Anyone willing to help me out? Answer a few questions on photography?

sierrawaslike

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Hey, there. Newbie to tpf, here. My name is Sierra-Lee, most people just call me Sierra. I'm from a very, very small town in Quebec. Anyway, I didn't write this to tell you all about my life and all that non-sense. I was wondering if maybe a couple of you could maybe take the time to answer a few questions about photography for my Career Options class. I've always been taken such an interest in photography, but never thought of it as a career until just recently. I just got a Canon Rebel t2i and soon enough, I'm getting a flash for it! Yay! Anyway, here are the questions:
  1. What is your typical day like?
  2. Of all of the things you did to prepare for this job, what helped you the most?
  3. What two or three skills help you the most in doing your job?
  4. How did you learn these skills?
  5. What kind of education did you need for this job?
  6. What kind of courses should I take in high school to prepare me for this job? What kind of education will I need after high school?
  7. What do you like the most about this career?
  8. What's the hardest part of your job?
  9. What do you think the future looks like for this kind of career?
  10. What kind of salary can I expect?
  11. If you had a change to do things over again, what would you change?
  12. What motivates you with your job? What makes you feel real excited about it?
  13. What kind of personality does well in a career like this?
  14. Is there a question you think I should have asked to better understand this career?
  15. Any other advice you'd like to give me?
Oh, I was also wondering; which do you prefer: Canon or Nikon?

Thank you so much for your time.
Sierra.
 

HeatherClemons

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Sure Sierra! I was a student once too, so I totally know about all that jazz. Also - NICE on the new t2i! Here are my answers for ya -

1. My typical day requires a lot more than just photography. I'll have appointments or clients booked now and then, but a lot of my day requires keeping up with my blog, editing recent work, and staring into my computer screen. I always take time for personal projects too, but photography is only a fraction of the whole job.
2. Experience is the big one. I learn by doing - so the more projects I take on and the more I'm out with my camera, ACTUALLY DOING the things I need to do - the more I'm learning. Sure, I made mistakes - but I learned from them, so I don't really consider them mistakes entirely.
3. Knowing my camera like a second appendage, and having a quick and efficient process in photoshop. Knowing your camera's settings well and being able to change them on a dime, as almost an instinct is totally key - because I often have a LOT more to think about. And with photoshop, if I didn't have a system, it would take FOREVER. I could still refine it and make it better, but it's working well.
4. Doing it and constantly practicing. I went to school and took the classes too (and the lessons I learned there were invaluable), but I wasn't *good* at it until I got some first hand experience.
5. I have a bachelor's degree in photography, which taught me all the aesthetic and technical skills I needed. In school I learned all there was to know about my camera and how to achieve what I wanted. I learned about Photoshop and the rules of composition and the physics of light.
6. Take art classes. Learn to see like an artist, because that's something that NO amount of technical knowledge will compensate for. If photography classes are offered at your school, absorb everything like a sponge. Take science (especially physics and chem), because ironically you think about it a lot more than you'd think.
7. Being a freelance photographer and blogger allows me to spend my ENTIRE day doing something artistic that I love to do, so no day feels wasted.
8. The market is really saturated with photographers so sometimes it can be hard to find business - you really have to separate yourself from the pack and find out what you offer that no one else does!
9. It's not certain really. Blogging for instance is really taking off because of accessibility but again, the market is really saturated. Cameras are getting better and better and more people consider themselves worthy of a professional title without the work - but hopefully people will be able to discern the difference between those with a nice camera, and those with an eye for art.
10. I can't tell you it would be stable all the time. It's not. But it's rewarding, and sometimes - it can be super lucrative. Just not always. But there are endless avenues in photography to pursue based on what you like to photograph. Be alright with that and love what you do, and that is what matters.
11. I would have worked an internship. It was optional in my major and at my college, so I opted out so I could graduate, but I feel like an internship would have given me some amazing experiences with established photographers that would've really helped me out of the gate.
12. My passion motivates me. I thrive on doing creative things, and I get to do that every day! I couldn't be happier.
13. You have to be a self-starter. Be able to motivate yourself, and be driven by your passion for your medium. Don't be shy, and don't be afraid to try new things and do something a little crazy. Be spontaneous, think outside the proverbial box, and be consistently creative.
14. There are a thousand questions you could ask but the answers for many of these would be different for MANY different photographers. We all have different niche markets and processes. Photography is one of those careers where you can make it what you want, which can be great, or could be really difficult if you're not sure what direction to go.
15. Don't give up. In photography you go through a lot of frustration sometimes - frustration about your work not living up your expectations, frustration about work being scarce, and frustration that this isn't going to take off for you. But it can, and it will. Just don't give up. :)

