Degree or no Degree?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by smithphoto, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. smithphoto

    smithphoto TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone,

    I know this isn't the most appropriate place for this post and for that I apologize but I feel that this may be the best place to receive the answers I need.

    I am 20 years old and am still 3 years away from my degree in photography. I'm having to work full time to live, loans to pay for college, and am trying to maintain a healthy relationship, i feel like it's going to kill me some days. So now for the big question. Is a degree in photography going to help me enough in the industry to really worry about? Yes I WILL get my degree some day, but at this moment would it be better to just start applying at various studios without a degree?

    Again I know this may not be the right place to ask this question, but I feel you all know much better than most people I speak to.

    Thanks to everyone.
     
  2. MikeBcos

    MikeBcos TPF Noob!

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    I'm in the printing/graphic arts industry, most employers in my line of work will not even look at someone without a degree. I'm more old school, many of my staff do not have degrees, I'm more interested in experience and talent.

    However, I am the exception, you need to finish that degree to have any chance at all at most of the decent jobs out there.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This is a hard one to answer.

    A photographer isn't a regulated profession like a Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer etc. So you can certainly work and succeed without a degree.

    Having a degree might open up some doors for you or give you the advantage over other photographers who don't have one. And getting/having a degree or diploma is almost never a bad thing.

    It might be a good idea to look into the type of photography you plan to do and figure out how much of a benefit the degree will be. It may mean that you have to call perspective employers and working photographers. Maybe you should look into a professional photographer's association to join or just as a resource for info.
     
  4. Ls3D

    Ls3D TPF Noob!

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    I've done alright W/O a degree (5 Emmys in 3D graphics) but as an older chap now (44) I would strongly suggest staying the course...

    For example I could teach 3D graphics and animation at a very advanced level (20 years full time experience), but W/O a degree the local Art Universities can not hire me. This could be you in 10 years.

    Some employers will not even consider you W/O at least a bachelors degree.

    Conversely I have worked with some great self taught talents across several disciplines, and even know some millionaire drop outs - but like rock stars they are the exception.

    Stay in school, relationships come & go at that age, so try to imagine what a great provider you can be for someone beyond your dreams! A few years from now...

    -Shea
     
  5. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    A degree will not hurt in anything you do in future - stay in school.

    I do not know if a degree in photography will give you an advantage over someone with experience though.

    I always thought "photography as a business" was more about communications then actual shooting. But then I am not in the biz :)
     
  6. smithphoto

    smithphoto TPF Noob!

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    Well I want a degree and I will get one eventually. Just at the moment I'm having a very hard time giving classes my all. I went in for two years as mechanical engineering and realized I hated math. Then I switched over to photography which is a four year program regardless of how many hours you already have completed. I'm really thinking about taking a year off, breaking into the industry on a small scale, just work for some small studio, and then return to classes maybe part time. I think I'm just getting burned out at this moment in time.
     
  7. Ls3D

    Ls3D TPF Noob!

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    Tried that, never went back. Perhaps some Yoga and excellent diet will help you over the tough times.

    Hang in there!!! It will be so worth it.. :confused:
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This has come up before... a search will give you more answers. In the long run, certification of ANY kind is no guarantee of quality, all it means is that you sat in a classroom for 4 years and can pass an exam.

    That said, any degree will get you in the door faster than for those without one, however how long you stay is NOT based on your degree... that will depend on how good you are in the real world.

    Put the odds in your favor, get both because it's a good chance that the guy interviewing for your job right after you... HAS both. ;)

    More importantly than a degree in photography... is a degree in BUSINESS. The Business of photography has very little to do with pressing a shutter.
     
  9. roadkill

    roadkill TPF Noob!

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    Let your work speak. And your business savvy.
     
  10. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Part of a degree is proving that you can finish something and can learn. Some companies really don't care what a degree is in. I know 2 music majors, and 1 anthropology major who work for a local advertising company (wifes friends).

    A degree gets you in the door, the quality of your portfolio gets you the job! And this is true for several different areas of businesses!! Not just photography!

    There are a few, who run their business not quite by the book. They shoot from the hip type managers. These are the few who don't necessiarly need to see a degree. But unfortunately most managers are cookie cutters who were taught the same thing in school so they repeate the same in business. Need to have this, this, and this to qualify.
     
  11. smithphoto

    smithphoto TPF Noob!

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    I guess one of my big issues is the fact that I'm starting to loose my motivation and drive. It's not that I don't have the time to do it, i mean it is hectic and crazy sometimes, and money IS an issue but I can live. It's just that I don't feel myself giving it my all anymore. Almost as if I'm getting burnt out on the education. Not that I still don't love learning, thats why I'm often on here, not to complain or even critique other people, but to learn from others mistakes and to be inspired by the better.

    I know I will get my degree one day, in a way I think a break would do me good. I really appreciate everyones advice and will give all some more in depth though. It's just something on my mind as of late.
     
  12. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    In a company or organization, a degree means that you are supervisory or executive material meaning that you can do more than just take photographs. A friend with a degree in photojournalism joined an oil company working on their internal "newspaper". Before long he was editor in charge and from there, they made him an executive troubleshooter solving general administrative problems in all areas. Needless to say, his salary doubled several times.

    For a photographer with a degree in a company or organization, photography can develop into productions and presentations which requre writing, editing, and speaking skills and that in turn leads to higher pay.

    skieur
     

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28 years old and no college degree