll toss some ideas into the ring for you...You gotta have passion!...With out it,...it won't work. Passion will drive you to get past the initial hard stages. This can be said about any business really. Most here are passionate. Next...Specialize in one aspect of aviation at first and develop a niche and a reputation. Before all that you must self market and you need the tools to do it, so develop a client list, create a visual presentation. Portfolios with hard copy prints still go a long way as you will want to personally meet clients. Since you are just one...create a goal of having 15-25 regular clients whose needs you can service. Anymore and you won't be able to handle it. I selected corporate jets as that was where the money is or was. Commercial aviation is a tough grind and usually the best you can ask for is through magazines...they don't pay much but I wouldn't dicount them either.
Marketing yourself is most important, nowadays sites like A/net and the others allow companies to scout around for images they want and offer chump change so this creeps into the stock photo market in a bad way. Stock photos used to go for $1500.00-$10,000.00 for one image depending on use. Those days are long gone. You portfolio should only reflect the nature of work you are persuing for revenue. As you grow you can expean on other areas. When I started I was landing cover shots within three months. They are valauble as it is a tremendous vehicle for getting your name out there. They are impressive in your portfolio as well.
Be prepared to work unusual hours. If you are a 9-5'er. forget it. If you don't care...go at it. You will not have shoots everyday. You may even have work load flat spots a month long so work when you can.
Be creative...shoot what others don't.
You can do it despite all the photographers now that exist as most don't believe you can make a living out of it. I started out of my home office and grossed $130,000.00/yr. Not bad for having fun but as time went on the industry met with hard times...technology had clients using "new digital cams" to record their own work...even though is sucked they were proud and felt even better about not having to pay a pro. I have seen a resurgance this year however as over time they have realized pros are pros for a reason and I am getting more calls that a while back. I jus t don't do it any more full time. I am still involved silently having recently photodocumented Trumps 757, Tom Cruises private jet, Tyler Perry's jet and others.
Define your market base
Build a portfolio you can present to that market base
Have a log/ branding...a look of your own and keep it consistent
Publication photo editors, addresses, emails ...that sort of thing.
Get good equipment ($$$in the optics)
Build a "stock photo base"...good "found money" in stock
Believe you can do it...and you will.
I have two file cabinets with over 2,000 envelopes with negatives/cd's in them. Each one of those represent a commissioned photo shoot. So it can be done. Good luck. You can access my site through my personal history. I actually have a disk of new images I must update on the site as it is dated but it will be helpfull none the less. Good luck! Email me with any questions...really...g
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