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Old Jun 21, 2003, 6:35 PM   #11
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Press photography in particular is an overcrowded business, and the number of steady jobs is ever in decline (at least in England), as where every newspaper used to employ quite a few staff photogprahers, they now usually have one or two at most, and get most of their photos from news agencies or from freelancers.
This means you'll now most likely have to work freelance, which of course means you'll never know where your next pay cheque is coming from, especially at first - once you get established you'll start to pick up regular clients, ie, the paper will phone you with a job they want you do.
Another problem with this is the amount of "casual" photographers, who do it in addition to holding down another job, rather than full time, as it both lessens the amount of work available to those trying to survive solely on it. It also lowers the pay rates, as those with another income will work for less money.
One specific example of this, as relayed to me by a colleage, is that he used to get regular work from a local paper photographing defendants down at the town courthouse as they left. Now they use a 60 year old man, who's retired, and thus has all day to sit down there, and works for almost nothing because his main goal is the satisfaction of seeing his work and name in the paper.
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Old Jun 21, 2003, 8:10 PM   #12
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I was thinking of hopefully working for a magazine. Other than photography, I love autos and read several auto magazines. I was hoping to land a job a car and driver or road and track in my future.
But, it appears that I might need to reconsider my major. I mean, I can still shoot regardless of my job. I'm considering aerospace, engineering, or another concentration in mass communications. Such as radio/tv. Is the tv/movie business pretty much the same as the photography biz? I mean, is it just as hard to find a job and make a good living?
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Old Jun 22, 2003, 8:33 AM   #13
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Everyone here has tried to tell you it's competitive. They're telling you the truth. TV is just as competitive as print.

If you're looking to get into photojournalism for the money, change majors now. It's not that there isn't good money to be made, it's just that the money follows the competition. Passion drives the great photojournalists out there today.

Your interest today is cars. Think about a career that will carry you through other parts of your life when your interests may lie somewhere else.

You've got time to decide. You'll need an education no matter what that decision may be.
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Old Jun 22, 2003, 8:45 AM   #14
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I would say that cost is driving (at least right now... in 4 year? Who knows!) Freelancers are cheaper, so are people who can do more than just take photographs. If you are really into cars and are interesting in photography, that is a good angle to attack it. If you are only doing it because you want to make the money.... if you aren't really interesting in the subject, it will show in your work and it won't be as interesting.

I wanted to touch on something which reader said way above.

In many industries, you ability to communicate is key to getting and keeping the job. You have to be flexible in what you do, but in almost every job out there you have to be able to explain, write, describe, listen and read well. You won't get your idea for a photo shot concept accepted because they won't "get it" as you imagine it. Make sure, no matter what you do and if you do (or don't ) combine it with photography that you communicate very well. Often, a business will succeed by the image it presents and how well it treats customers (and much in photography is a very customer oriented business.) You can take great pictures and have a book ready to be made, but if you can't convince the publisher to look at your work it won't happen.

Most (but not all) here are not professionals. We are a friendly bunch that offers advice to people on purchases and some technique. I would suggest reading posts in the forums at:

Specifically the "Professional Photography Discussion" section about 2/3 of the way down. They talk about what they do... the issues they face. But be careful, they might not be as friendly a bunch as we are here. Also:


I donít read this one, so I canít comment on the quality of content. But it looks like it could be useful.

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Old Jun 22, 2003, 9:50 AM   #15
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Take a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics data for photographers earning wage/salary (excludes self employed) at http://www.bls.gov/oes/2001/oes274021.htm

If you are not familar with percentile distribution, that says that 25% (15,300) made $33,890/yr or more nation-wide. 10% (6,125) made more than $48,050. Those are not encouraging numbers.

I'd suggest not worrying to much about what your specialty is likely to be right now. A good basis in writing will serve you well no matter what you do in the future. Math will do the same. I'd also suggest looking at BLS's Occupational Outlook Handbook (http://www.bls.gov/oco/). Since it tries to cover a really wide range of occupations, there is a limit on the amount of detail, but given that limitation it is the best source.
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Old Jun 22, 2003, 1:33 PM   #16
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Thanks you guys VERY much. I'm not worried about money as much as I am about finding and keeping a job. Which in this case, does not look too easy. I have some decisions to make now...
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Old Jun 23, 2003, 3:27 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by dylan_d
Is the tv/movie business pretty much the same as the photography biz? I mean, is it just as hard to find a job and make a good living?
I personally think, that if you have a passion for photography then you can always find a way to make it a part of your life. You can yourself chose how high you aim and what the stakes are.
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Old Jun 23, 2003, 3:52 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Soundengineer
I am educated as a soundengineer for film/television and radiobroadcasting. First of all you can forget radio. There is almost no such thing as soundengineers in radio anymore because everything is digital and the journalists run their own programs from data programs and they edit their own stories and articles.
That's the thing, the digital revolution is taking over everything. Twenty years ago you didn't hear the term "desktop publishing"...if you wanted a newsletter done you'd go to a printshop and pay them to do it. Now, you can do the whole thing on your desktop and print it out yourself on a laser printer.

The same thing is happening in other industries, and it's now happening in photography with digital photography...less need for people who know what they're doing. TV studios are using robotic cameras...no need for someone to know how to focus, all you need to know is how to move a joystick.

Look how the music industry is hurting...anyone can make their own recodings on CD (and I'm not talking about copying).

There's a book called, "Do what you love, the money will come later"...not always true though.

Just a little 2 cent comment (including taxes).
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Old Jun 23, 2003, 7:27 PM   #19
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I received my undergraduate degree in Mass Comm in 1978, my masters in 1985 in Communications Management (JVMBA). I have switched careers three times (PR/Marketing to sales to management (hospital administrator) working in four different industries. I advise you learn to write well (writers rule the creative world), be flexible, invest time in good, long lasting relationships with mentors and colleagues and take a lot of photos. Photography is my hobby; I read somwhere that people have a real knack for taking something they enjoy as a hobby and ruining it through excessive organization. I'm almost 50, just starting to earn a little money from my photography, which is my hobby. BUT - From my career I have earned a good living, reasonably enjoyed my work more often than not and provided for my family, which was pretty much all I ever wanted out of a career any way. Hope this helps.
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