How To Get Your Photographic Career Started
There are many opportunities for people to work in the photographic industry; but this is a popular vocation, and there is often a great deal of competition, particularly in working as a photographer. If you want to a secure future working in photography, it is wise to seek employment not only as a photographer, but also in any related job (which may in due course lead to opportunities for advancement, or side stepping into a more desirable position).
Opportunities may be found in:
- Photographic Sales or Marketing
- Publishing (Purchasing, managing and processing images)
- Photo Library Manager
- Freelance Photography (particularly family portraiture, and special events such as weddings)
- Photographic Suppliers (eg. Camera manufacturers)
Changes and Uncertainty
In recent years this industry has undergone a great deal of change brought about by the introduction of digital photography and decline of film.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about this subject and it is an unchallenged fact that jobs have been lost and businesses restructured as a result.
Despite all of the talk though; film photography has not disappeared and is unlikely to do so. Some publishers do now insist that photos are only supplied as digital images; but there are others who have gone to digital and moved back to film.
Film offers possibilities which cannot be achieved with digital. Digital offers possibilities that cannot be achieved with film. Both are likely to be used in professional photography, if not in amateur as well.
Where to Start
Undertaking a course is often a good starting point; but experience is equally important.
Many professional photographers do have formal training; but many others have little or no formal training.
Your chances of success will be enhanced if you take a two pronged approach: doing a course, but also seeking experience at the same time.
Most people study a photography course, but this could range between a vocational short course to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in photography. Most photographers will then go on to accumulate a significant amount of experience through practice, working in a camera/photography shop, working as a photography assistant, taking photos for friends and family, etc. When they have had a significant amount of experience they will put together a portfolio, to either gain paid employment, or to gain contracts as a freelancer.
People may specialise in a range of different areas, and this will guide their next career move. For example, someone wanting to get into wedding photography may do a specialist course, then gain work experience, or work as a photography assistant for a wedding photographer, before branching out and starting their own business.
Your choice of course should be determined by not only what you want or need to learn but also how much time, money and effort you are able to put into a course. Study takes an effort and does eat away at your resources, so it is sometimes better to start slowly (eg. with a short course or certificate) and later undertake something bigger (eg. a diploma or degree).
ACS Distance Education offers a number of excellent starting points including:
Introduction to Photography
Advanced Certificate Applied Management-Photography
Certificate in Photography
Associate Diploma in Photography
You can get experience in many ways, including:
- Submit photos to competitions
- Offer photos (for free) to be published by magazines, web sites or anywhere (eg. As a student of ACS you can publish photos in the online student magazine)
- Apply for work in photo shops (or anywhere else)
- Volunteer your services to help staging a photo show/exhibition; or help with putting together community or club newsletters
- Offer to take photos for friends or relatives at weddings, birthdays, parties etc.
- Apply for any jobs you see, not only in photography, but anything related to photography.
GET ADVICE FROM A PROFESSIONAL
Our principal and staff have been making money from their photography for over thirty years; not just in our own courses and publications- but selling them to publishers and other businesses for use in books, magazines and in marketing materials. Contact us and ask questions. Get another perspective from someone who is actually earning from photography.