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Old Nov 14, 2010, 8:57 PM   #1
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Default best way to get into photography for a living

i was just wondering whats the best way to become like a professional photographer. like do u have to go to school. like what are the steps u gotta take to do this profession for a living
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Old Nov 15, 2010, 8:23 AM   #2
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Photography as a profession is more difficult than ever to be successful at. With digital cameras everywhere and armies of people with DSLRs, it's difficult to overcome "yeah it's not professional but it's free and it's good enough". Photojournalism in the United States is extremely difficult to get employment now - newspapers and other media outlets have been laying off people for the last several years. So there's a glut of unemployed PJs out there. Even portrait and other studio type work is suffering. My advice would be to contact local studios and see what type of internships they offer. Once you know what you're doing with that type of work then you can become a paid assistant. You're going to want to take business classes though - accounting, economics and marketing. There is work to be had, but it's difficult to get enough of it to make it a full time job.
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Old Nov 15, 2010, 8:45 PM   #3
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Excellent points John, especially the people with cameras everywhere. Hard to sell images that people are willing to let go of for free. There are many diciplines of education down the line of photography and journalism. In the end all the education doesnt matter if you havent got "The Eye" and ability to produce images that are a cut above oridinary.

These days its a matter of finding a niche and filling it. Different places have different niches to fill that can range from youth sports to puppy potraits.
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Old Nov 15, 2010, 9:25 PM   #4
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Best way would probably be to learn from an uncle in the business and inherit from him.
Failing that, you need to have a vision, a plan, and be prepared to work hard for long time.
Well, I just talked myself out of it. More room for you. Good luck.

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Old Nov 15, 2010, 9:49 PM   #5
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Brian - that's the best laugh I had all day. Thanks for that post
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Old Nov 15, 2010, 11:09 PM   #6
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HAAA, HAAA, Brian...!

Glad I'm not the only one that was getting depressed...!
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 6:09 AM   #7
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There is always the 1-in-a-million luck-into-it strategy:

Around 2006 I stumbled upon a web site by a student on his gap year about living in Bali. The writing was fair to good, the photography was consistently spectacular. I was surprised to read he was not a pro photographer. Some publisher's staffer saw the site. The firm made him an offer, he took the site down and the photos are now a coffee table book - which I can not find for the life of me!
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 5:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinThyme View Post
These days its a matter of finding a niche and filling it. Different places have different niches to fill that can range from youth sports to puppy potraits.
hey... you gotta start somewhere. (although puppy portraits sound really difficult. they NEVER look where you want them to.
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 5:49 PM   #9
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talked to a guy in my town that does it might be helping around his studio and learning
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Old Nov 20, 2010, 1:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewheeler20 View Post
hey... you gotta start somewhere. (although puppy portraits sound really difficult. they NEVER look where you want them to.
Dogs are actually easier than kids. A squeaky toy and a bag of treats and your set. If you hit the right demograhical area ( ie. somewhere that most people have more money than sense ) easy money. I wouldnt have thought so and fell into it taking my dog to training classes. Gave the trainer a pic for her wall and the rest happened from people seeing that picture. $200 a session that includes a basic package and is expandable. One would never think a simple picture like this would have that effect. Dont make a killing at it but its good for 5-6 sessions a month anyway, every niche you can fill helps.

An impossible market in this area is wedding photographer. They are a dime a dozen with every tom, dick and harry trying to get in. Do a search for NYC wedding photographer and report back, I dont have the days to invest to count all the hits. Tough Market here as is youth sports. Too many companies who will go to sports tournaments, hire high school kids and put a camera in their hands and give them a once over, pay them $10/hr to click on anything that moves then put up a boatload of photos in hopes that someone will order them online. I tried a very short go at that approach and realized I was wasting my time. Instead I put up a table with samples and book appointments to shoot one kid where I can concentrate on getting a few phenominal shots instead of several hundred clickity clickity clicks. I charge a deposit that goes towards the purchase so I know Im getting paid before I click the first shot.

Edit:
This is not my day job. Its a side business that pays for my expensive gear habit, family vacations and suppliments my retirement account. ( And most importantly some relief from income taxes! )


Last edited by JustinThyme; Nov 20, 2010 at 1:39 PM.
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