Carreer in photography?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by wintertest46, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. wintertest46

    wintertest46 TPF Noob!

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    Hey, 1st thread here.

    Im intrested in a carreer with photography. i have been shooting off and on for the last few years. beyond the basics i dont know much. however i have been told i have a good eye for it. im 25 and have been to college but EXTREMELY dislike the profession i chose. the only up side to it is that its REALLY good money, but it is hard work.
    i found there is a tech school close to home that offers a 2 year degree in digital photography/image processing. i know photography isnt something that can be tought, i know there is ALOT of art involved.
    so here is whare i stand. i like taking photos(mostly nature/landscape shots) and i love to be outdoors. if i could make a living doing this i would be a happy camper. so my question is how imparative is it that schooling is necessary? have any of you gone to school for it? and if so whare did you start off in the industry?
    i dont know anything about the industry but i imagine its a hard one. being that every industry with art involved is hard to make a decent living.

    so any info you can give will help.

    thanks!
     
  2. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    The short answer is that you'll find it is very very difficult to make a good living as a professional photographer unless you do commercial or fashion work. If you're interested in either of those, find someone who does them very very well and apprentice/assist. Don't hold your breath on making a living as a "fine art" photographer. If you want the long answer, I'm sure I can dig up the thread where I posted it.
     
  3. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    OK, I am going to sound brutal here, but I do not want to give you any false hopes. Please excuse my very direct comments. Saying some things gently is difficult. There are two levels of photographers: the photographic technicians who know how to use cameras but display minimal creativity, business and marketing skills etc.Their literacy and communication level displays spelling and grammar mistakes such as I have noticed in your posting. This is a problem if you are communicating with CEOs, communication directors, or television station managers.

    They tend to sell their work at the customer or lower business level and average yearly salaries of $30,000 to $45,000 depending on location and other variables.

    At the other level are well-educated photographers who have good business skills and/or a course background in that area as well as a university degree, excellent communication and marketing skills and background. They run a diversified business that may include video production, photojournalism, public relations photography, producing and giving business presentations and workshops, wedding and portrait photography, and work for publications from scenics to educational textbooks. They also have computer skills in both graphics and animation. Some may have a job on the edge of media and do a lot of freelance work as well. They make $65,000 to over $100,000 and some make far beyond that.

    Of course other factors such as resistance to changes in photographic technology and techniques, or whether you are on the cutting edge or behind the times also influences the degree of success in this field as well.

    So, yes, a career in photography is possible, but getting to the top category or level is a considerable challenge that requires education as well as skills and talent.

    skieur
     
  4. wintertest46

    wintertest46 TPF Noob!

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    i know its a long way to the top if ya wanna rock and roll, and i appreciate the straight up answer. its pretty much what i was expecting, but your reply definatly put things into a *better perspective. i guess i never really thought all those things would come into play. but now that i think about it, it makes sense. my spelling and grammer is horse s*%$ and my communication skills are even worse. and my knowledge on photography is minimal as well. i shoot with a sony r1, and out of the hundreds of shots ive taken, i have found half a dozen print worthy. sad thing is i used to shoot on a 82 nikon f4, and i had a better print ratio shooting with B&W than i do with my sony. so lesson learned there.
    and as far as school goes unfortunatly im not book/educationally smart, so i rely on my gut and creativity to get me through the day.
    i just knew nothing about the industry, so thats why i posted. my post has only been up a few mins and i have 2 good replys so thats good news. but im still intrested to hear what everyone has to say, so ya all please keep em comin if ya got the time(including skieur and truffle shuffle)

    its good to be critiqued(sp), as soon as i get back home in a couple weeks ill post some of my best shots, and ill expect nothing but a burtal and honest answer!
     
  5. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well I think a course, especially a 2 year program, is a good start. With this you will be exposed to alot of things you might not see being self-taught and on a budget. I think a good knowledge of things like Photoshop is imperative. You are wanting to get into an extremely competitive field Outdoor/nature photography but you can do it if you push things right. I think it has been mentioned here that a good knowledge of how to market yourself and a keen business sense are very important and with this I agree strongly. You need to hustle get your work out there and make people see it. Do not go into this expecting to come across an ad in the paper one day reading "wanted: 9-5 nature photographer for big magazine good bennies and great pay" you will be sorely dissapointed this does not happen. shoot shoot shoot all you can submit your pics to magazines where do you live? you might find places you can sell your work do you live near a good natural area with alot of tourists you can sell your images to them. Just remember this in this business noone will hand you anything you need to kick doors in and let people know who you are otherwise just keep shooting for yourself.
     
  6. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The handful of those I have met make a living with photography does so as in addition to some other specialty or skill. For example...

    A journalist who writes but illustrates with photos
    A graphic artist that uses photos as part of their work
    A catalog designer using product photos in their layout

    etc..

    A wedding photographer is the closest to pure photography but people don't realize that they are really business men with a camera.

    I have no experience in making a living from photography but it seems the best way for you to get into outdoorish photography would be through a journalism field of study.
     
  7. three_eyed_otter

    three_eyed_otter TPF Noob!

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    I have a friend who was a waitress for many years and decided she wanted to make a living do photography. She worked w/an established typical photographer (e.g., weddings, family portraits) for about 2 yrs. while continuing to wait tables at night. Slowly, she gained confidence/business knowledge and started bldg. her own network of clients--if you do good work for a competitive rate friends will tell friends. She now does photography full time but I couldn't give you a clue as to her income. The upside is she has a chosen career.

    have a good one
    3Eo
     
  8. Chronicle

    Chronicle TPF Noob!

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    I agree with everyone.
     
  9. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

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    Gotta agree with everyone else.
    Something that caught my eye in your post was:
    "the only up side to it is that its REALLY good money, but it is hard work."

    Well to be honest, photography as a job is probably even harder, longer hours and at the end of the day you probably won't be earning as much as other professions.

    While I was at college, we were taught by professional photographers.
    The one is considered one of the best product photographers in my city.
    Yet he was having to do teaching for extra money because his business was struggling.

    I'm lucky in the fact the my fiancé earns good money doing what she loves and she wants me to be happy with what I do for a career.
    So I know what my route for the future is and I know I can make money from my work. I will still work my ass of, because that's the sort of person I am.

    If your looking for an easy ride, then maybe look somewhere else.
     
  10. IrishCameraGirl

    IrishCameraGirl TPF Noob!

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    Maybe your best bet is to try out an apprenticeship and decide if that's really what you want to do as a career. You'll get to see the ins and outs of the business side of it instead of just the "taking pictures" part. Photography is demanding and tiring, and unfortunately, it's not always fun...but you CAN have fun with it. If you decide it IS something you'd like to do, continue with your apprenticeship and maybe take a few classes (at least). I've never asked for credentials from a photographer, so I don't think school to actually get gigs is a must, but you definitely have to have some business sense and be a good business person before you can succeed on your own.
     
  11. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Most good to great photographers are bad business people. A fair photographer with good business and communication skills will almost always make more money than the former. I really believe to survive today in this field, major in business administration and minor in photography.
     
  12. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Not always true. If you sign up with a Photographer's Agent he'll get you the work - and a good accountant will take care of the financial side.
    That's how most of the top photographers work ;)
     

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