I hope that helps, Sierra! It actually was a great little quiz and made me think about a lot of the obstacles and triumphs I've had and look inward, which we all should do sometimes. Good luck and best wishes!

Heather Clemons~
Save the Artist - a creative community (that's my blog!)
heather@savetheartist.net
 

skieur

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Hey, there. Newbie to tpf, here. My name is Sierra-Lee, most people just call me Sierra. I'm from a very, very small town in Quebec. Anyway, I didn't write this to tell you all about my life and all that non-sense. I was wondering if maybe a couple of you could maybe take the time to answer a few questions about photography for my Career Options class. I've always been taken such an interest in photography, but never thought of it as a career until just recently. I just got a Canon Rebel t2i and soon enough, I'm getting a flash for it! Yay! Anyway, here are the questions:
  1. What is your typical day like?
  2. Of all of the things you did to prepare for this job, what helped you the most?
  3. What two or three skills help you the most in doing your job?
  4. How did you learn these skills?
  5. What kind of education did you need for this job?
  6. What kind of courses should I take in high school to prepare me for this job? What kind of education will I need after high school?
  7. What do you like the most about this career?
  8. What's the hardest part of your job?
  9. What do you think the future looks like for this kind of career?
  10. What kind of salary can I expect?
  11. If you had a change to do things over again, what would you change?
  12. What motivates you with your job? What makes you feel real excited about it?
  13. What kind of personality does well in a career like this?
  14. Is there a question you think I should have asked to better understand this career?
  15. Any other advice you'd like to give me?
Oh, I was also wondering; which do you prefer: Canon or Nikon?

Thank you so much for your time.
Sierra.

1. I don't have a typical day. One day I drove 2 hours north to take photos on skis and returned in the evening to cover a public relations event.

2. Post secondary education.

3. Communication and good physical skills.

4. Education and experience in physical activities

5. It depends on whether you are running your own business or working for a company or organization. I have a classical university degree in multiple languages and literatures, a technical degree in film and television production, and a teaching degree. By the way, I used all of this education in my various projects.

6. Writing skills, presentation skills, public speaking, technical understanding of the visual and audio area of electronics, business knowledge, marketting skills, art and design basic knowledge etc.

7. The opportunity to be creative and innovative in the project or production.

8. Dealing with people who have no visual skills or understanding of how much work is involved in a photographic or video project and no idea of the current price for certain photographic services.

9. Good, if your talents go beyond a narrow area of photography.

10. The range is extreme. I would have to guess at the low end. At the high end it is over 100k.

11. I would learn more business skills.

12. That with a broad range of skills, the photographic or video results are very open-ended, with the possibility of very unique and creative work.

13. A good technical problem-solver, flexible in approach, with good organization and logic, not subject to stress, good sense of humour, convincing and fluent in speaking, professional and well-groomed appearance,.....(for the high end company work)

There are 2 sides of photography which are very different. Many are into the run your own business in wedding photography, portraits, sports etc.
The other end which I spend time in, is working for companies and organizations, often on productions and sometimes on presentations to large groups of employees. I also find myself doing journalistic, public relations, script writing, editing and even translation work.

