I've been shooting with an SLR for 3 years now and very seriously for the past year. My skills are improving but I'm still just an "advanced amateur" so obviously I wouldn't feel comfortable shooting a wedding at this point. After some searching I've come up with a plan. Obviously, keep shooting and don't stop. I know a degree in photography won't help me get my own studio but I plan on taking a few classes to widen the foundation of what skills I have now. Also I plan to take business classes (at least what would be included in a 2yr degree) so I know what I'm doing when I do get to it. At 27 I might be a little old to simply be an assistant to a photographer but I'll see what further training and/or seminars I can attend to advance my skills. As for my final goal of photography, shooting people/events can help me along for a while and I'd like to offer product photography on a limited basis. The product stuff would be nice to do for businesses and eventually for published magazines. Not looking for fame and fortune mind you, but enough to make a living and establish a reputation for myself. So, is there anything else in this plan that I'm missing that would be good to take care of now so I don't immediately wind up over my head?