Where to begin?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by tslice, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. tslice

    tslice TPF Noob!

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    Over the past few years I've been struggling through life, living just to live, and have come to the realization that I'm in need of a major change. Every career path I've tried has been un-fulfilling, while generating no self-worth. I love the media arts, and have always wanted to be a part of them. I've decided photography is what speaks loudest to me. I love the timeless images, and the emotion captured within the beauty of a photograph. I love the reward of a great picture, and the memory of the story that it tells, so I've decided to try a career in photojournalism.

    I'm not too sure where to start, other than the need to better my skills as a photographer and a writer. The biggest questions I have are, how do I begin a photojournalism career, what types of jobs are available, what will it take to earn a living, and what will the future hold in store for me.

    Should I seek an internship with a newspaper or magazine, or should I seek an apprenticeship from a photographer/journalist whom I admire, and how should I go about reaching these individuals? I would ask if I should go to school, but I would rather spend the money on equipment and learn through experience.

    My ultimate goal would be to publish my own articles and photographs, while working to publish a book on a subject that is most important to myself.

    I truly appreciate your help and advice, and welcome any comments and thoughts, so thank you in advance.
     
  2. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well as far as internships go they generally go to students wich is about right since they generally have a photography background. One thing you need to realize is that you will (almost) never look in the newspaper and see an ad for "wanted full ime 9-5 photgrapher". While it sems you have some derision for school it is a way to learn your craft and it is not something to look down on. In a school you will learn about things that you will not find out on your own and have a wider variety of experiences than you will get on your own. I oly make these statements because it sems you have some di-respect for school. So it would help alot of people here to give you some answers if you could tell us what background if any you have in photography do you even have a camera? is this mabye a little bit of a rash decision.
     
  3. julie32

    julie32 TPF Noob!

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    I commend you for starting new. It's always a scary but GREAT feeling to wipe the slate clean. The first thing I think you should do is go out, take a bunch of photos of "happenings" around your area and create a portfolio. This way you'll have something to show people. Then, I'd call some newspapers like you said. The pay is not so good, unless you work for a bunch of newspapers. Also, if you're in the right place at the right time and you snap a photo of something interesting..write a blurb, attach your photo and send it to a newspaper. You never know...

    Best of luck to you. You'll find that doing something you really love never feels like work!

    jules
     
  4. tslice

    tslice TPF Noob!

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    JIP - This is not a rash decision, and I have thought about school, the Brooks Institute to be exact. I think it's a good idea to learn as much about a subject before I spend any money going to school. I would rather intern and get some experience and knowledge at this point in time. I'm fine with cleaning toilets for a year until someone will teach me something. I do have a camera (Kodak easyshare z740), and I know I need a new one for what I want to do.

    I'm not sure what to say my experience is, I simply try to take the best picture I can. I know the basic fundamentals of photography like shutter speed, aperture, ISO/film-speed, and focal length. I know quantity is not quality, but I have taken over 15,000 pictures between my two cameras. Photography has always been a hobby to me, and I want to pursue a career out of it. I specifically LOVE learning about things, and enjoy writing as well, that is why I would like to get into photojournalism. I'm not sure how anybody else goes about learning about things, but I figured it was a good idea to get on a forum and ask some questions.

    How does someone go about becoming a full-time photographer?
    What does a potential job opportunity look for in a portfolio.
    What separates one photojournalist from another?
    What makes the best photojournalist?

    Jules - Thank you for your support, I have thought a lot about putting together a portfolio, and am at the very beginning of the entire process. I live across the street from a soccer field, so that should be a lot of fun to get some practice shooting at.
     
  5. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well if you realy want to get into journalisim like big time, school would help immensly. Putting together a book would be ok you will probably need that to get into a place like brooks anyway. But when you mentioned internships as I said they generally go to students and that is pretty much the definition if an internship right? a student working for free or really cheap after he/she is done with school. I was not trtying to be a downer I guess some of your background and a little more info would have helped.
     
  6. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    Hi Tslice,
    Your post was so thoughtful it almost brought tears to my eyes. You seem to be in it for all the right reasons. It's something you will never get rich doing, but it's something that can make a difference in the world, and to me, that's a pretty honorable way to go through life.

    Here is what you do: take photographs, do minimal PS, be in the right place at the right time. There are stories all around us. Keep your thoughful nature while taking the photos. Then, offer them up to different wire services. There are multitudes of them. But also remember if you are selected by a wire service, they then become your "agent". So you want the best possible, and one that won't screw you out of the money you DO make.
    Keep in mind, Time magazine pays $250 for a photo. Again, unless you are David Leeson, you aren't going to be living cozy from this. Actually, David Leeson does weddings on the side. Best photojournalist living today, and it's hard to make ends meet. But look at what he's done for humanity and the world.
    I think your quest is awesome. Good luck and stay true.
     
  7. tslice

    tslice TPF Noob!

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    JIP - As far as the internship thing goes, I'm sure I don't need to work with the best photographer out there, just someone willing to take some time to help me, and I could run errands for them in return. A mentor perhaps? I'm thinking right now the best thing for me to do is invest in a better camera, practice taking pictures, analyze magazines and newspapers, work on a portfolio, and hopefully find someone who is willing to give me a chance. If I can't get anywhere from there, perhaps school will be a good thing at that time.

    elsaspet - thank you for your kind words, a little support can really make a difference! I had no idea what a wire service was before today, and David Leeson's work is truly inspiring (I even tried to contact him, but I'm sure he's plenty busy).

    I guess I've got a lot of work to do, thanks again!
     

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