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Old Oct 2, 2006, 9:37 AM   #1
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Actually all this didn't just happened overnight or suddenly, I have already been planning about itsince a few months ago:

Next year I will be entering into photography course in a college, I have planned to be a professional photographer in future. However, I have a few questions regarding being a working pro. in future;

What does a working photographernormally do?

What are the type of jobs available for a workingphotographer?

Finally, how high a stage can a working photographergo to in the working world?

Some experience in this field will be welcome.

I am considering taking photography seriously, and to earn a living out of it in future. (Itargettobe a professional)

Advice would be most appreciated.

I am 20 years old this year, and I heard that the photography course will last for about two and a half years. After that which I believe, will be the working stage of my life as a photographer.


It would also be good to know, what will be the requirements for a working photographer/professional?

****Feel free to ask me clarify my questions.****

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Old Oct 2, 2006, 9:52 AM   #2
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My opinions on this matter are near useless, but I wont let a think like that stop me! My impressions are that a working pro photographer is either a) A lowly paid slave to someone else b) An independant entrepenuer that is more businessman / marketing than photog or c) A successful artist, by chance as much as by talent, much like a rock star

At any rate, it sounds like a pretty tough market that demands skills beyond photography.
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Old Oct 2, 2006, 9:59 AM   #3
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At any rate, it sounds like a pretty tough market that demands skills beyond photography.

Can you provide some examples? :-)
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Old Oct 2, 2006, 10:25 AM   #4
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You need three things:

1. A really good telephoto lens.

2. Willingness to move to Los Angeles.

3. A total lack of personal morals.

Do this, and you can make a fortune as a paparazzi! :|

j/k....I'm anxious to read the legitimate responses, as I've always wondered about this myself.
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Old Oct 2, 2006, 10:36 AM   #5
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I really wish to have more constructive infos. :-)

I think it will most likely benefit otherinterestedparties as well.
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Old Oct 2, 2006, 11:47 AM   #6
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There are all sorts of jobs in photography. A few examples are:

Photojournalist (newspapers AP, Reuters, etc.)

Sports Photographer (further breakdown into newspaper, magazine, AP, or contract/freelance)

Portrait / studio photographer

Paparazzi (won't include them as photojournalist)

Stock photographer

Naturalist photographer (magazines, books, etc.)

Gallery style artist (i.e. goal is to sell gallery prints)

All are different and require different skillsets and different paths to become successful. It's like saying, I'm interested in a job in business - well there are all kinds of jobs in the business world. And, I'm sure there are a number of other photography related jobs I couldn't think of while typing this.

Do you know yet which area of photography you plan to pursue as a job?
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Old Oct 2, 2006, 12:04 PM   #7
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Hi JohnG, it is great to hear from you. Thanks for yourefficient reply! :|

You are a sports photographer and I.T. personal am I right? I have seenplenty ofgreatshots from you in the sports forum. I really marvel at your works respectfully.

I am planning to be a professional photographer in general, but I am not sure which specialty should I be going into.In another words, I amcurrently unsure which area of photography should I be going into.


It is great to hear that there are quite a number of areas for a photographer to serve in! :-)

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Old Oct 2, 2006, 12:20 PM   #8
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As has been said, there are many ways to have a career in photography. Not all are glamorous, and none are easy. It's as much about marketing as it is about taking pictures.

Personally, I enjoy photography too much to ever do it as a career...that would make it a job instead of a hobby. I make enough extra money in photography for it to qualify as a second income, but I only do what I enjoy, when I want to do it. I shoot mostly stock, but do some sports pics for hire, weddings (1 or 2 a year), and some portrait work, mostly for families and friends (once or twice a month). I make enought to cover new equipment plus some.

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Old Oct 2, 2006, 12:36 PM   #9
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Some links you will find interesting if your think of a career behind the lens

ephotozine.com (This ones a good read, will take several days but very interesting. Mostly stock photography)
strobist (A working photojournalist teaches lighting on the cheap)
larrylohrman.wordpress.com (Real-estate photography)

If you really have to ask...
... you might try to do so where more pro's hang out. I've read good stuff related to this issue (its a VERY common question) but I cant find it all.

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Old Oct 2, 2006, 2:27 PM   #10
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Well, lets see.... Where to begin.
First about me.
- I sell my work, but not for a living. Mostly I sell in galleries, but also the occasional fair or direct sale.
- I shoot wildlife about 99% of the time. There is also a touch of landscape, which I will probably shoot more of in the future (very slowly, I enjoy wildlife too much!)
- You can see some examples of my work on my web page (www.esmithphoto.com) or more specifically a gallery of some of my best/favorite work (http://www.esmithphoto.com/galleries...2006/index.htm)
- I know many people who are "professional" photographers. To me, that means they sell their work and take it "seriously". It does not mean it is their only (or even largest) source of income.
- I make my living designing and writing very large scale high performance computer software for a large company.

That should give you an idea of where I'm coming from.

The point that there are many types of photography is absolutley correct. Since you can't tell is which you'll do, I'll only be able to give broad advice.

- First off, most people here are not "professionals" (by my definition.) That isn't to say it is 0%, just maybe less than 10%. So don't expect lots of answers, and expect fewer of them to have first hand experience at the "this is my primary business" part of it.
- In many types of photography marketing matters a great deal. In fact, after a certain skill level, marketing and interpersonal skills matter *more* than your photographic skills. Case in point, a friend of mine is trying to be a full-time pro. He has contracts with REI, EMS and some other firms. His work is used in the in-store signage, and it sells as posters, as shower curtains, and other things. He also shoots for advertising agences. He had to raise his prices 3 times on the ad work because he was getting too much of it. And why was he? Because he was on-time, finished the job on-time, was polite, did what they wanted, and produced "good" work. It wasn't a work of art, the most amazing picture of a muffler you've ever seen. But it was "good enough for the cost" that they were happy. And of that list, being on-time was probably second most important (after being "good enough".) There are great wedding photographers who don't advertise and fail. There are "good enough" ones that succeed because they market themselves well and keep the customer happy.
- A career in photograph is not easy. That isn't to say you shouldn't do it... just that it is *hard* (depending on the type you want to do.) For some types of photograph, the market is shrinking (fine art pints). Also, the huge increase of people with cameras causes a rise in the number of pictures. Some of those are just "good enough" to sell for a little extra cash to stock agencies. This reduces the value of your high quality shot because you're competing with that bad one... which still might be "good enough" for the customer.
- Make sure to take an accounting or small business class!!!! DO IT!!! Your business could fail just because you don't know how to handle that side, so learn it!

One last note, specifically about wildlife shooting. Even though you'll start out selling your photos, that isn't where you're income will really come from. Most of the top wildlife shooters make their money on guided tours/trips. Or they make it off books (and that market is shrinking as well.) Get 30 people to pay you $500 or more each for a 2-day class adds up really fast. But you'll find you take less pictures! So when you get good and start making money, you'll shoot less! Now that sounds backwards. That is the nature of the beast.

If you are at all considering wildlife or landscape photograph, I would suggest you get this book:
ohn Shaw's Business of Nature Photography: A Professional's Guide to Marketing and Managing a Successful Nature Photography Business (Hardcover) [/b]
by John Shaw (Author)

It is a little out-of-date now, but still holds a lot of good info.
I hope that helps you somewhat.

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