photo certifications ???

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by el venao, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. el venao

    el venao TPF Noob!

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    I have been working for a profesional photography company taking white water rafting pictures.... I have always enjoyed taking pictures as a hobie but now i feel i would enjoy doing it as a full time job, But i have had no official schooling on the subject.

    Can a good portfolio go as far as a Degree or Cert ?

    thanks for the help
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    It all depends on what you want to do and how you want to go about doing it.
    I've known good professional photographers who never went to College and didn't have any qualifications. But the drawback was always that they were fine doing what they knew, but when faced with an unusual situation they often made a hash of it unless they asked for help.
    Doing courses teaches you the theory so that when something new crops up you generally make the right decisions - or at least can make a workable guess.
    But in the end it's up to you.
     
  3. Jon, The Elder

    Jon, The Elder TPF Noob!

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    In 40+ years of professional Cinematography/Photography, I've never once had a client/customer ask me about certification of any kind.

    I just rattle off my client list and offer a portfolio of similar type images.

    If you look and act like you know your craft, that alone goes a long way.
     
  4. BAB

    BAB TPF Noob!

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    It depends on what kind of work you are interested in. For example, I am a biomedical photographer where educational background is very important and a real plus is certification along with the quality of the work one produces. On the other hand in most areas of professional photography educational level and certification mean very little, if at all. What matters in these areas is the quality of your work, reliablity and consistency. So someone who can produce great work can theoretically obtain professional assignments. Even then it is tough, because potential buyers also want some demonstration of your dependability and consistency.
     
  5. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Well, while a good portfolio and experience will get you to a certain level of responsibility and pay, a degree or certificate and not necessarily in photography will get you farther.

    The basic approach of organizations is that the person without the degree or certificate does the assigned photographic work. The person with the degree manages/supervises other photographers and has total control: creative and otherwise over projects. The difference would be at the very least, over $25,000 in salary.

    In the totally small business sector, someone without a degree or certificate can certainly start a photography business in weddings, portraits, etc and survive with a lot of hard work. Someone with a degree can run a more diversified business with photography, video, script writing, editing, multi-media, public relations, advertising etc. and with a good business sense can make considerably more money.

    By the way, when I talk about a degree or certificate and not necessarily in photography, I should point out that whether you have it or not is demonstrated in your first interaction with a potential employer. Literacy skills as in complete sentences, good spelling and grammar and expressing yourself well, automatically display your level of education and your potential for promotion within an organization.

    skieur
     
  6. HatMan

    HatMan TPF Noob!

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    Here! Here!

    Some good points from both sides. I hope you don't mind my 2 cents...

    Although I am relatively new to "professional" photography and have no certification, I find myself in a similar situation to when I began my technical sales career about 20 years ago.

    Back then, I was terribly intimidated when dealing with all the engineers and CETs and just assumed they knew more than I did as a rookie sales rep with some cutting edge products to sell. As time went on and my confidence built, I was accepted as an individual who had a reputation for honesty and solid knowledge of my craft - I do industrial automation and control systems. I have considered many times going back to school and getting the degree and the letters behind my name. However, after all these years, I am paid the same (or maybe even slightly more) that some in my field who do carry the letters and my opinion is respected by customers and engineers alike. All it took was consistency, dedication and hard work.

    Today, while I still pay the bills with my sales career, I find that I know I have a lot to learn, but am more than willing to learn from those who have practiced their craft and are willing to teach. A year ago, I was far too afraid to even approach a photographer and ask questions, today I find myself worried I may be asking too many questions!

    I have given up worrying about my schooling - I am after all in my 40s and am now watching my kids grow into responsible, dedicated and compassionate individuals. I have decided I am OK seeing the results of my life's work. My kids have also shown me that I will continue to learn as long as I live and the day I stop will be the day i die.

    If someone is more interested in a degree than the results of my work, than that client would be better off with a different photographer and there is nothing I can do or say to change their mind. Today I can even offer them a referral as I have met many gifted photographers who would return the favor, I'm sure.

    With that said... I've signed up for some classes in lighting. They start this Thursday.
     

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