Oh, I prefer Panasonic broadcast television cameras and Sony or Leica still cameras.

skieur
 
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MLeeK

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  1. What is your typical day like? Most of my day is spent in dealing with things like accounting, marketing, phone calls, ordering, receiving, processing orders, processing images, answering emails... I shoot sports and fine art portraiture. I only take 3 to a max of 5 shoots per week when I am busiest. I spend about 20-30 hours working behind the scenes and about 3-5 actually shooting portraiture. I spend about 8 to 10 hours shooting sports in a week. About 2 hours of processing/editing work from that. The ordering system for that is automated and does it's own accounting as well. I don't have to worry so much about the tasks from it. Good thing because it's not half as lucrative.
  2. Of all of the things you did to prepare for this job, what helped you the most?
    Learn about business. Skill with the camera is necessary, but you don't have to be the best of the best with the camera. You do have to be darned sharp in the business end of it though.
  3. What two or three skills help you the most in doing your job? Marketing and customer service
  4. How did you learn these skills? Marketing was a crash course after going into business doing this. I have learned it from many great photographers and businessmen in the field through seminars, classes, WPPi classes... The Customer Service end of things is from years spent working a J.O.B and having to deal with customers.
  5. What kind of education did you need for this job? BUSINESS!!! Accounting, legal, marketing, book keeping... Then you need to learn how to use the camera, light inside and out.
  6. What kind of courses should I take in high school to prepare me for this job? What kind of education will I need after high school? You are already guessing what I am going to say here: Business. Art classes are never a waste either, but the business part is more important to whether you will succeed or fail down the road
  7. What do you like the most about this career? I get to choose my hours and what I do. I get to work with some amazing people. I get to see my art hanging in THEIR homes, in giant frames, covering a whole wall...
  8. What's the hardest part of your job? The business part of things. I don't exactly love lugging equipment either, but that's simple physical labor. Business is ever changing and a constant challenge!
  9. What do you think the future looks like for this kind of career? The market is and will continue to be over saturated with mediocre photographers who have a little skill with the camera. If you don't aspire to be the elite? It's not a great outlook. This business you can and will be what you make yourself. The outcome is directly related to the hard work and effort you put into it.
  10. What kind of salary can I expect? I think the average salary according to some research is about $20K per year. Is that realistic? No. There are a few photographers making millions and there are millions of photographers making nothing. It's all related to knowledge in business first and the camera work second. Then it's your desire, drive and grit!
  11. If you had a change to do things over again, what would you change? I'd have gone professional years and years ago when I was working at that JOB. I'd have taken business courses in college and art secondary.
  12. What motivates you with your job? What makes you feel real excited about it? Creating the emotional attachment so great that it results in a HUGE sale. The drive to make each sale bigger than the last.
  13. What kind of personality does well in a career like this? Strong, go-getter, outgoing are a must.
  14. Is there a question you think I should have asked to better understand this career? It's not as easy money as it looks. I handled over $150K this year but I only MADE, in my pocket about $45K. That is before income taxes too.
  15. Any other advice you'd like to give me? Become a student member of PPA and WPPi. Attend the conventions if you can and go to the platform classes!! every class you can-especially the business side of things! Make use of PPA's website and forums!!!
Oh, I was also wondering; which do you prefer: Canon or Nikon? I have always shot Canon, however I am getting pretty frustrated with them lately. The edge usually shifts back and forth between the two, but it seems that Canon isn't really working so much on the edge but high price in their camera bodies lately. I am really thinking that I might just sell it all off and invest in Nikon if this doesn't change when the new 5d3 is released this spring, summer... or when hell freezes over.
It's really about what fits YOU and what you need. Both are amazing camera systems and you can't go wrong either way-unless it feels just wrong in your hands.
 

Big Mike

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Welcome to the forum.

I'm not a full time pro, so I won't cloud the issue by answering all the questions...but I just want to reinforce what the others are saying on this one...
What kind of courses should I take in high school to prepare me for this job? What kind of education will I need after high school?
Business, business, business & Art.

