is uni necessary?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by WTF?, May 10, 2009.

  1. WTF?

    WTF? TPF Noob!

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    im 16, in year 11, and want to be a sports photographer in the future, particularly extreme sports (skateboarding, snowboarding, bmx, etc...)
    the mother thinks i should go to university once i finish college and do photography there, but i cant see how this would really make any difference. i think the time would better be spent actually going out doing the photography, building up a portfolio and skills, and also working, getting money for the better equipment. i say itll make no difference weather you have a degree or not, its just going to be how good your portfolio is going to be that will be the difference between a job or not.
    however, i dont know much about anything, so your input would be greatly appreciated.
    any pro photogs about, how did you get to where you are, and what would you recommend? as i said, any advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    There is more to it than just using the camera to take pictures. Now if your a spectacular photog and can capture truely greats shots everytime. Your portfolio might just stand out enough to put you in the lead during an interview. But, if your portfolio has the same number of great pics as some of the other applicants, and they have a degree they will have the advantage.

    The degree involves more than just the physical aspect of photography. There is a professional lingo, legal aspects of photography you need to learn.

    If your really great right now, you may be able to skip the university and go straight into a job. But if you are in the norm, you will be at a disadvantage to those who did go the degree route.

    A degree also proves you are able to learn. There are a few professions where they really don't care what your degree is in. They just want to see you can finish something and can be trained or can learn new things.
     
  3. Photoadder

    Photoadder TPF Noob!

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    You should go to the university if you would like to work in this profession.

    If not, it's enough that you will be a good photographer and you can earn some money on small cases.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I say go for the degree - but choose the degree well.
    Avoid a straight photography degree since many of those are very arty and will have you writing long essays on the "inner depth of light and shadow and blablabalba" which whilst all very interesting (for some) its not going to help you get out and get a job.

    Go for a career focused course with a lot of training/handson applications - there might even be some courses which focus or allow focus on your specific area of interest.

    A university course can give you many things including:
    1) time - time to get better and build that portfolio as well as time to reallly focus in on your photography

    2) contacts - contacts are very important and uni can give you them, always attend the extra seminars and lecturs by visiting pros and such and involve yourself with things in the department.

    3) growing space - your 16 now and you have a dream - that is great most people don't get that till they are well into their 60s! so do certainly follow it through, but also give yourself time to really think about it and the direction your going in.

    4) key skills in other areas - a career based course will give you some key training and education in many key areas like the law, ethics, managment etc... which are things that you will need as much if not more than a solid photographic skill if you are to get out into the working world

    5) shiny stuffs - most unis that run good photography courses have a kit loan setup - so you can get to try out some really expensive gear and see how it works and performs.
     
  5. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A well-rounded education is [or was] far, far more than attending a tech school. We have come, to our discredit, to think of college [US usage] as training for a job and not as an opportunity to learn those things important for living a full and intellectually-satisfying life.

    Do concentrate on photography. Give it your very best -- along with concentrating on history, mathematics, language, physics, ethics, art, literature, logic, physics, music, chemistry, et al.

    As Auntie Mame said, 'Life is a banquet, and most poor devils are starving.'*

    * Wording changed somewhat from original Broadway production to avoid the slings and arrows, not to mention dele's, of watchful moderators. ;-))
     
  6. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Listen to 'the mother.' You can build your portfolio as you learn and get your degree. Check out some online portoflios of photographers that have done exhibits. I don't recall any I've seen that don't have some type of degree in their credentials. It's very important and without it everything will be 10 times harder if not absolutely insurmountable. Your Mother's support is invaluable. Help her help you by making the right choice. I've seen your work, you have talent and potential. Don't throw away your future for the easy way.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    oh one more think I forgot - whilst art based subjects have more weight in portfolios than in degrees in general - remember that a degree is likley to open the door first (in your CV) and have them ask to look at your portfolio - this door opening is especaily important when you start out and don't have a list of previous clients, a known name and other such contacts that only come with time
     
  8. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    Uni is a lot more than the technicalities of whatever profession you look to go for. Fact is, you'll be paid more just for having the degree and that's enough of a reason to go to a university.
     
  9. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    I am a former news photog and I worked for major news organizations. I've shot Super Bowls, Olympics, World Series, Rose Bowls, wars, et cetera.

    Firstly, there are very few positions for news photogs in general and there are even less for "sports only photograhers". It is very competitive and takes as much luck and persistance as it does raw photographic talent.

    Secondly, most/all major news organizations require a communications/journalism degree (unless you have years and years of experience moving up the chain of small market, to medium market to large market to major market). It is equally important for a photog to understand journalism and reporting as it is important to understand photograhy.

    Having good writing skills does not qualify you to be a reporter ... similarly ... good photography skills does not make you a photo journalist.

    If you want to work news you need a degree.

    Gary
     
  10. Blank

    Blank TPF Noob!

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    Get a degree in business management, photography is an art form you can get better at over time. Business management will turn your "hobby and skill" into a profitable business. You can take a degree in BM through your whole life, whereas photography or art degree, dont help you much if you decide to be a mechanical engineer at 25!

    More photography business fail because the lack of sound business practices; more than lacking the skill of composing a shot.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    True - but a straight business course is not really ideal since it leaves you 3 years where photography is a hobby level and where you have to further your understandings alone - a career based photography course or photographic journalism course would be better suited since then the business advice can be specific to that area (as well as to any legal considerations as well)
     

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