How Long?


TPF Noob!
Jan 2, 2008
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Houston, Texas
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For the professionals in here, I am wondering how long you studied photography before you started charging clients? Also did you study? Self study, college, with a mentor, classes and workshops?
I've been into photography for about 5 years now. I've probably obsessed about it for the past year or so. I'm just getting into charging people. I've done a lot of self study...the college near me is pretty lame in regards to photography, so I got a degree in business so I know how to run my business.
First camera at 10. First paid baby portrait at 14. First high school classes at 15. First paid wedding at 16. First college level course at 17. Last paid wedding at 28. (I simply dislike doing weddings) So, I was both self taught and schooled. Overly confident at too young an age, almost cocky. But looking back on it, I thing my self-confidence got me past the "Look, he's just a snot nosed kid" syndrome and let me make some money. In all, it's up to you and your confidence in your abilities.
completely self taught.... had a camera in my hands from a very young age, got the basics from highschool photo class (thanks mr.b) and never stopped reading and never stop learning!!
Another self taught.....but with the help of mentors, a few seminars, and lots and lots of reading and looking.
I quit my day job about a year after I first started doing photography.
I'm majoring in photography at school, and I started Charging my clients about a month before I started school.

I had three months to play with my d70 and get to know it and its features, mind now when I started charging I was still shooting auto, but I had the grasp of composition and the likes, the pictures are still some of my favorite to this day.

Start charging when you feel ready to do so.
I've been into photography since high school. Then I took classes for a minor in photography in college. During college I also worked as an assistant for a film wedding photographer. Now I'm four years out of college, been working for another digital wedding photographer for about a year. I also take photographs for the newspaper I work for. This summer I finally bought my own studio equipment, in addition to my camera equipment. I started doing portrait work this summer, charging. I've done two of my own weddings. But I've worked at many. It's all really about how comfortable you are!
Another self taught guy here but I did get a good break. I walked into a studio one day and told the photographer/manager that I wanted to be a professional photographer. This particular studio only shot female studio sessions. I had known about the place for awhile because my wife had had some shots done there a few months prior.

Anyhoo, the manager was getting ready to leave the position (she was preggers) and because of my business resume, I was qualified to "run" the studio end. I met with the owner (who I immediately saw his personality - a true middle aged pervert (who consequently never shot in his own studio)) and we talked "photography" (he and I shared a trait: we would get old fashion mags and rip out interesting poses, lighting, facial expressions, hand placements etc. and keep those tear-outs in a file that we would study and study and study. Mine were things like Cosmo and Vogue, his were Penthouse and "wack-mags".).

They took a chance on me in the studio... there were 2 identical setups and I was the 4th shooter (soon to be the 3rd when Camille left). The other photog's and I learned from each other and I am very grateful for the shot.

I ended up leaving there when my first daughter was around 2 months old for basic family reasons. The job paid well but I didn't think [being a new father and husband] that I needed to continue shooting in the style I was. That studio was known for boudoir and nude photography. I was shooting 4 or 5, 2-hour sessions a day and towards the end, most of my clients were wide open by the end of the first session.

It was the most technical work I have ever done. I think I can shoot with the best of them in the studio but, it wasn't worth the risk of getting tempted.

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