How do I get started?

Dom6663

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Hey everyone, I'm sure some of you have seen me around on this forum for the last year and a half or so.

Anyway, I just graduated highschool and I am looking to jump right in to a career path relating to photography. And my question is how do I do that?

I don't plan on getting a degree in photography or design, from what I've been told is that if you can get your foot in the door somehow, and you produce good work, then its negligible.

I've looked into doing assisting for professionals, paid or unpaid positions. I've been doing senior portraits and some other portraiture work for a while now.

Any suggestions on how to get myself on this path? I would also love to hear how some of the fellow forum members got started, that might give me some ideas!
 

CCericola

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I got a graphic design degree thinking I was going to be the next Milton Glaser (yeah I know, stop laughing). So I was sooo scared about a job after college and I took the first job that came around. It was for a photographer for a studio outside philadelphia. They did weddings, seniors, proms and school photos. Not glamorous, but it got me a paying job. I went for it because I took the three photography classes they offered at my college. Well, I eventually graduated from the school photos to events and weddings but I started to get burned out. So I got a job doing design work. Did that and weddings on the side. then after years of working for other people I opened my own business. I advice, you don't need a degree, but formal education in photography is awesome.
 
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Dom6663

Dom6663

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Another one...

I presume your speaking in reference to the type of thread this is.

I am not on these forums enough to know if these threads are posted often.

However, with all due respect, I feel as though a sarcastic response such as "Another one..." is much less productive to me, than just not commenting at all.
 
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cgipson1

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Find a local pro.. apprentice yourself until you learn the business (and photography). (and I mean a real PRO.. one with at least five to ten years of experience... not a 30 day wonder that shoots in AUTO)! ;)
 

KmH

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Anyway, I just graduated highschool and I am looking to jump right in to a career path relating to photography. And my question is how do I do that?
That would depend on what type of photography you want to do, be it retail, commercial, or editorial photography. The Internet is an amazing, and unprecedented, resource. Hopefully, they teach how to use it effectively in high schools.

Start by reseaching information on the profession of photography provided by the US Department of Labor - United States Department of Labor
You can also glean info from Photographer's associations - professional photographer associations - Bing
like the PPA (Professional Photographers of America), WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International), ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers), etc.

The average working photographer here in the USA makes a yearly income below the poverty line. Many, many retail photography businesses are supported with other income. In other words, many photographers have a 'day' job, and only do photography on a part-time basis, and/or rely on regular influxes or working capital from a spouses income.
Over three quarters (76%) of respondents said self-employed photography was not their only source of income. - http://www.jimpickerell.com/articles2/admin-article-view.asp?id=2022

Next. What door? Staff photographer jobs are few and far between. Most working photographers are free-lance, self-employed, independent business people. A type of business that pretty much requires a person that is a self starter.

By the way. The forum has a search feature.

Here are some other links you may find useful -
Starting a Business | SBA.gov
Free Small Business Advice | How-to Resources | Tools | Templates | SCORE
Yearly Income of a Photographer | eHow.com
Information on Photography Careers | eHow.com
 

orljustin

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Another one...
However, with all due respect, I feel as though a sarcastic response such as "Another one..." is much less productive to me, than just not commenting at all.

We're not here for you. It's fun to comment on the same thread theme - "I wanna start a business!" - when it comes up over and over.
 

imagemaker46

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Another one...
However, with all due respect, I feel as though a sarcastic response such as "Another one..." is much less productive to me, than just not commenting at all.

We're not here for you. It's fun to comment on the same thread theme - "I wanna start a business!" - when it comes up over and over.

You've had 164 posts, that should be enough time to look through the beginner section and find the information that you need. There is a thread like this started every week, and every week the same things are said.

You've just left high school and want to become a professional photographer right away. If you can find the thread on "becoming a professional photographer overnight" you can buy the DVD's and away you go. You've already been shooting portratits, why not post 4-5 and we can give you honest opinions.
 
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Dom6663

Dom6663

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Find a local pro.. apprentice yourself until you learn the business (and photography). (and I mean a real PRO.. one with at least five to ten years of experience... not a 30 day wonder that shoots in AUTO)! ;)

Do pro's take on apprentices often though? All the "pros" who I have talked with that were open to the idea of having a student, assistant, apprentice, etc. Have all been those 30 day wonders you speak of. And I as much want to be in an environment where I am learning a lot, as well as delving into the professional community.

Most pro's I've talked to already work with paid assistants, and seemingly don't need another person around.
 

Trever1t

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Get a job with a Wedding and Event pro and hump gear. That's the only realistic approach if you're not willing to attend school and further your education. Sure, real talent will prevail regardless. Many successful persons have made the top without following the normal education path but it's not a realistic expectation.
 

KmH

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I started by learning the fundamentals, technical and artistic, of doing photography.

Why I started - I was gifted a 10 year old Minolta SR-T 101, and a couple of lenses in 1981.

The day after getting the camera I went to the local library branch and checked out some photography books. Read those cover-to-cover. Took some photos. Got the film developed and printed. Did some self critique comparing my photos to ones I saw in magazines, photography books, advertising, etc.
Went back to the library about 10 days after the 1st trip, checked out more photography books, plus some art appreciation and visual art composition books.

It rapidly snowballed from there.

Assistants that worked for me were there as skilled manual labor, not as photographers.
 
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Dom6663

Dom6663

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I started by learning the fundamentals, technical and artistic, of doing photography.

Why I started - I was gifted a 10 year old Minolta SR-T 101, and a couple of lenses in 1981.

The day after getting the camera I went to the local library branch and checked out some photography books. Read those cover-to-cover. Took some photos. Got the film developed and printed. Did some self critique comparing my photos to ones I saw in magazines, photography books, advertising, etc.
Went back to the library about 10 days after the 1st trip, checked out more photography books, plus some art appreciation and visual art composition books.

It rapidly snowballed from there.

Assistants that worked for me were there as skilled manual labor, not as photographers.

Similar to my story, without the snowballing part yet ;)

I got a Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5 about three years ago, along with a Brownie, and some other vintage equipment. And because I was into vintage and antique things got them functional and shot with them for a couple months. During those months I went through my grandfathers photographic book collection and read The Art of Photography. Eventually I got a dslr, but continued to collect and shoot with vintage lenses. I took all the photo classes available at my highschool, did friends portraits, etc.

Just having a nostalgia moment here...
 

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