Community Involvement - mutually beneficial relationships
A great opportunity for either photography hobbyists or those starting out as professionals to expand their network of potential clients, test out different photography approaches, or get opportunities to photograph new situations is to find volunteer opportunities for groups in your community.
In this age of social media where photos are so important, most not-for-profits or other community-focused organizations strive to put their best face forward to document their events or focus areas. Have you seen articles online about pets getting adopted in part due to more artfully captured images of their dogs and cats? That's the sort of creativity that can be applied here! (The picture of the dog above is my pup Tara, but you totally want to take her home with you now, right?)
While smartphones are ubiquitous, they are no match for better photographs; many organizations would love to have a volunteer who is already passionate about their cause offer to capture some images. Many are happy to exchange photo credit on their sites for the images, which in turn can give your nascent business more exposure.
Over the years I have donated my time and photographic services to events from local philanthropic to local political or community efforts. Your best bet will be in identifying organizations who don't already have someone filling this need for them. In my experience, that is most of them but certainly not all.
The flip side of course is that you are associating your reputation with this work. If you are unable to commit the time or don't have the right photography equipment (which a future post will cover!) or skills, think twice before raising your hand.