In the eyes of many, photographers have a somewhat desirable career. Common conceptions that outsiders have of the photography world are often those of glitz and glam, rubbing shoulders with the stars and living the high life.
These conceptions are often true – may photographers do indeed live exciting, fast paced lives, and successful photographers will often get the chance to travel the world with their work. However, getting to this stage will often require years of hard graft, gaining the necessary knowledge and experience of the field, before taking their skills into the big, wide world.
There are two main routes that people usually take to enter the world of photography, but that by no means rules out any other routes into the industry. If you ask around, you’ll soon realise that photographers started their careers in all sorts of different ways.
However, the two most common routes are by taking a university course in photography, or by starting out as a photographer’s assistant and learning their craft this way. Many graduates combine the two and go on to become photographers’ assistants, before they set out on their own.
There are so many universities out there offering photography courses. Before you sign up, you should be certain that your particular course teaches the specific areas of photography that you are interested in. Of course, this is assuming that you are lucky enough to know what areas you’d like to specialise in before you take a course. For many people, you won’t know what area you want to specialise in until you are well into your course, at which point it may be too late to change.
It is always worth keeping this in mind when choosing universities. You should also be sure that your chosen university is able to offer all of the appropriate equipment. Check what accessibility you’ll have the equipment and whether you’ll be required to buy your own equipment. This could be a deciding factor for many people.
Through your university, you’ll often have the opportunity to make connections with people already in the industry. These connections could certainly come in handy when it comes to finding your first assistants job. If you don’t have the luxury of having these connections, don’t despair. There are masses of online communities where you’ll be able to find such opportunities.
It’s a case of putting yourself out there and really selling yourself. Be prepared to work for a minimum wage, but always remember that the experience is invaluable!
There are so many other ways into the photography, and if you have the passion within you, you’ll often find your way to that first golden opportunity.