Most photographers work for themselves in one capacity or another. And many, many talented photographers fail to make a successful career out of it because they aren't nearly as good at the business side of things. But on the other hand, many moderately talented photographers make a killing because they are very good with the business side of things.
Plus, a good business education can be applied to almost any field. So if it turns out that photograph isn't your thing, you can just apply your skills/education to something else.

Become a student member of PPA and WPPi. Attend the conventions if you can and go to the platform classes!! every class you can-especially the business side of things! Make use of PPA's website and forums!!!
Since she's in Canada, look at PPOC. ;)
 

LadyJasmine

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Hey, there. Newbie to tpf, here. My name is Sierra-Lee, most people just call me Sierra. I'm from a very, very small town in Quebec. Anyway, I didn't write this to tell you all about my life and all that non-sense. I was wondering if maybe a couple of you could maybe take the time to answer a few questions about photography for my Career Options class. I've always been taken such an interest in photography, but never thought of it as a career until just recently. I just got a Canon Rebel t2i and soon enough, I'm getting a flash for it! Yay! Anyway, here are the questions:
  1. What is your typical day like?
  2. Of all of the things you did to prepare for this job, what helped you the most?
  3. What two or three skills help you the most in doing your job?
  4. How did you learn these skills?
  5. What kind of education did you need for this job?
  6. What kind of courses should I take in high school to prepare me for this job? What kind of education will I need after high school?
  7. What do you like the most about this career?
  8. What's the hardest part of your job?
  9. What do you think the future looks like for this kind of career?
  10. What kind of salary can I expect?
  11. If you had a change to do things over again, what would you change?
  12. What motivates you with your job? What makes you feel real excited about it?
  13. What kind of personality does well in a career like this?
  14. Is there a question you think I should have asked to better understand this career?
  15. Any other advice you'd like to give me?
Oh, I was also wondering; which do you prefer: Canon or Nikon?

Thank you so much for your time.
Sierra.

1. A typical day for me, is 9-3 at home, editing, answering e-mails, scheduling sessions, etc. If I don't have sessions, consultations, or orders scheduled that day, I usually stop what I'm doing around 3 or 4 p.m. and begin dinner. If I do have a session scheduled for later in the evening, then I'm getting ready for that.
2. Of all things, it was support from my Husband and family. And patience.
3. I've worked in customer service for 10 years, so I think that helped me a lot. The ability to use a computer, helped a lot too.
4. College courses, real life experience, patience.
5. Well, I went to college for Business Management. However, I took multpile art classes in High School and graphic arts in college. I also was in the FFA, which helped me be able to stand in front of people and speak. I learned confidence in myself, which is a big thing you need. I never went to college for photography.
6. I took Art Classes. I learned composition, how to see things differently than "normal" people. I also took AP English classes. I took Business classes in college. However, there are tons of photography programs. Just none really exist in my area.
7. What I like most is that it's on MY time. However, I try to work around clients as MUCH as possible. I also like that it is a PASSION for me. I love what I do. If I didn't, I wouldn't be going it.
8. Dealing with grumpy people. But comes with any job. Or, people who don't know what they want. Working around the weather. In Michigan, the weather changes every 20 seconds. Yesterday it was 7 degrees and snowing. Today, it's 40.
9. Well, I don't exactly know. There are so many people out there with cameras and cameras are becoming easily accessible. Not that that is a bad thing...but it has its negatives.
10. It depends on how much you want to work and how hard you're willing to push yourself. I still like to have a social life and a family-life. I want time to do the things I want to do, so I limit myself. But Photography for me is more of a passion than anything.
11. I would change the fact that I had an opportunity to go to a University in Colorado and live there for 4 years, and I stayed home and went to a community college because I thought I was in love with some guy. I could have changed my major and done something I loved. So I'm a few years behind in my learning.
12. Learning motivates me. I don't claim to be professional, or the best, or the worst. I LOVE learning about what I love. I love learning from others. I love improving. And making people happy with what I can do with my hands motivates me, as well.
13. Open-Minded, Positive, Friendly, Out-Going.
14. I think you've got great questions.
15. Follow your heart.

And Canon.
 

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