Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > General Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 20, 2003, 9:45 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 30
Default Becoming a professional photographer...

Hello all, I am seriously thinking of becoming a pro photographer. TOMORROW I sign up for classes for my first year of college. I am thinking of majoring in Mass Communications with a concentration in photography. I'm curious as to how the life of a pro is. What kind of jobs do you ususally do? Freelance, contract, full time employee, what? Is it hard to make it in this biz? Just give me the rundown of the whole thing if you don't mind. Also, if it's not too much to ask, how much money shoul I expect to make? Thanks for your help all.
dylan_d is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jun 21, 2003, 6:40 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,162
Default

People who work in the soft porn business seem to make a lot of money and get variety in their jobs!
voxmagna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 21, 2003, 7:04 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 154
Default

hehe vox, some how i dont think you would make a good careers advisor in a school

davebaird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 21, 2003, 8:01 AM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 30
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
People who work in the soft porn business seem to make a lot of money and get variety in their jobs!
Hehe, that's what I told my parents :lol:
dylan_d is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 21, 2003, 10:23 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,162
Default

Whether we like it or not, mapping out a career in school is one thing, making a living and supporting your family is about employment market opportunities and choices, often the most personally satisfying and status career opportunities which come along, aren't guaranteed to make the most money but can be fiercely competitive. The broader your media studies, the more likely you are to see and exploit a niche. Remember technology is always improving, so you have to give clients something they can't get with better point and shoot digi and movie-cams they can use themselves.

The amount of money you might make, is often inversely proportional to location risks and satisfaction. Allthough specialist war correspondents working for a news station or paper, probably earn good money and like the job - despite the risks. Often it's who you know, not what you know. Remember, getting your pics and work chosen above everybody else is fiercely competitive and you have to work hard to offer something special, not assume the cash will just come rolling in.
voxmagna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 21, 2003, 11:01 AM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 95
Default

There are so many different fields to choose from in professional photography.

I take it you aren't planning on shooting weddings, so here's some thoughts.

Photojournalists are much more than "photographers." Study some languages. Spanish and French are the most widely used alongside English. Learn computer skills relevant to transferring files quickly from any location.

Learn to write. Interesting newswriting is tougher than most people think. The entire media industry is consolidating job positions with advances in technology. A journalist with a laptop and digital tape camera can now do what used to require a cameraman, reporter, soundtechnician and editor with hundreds of pounds of gear. If a newspaper or magazine doesn't have a story, why would they need the picture? Photo editors need to know exactly when and where a photo was taken. They need to know the names of the people in the photo if that's relevant. You must be able to clearly outline the story told in the photo.

No one can "teach" you to take good photos. They can point you in the right direction ("If your pictures aren't good enough...you're not close enough.") but you will have to absorb the lessons of each photo.

The more photos you take, the more you'll learn. So take lots of them.

Experiment with events by showing up at scheduled parades, book signings and the like and shoot away.

Personally show up at your college newspaper and meet the photo editor. Don't bore him with your dreams, questions about his favorite camera, or why you love the digicam you have. Just ask him what the deadlines are and what format they prefer. Leave your e-mail and telephone number and make it clear you will accept any assignment, if it's offered.

You can do the same thing at local newspaper offices. It would be best to have a business card. If you have a photo that you think is especially good, print it and drop it by the photo editor's desk in an envelope. Make sure your name and contact information are on both the envelope and the back of the print. Labels or stamps work best.

Start building a library of photos/topics. The local newspaper in a college town always does stories about the college. Do not shoot every photo at shoulder-level and expect anyone to be impressed. Your mother can do that. Get down on your hands and knees and get the low angle. Ask permission from an apartment owner to go up to their window or balcony and take a few high-angle shots.

Learn to shoot "head shots." Build a file containing shots of people who are likely to make news. The Dean. The Mayor. The Police Chief. You get the idea.

Don't say you work for a newspaper or magazine unless you do. If you have a specific assignment from them, it is fine to say you are requesting access to complete that assignment. But word spreads quickly about people who make use of someone's company name for their own benefit. People in the business don't like it when that happens and they really don't like the people who do it.

How much you get paid depends on who's buying and for what purpose.

Carry your camera with you at all times.
reader is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 21, 2003, 12:08 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
sjms's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,735
Default

above all of the above mentioned items-DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB
sjms is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 21, 2003, 1:58 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 30
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjms
above all of the above mentioned items-DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB
So are you saying that it is not too easy to make it in this field? I'm looking for a job that earns decent pay (enough to make a decent living off of), and one that I don't have to worry whether or not I'll be getting a paycheck next week. Should I reconsider my major? I have plenty of time to change it and am interested in several other things.
dylan_d is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 21, 2003, 2:37 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
sjms's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,735
Default

try to find a major that complements your love of photography. if you feel that is your calling then by all means dive in. persistance and dedication will overcome.

photography is an art as well as a science. i started out in a technical field-from High School i got my licences to work on Aircraft(A/P) college went into EE and worked in the recording industry building studios and then working them. then transferred inti the creative end at NYU Film School. worked in that industry for 7 years. left that and got a real job (sort of)using of all things my A/P licences i got out of High school. work the avionics end mostly with my EE backround and on the job i shoot images for our Tech Training dept and some PR work. on the outside i shoot industrial and have been asked to shoot weddings(declined).

my feeling is don't put all your eggs in one basket. be come somewhat multifaceted in you education/capabilities which allows you to adapt to your wants and your and your prospective employers needs.

i'm not putting you off just want you to think of what you can do when there is less then adequate work to support your love of the photographic image.

maybe i'm wrong and you have all the talent to shoot and make money at the same time. But, what if?
sjms is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 21, 2003, 7:21 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 544
Default

Good photography is an art. Most people who teach techniques don't have the gift. I would recommend you take some courses to learn the mechanics while you continue to do the practical thing... shooting millions of pictures.

No one is going to ask to see your degree when they want excellent pictures taken at their daughter's wedding or photos of their babies.

Photography is a very competitive business. Being good (or better yet, great) is a natural talent, one you can sharpen with school or book knowledge. Keep on shooting.
Wildman is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 8:38 PM.