Professional Photographer: Experience NOT required?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by RMThompson, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    So back in March I lost my day job.

    Since then I've been looking for something to replace it. It just so happens that I live in Tampa Bay, something like the 3rd WORST area for unemployment vs. new job openings.

    Recently I've decided it might be a good idea to combine my sales and customer service experience with my true love of photography. So I started searching for jobs with photography in the title.

    With the exception of one "advertisement photography" job for the newspaper that I barely lost out, ALL of these jobs are the same; they are school picture people, the places in the malls that take photos, and the company that takes the "first photograph" of a baby and then tries to sell it to new mothers and fathers in the hospital.

    None of them sound like BAD jobs per se, but something keeps bothering me. Everytime I look at the requirements, they require 1 or more years of sales experience, but then say "NO PHOTOGRAPHY EXPERIENCE REQUIRED" or at most "photography experience preferred by not required."

    That really gets my goat. While I have both the sames and photography experience, I am not sure I want to work for a company that puts the sales aspect of the job first, and would rather have a salesman with a camera than a photographer with sales experience. (if that makes any sense)

    Anyone working professionally in any of these types of jobs care to give me some more information? None of them are particularly high paying positions, which sort of stinks, but I have a feeling they are all commission based which DEFINETLY stinks.

    Also - anyone else have any ideas how to work professionally as a photographer in another type of position? I'm desperate here! :)
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Its simple - they are not after professionals with a high wage - they want you trained to do as they want you to perform. Thus they don't want you comming with your own ideas -they are essentailly after people to point the camera, arrange the kids and press the shutter. The main aspect of these companines is the sales - making the sale - taking the shot - handing over the frame and then done.
    Creativity, originality and working in difficult/interesting situations are not needed - chances are its all studio work which will work fine on the same settings day in day out
     
  3. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    The company is after making money. The goal of any company. Evidentially they have a high turn-over rate and have developed a process whereby anyone can take the pics with little or no training.

    It's not red-carpet fashion photography but it sounds OK to me. Heck, it might even be fun. :thumbup:
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    I tend to agree with Overread, they are looking for people with little or no experience & knowledge because they don't want to pay very much.
     
  5. Puscas

    Puscas TPF Noob!

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    Yes, they are probably anybody-can-do-this kinda things. If you think that not being creative may become a problem, then don't do it.

    have you looked into starting your own business?





    pascal
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    They don't need someone who is into photography. They can train a monkey to set up the lights and camera; it's the same every time. What they need are people that can sell their products. That's a much more difficult skill to teach.

    Even in photo businesses where creativity and an interest in photography are desirable, I think you'll find customer service and business skills will be more important for success. I believe it was a thread here at TPF where several professionals agreed that a mediocre photographer with excellent business skills will probably have more success than an excellent photographer with mediocre business skills.
     
  7. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is exactly the case, They want a salesman that they can train to do it their way without the trainee knowing more than they do and telling them what is better in their own opinion. They want things done a specific way, they do not care if it's technically correct or not, any one who knows better is just an inconvenience in their eyes.
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you are lucky, those are the same jobs that get your foot in the door. Consider it a pit stop and not the final destination. If you are desperate.. never be too proud.

    During my 2 year unemployment stint.... I shuffled cars around in a parking lot for a Mazda dealer. This is after loosing a job that essentially paid 6x the amount. The experience was ... lets just say.. a humble one....
     
  9. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    I did, and I've been trying to come up with an actual amount I would need to start one. I wonder if I could get the local business charter to back a small business loan.

    So, I think I'm going to start another thread related to costs associated.
     
  10. Hooligan Dan

    Hooligan Dan No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I work(still do a little work) for a studio here in town that does all the school photos. When i applied they had the "No experience required" tag, but since I had quite a lot of experience I was hired on as a lead photog immediately instead of as an apprentice and I started at $15 an hour while everyone else hired started at $8. A lot of places say no experience required because they don't want to pay, much like others have said, but at the studio I worked for it they said it because you get lots of training. I came out of the job knowing more about lighting than I ever had before. And I worked 40-55 hours a week making some major bank.

    But the job also sucked because the owner was the biggest jerk I'd ever met and the redundancy gets old quick.
     
  11. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Portraiture by the book. two umbrellas at 45 degrees, a hairlight or separation light if you're lucky, say cheese, nuke the subject with light, and hand them their print.

    No photography experience required in the same meaning as someone working with large scale printers doesn't need printing experience. They just need to follow instructions on how to unjam the paper and press the restart button.
     
  12. Jedo_03

    Jedo_03 TPF Noob!

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    Few weeks ago there was a kids photo booth in our plaza (mall) and I got chatting with the guy taking the pics in between shots... He was gothic.. The strobes are all labelled with metal plates as to what they are/where they go/what setting, and all have dials and LED's so you can set the power... they have precise(ish) measurements where to place each light. Have 75mm primes (gives them around 100). Only thing they didn't use was a tripod. Interestingly, there was no NEED for salesmanship... the queues were longer than the checkouts in Woolworths... the guy reckons their sales are upwards of $5K a DAY... (With packages at around $180 a pop, no wonder...) He was shooting a D30... The lab they work with can output 4 different 'sets' of images (packages) (2 big, 3 medium, 6 small eg) that caters for most peoples (Mums) tastes... He says some of the mums of the kids he shoots look as if they haven't got a brass razoo, yet they want/need/must have piccys of their kids...
    See... with the consistency of strobe lighting and seamless backgrounds and "adorable" enlargements plastered all over the booth walls, you can't go wrong... wow... $5K a DAY....
    Jedo
     

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