Below you will find some great info on what being a professional photographer is really like! Take a minute to view the info, then please click the contact button below and answer the question to win an Orange Door Studios gift certificate worth $500! You will not give more than your name and grade level as personal information.
Absolutely. But does it have to be a college degree? No. Does a college degree help? It certainly does. At a 4-year college or university, you will not only learn the technical skills needed but also the creative skills needed to create visually stimulating work of your own. If you would like to get to know the people who taught me most of what I know, please Google Armon Means, and Talbot Easton Selby. Two very talented gentlemen who put up with me as their nontraditional student.
Hey, that's okay! I would advise you to maybe audit some classes at a community college regarding basics of the camera and how it works, workflow, and a hands on class on lighting is by far better than watching a video and trying on your own. You'll have someone present to correct your mistakes so you don't wonder why you aren't getting the results you desire.
*Also could be titled "Alternate Education" but I can't emphasize enough the value of post-secondary education for photographers. And I would include some business courses as well.
Find a mentor you love and gobble up all the training they will throw your way. You will pay for this, but it's not as expensive as college. There are a ton of great organizations that teach photography skills. The Portrait Masters and PPA (Professional Photographers of America) are the two that come to mind first.
Here is a list of some of my mentors and some folks I have learned a TON of information from.
All of these people (except Darren, who is my friend as well as my mentor and with whom I trade culling services for lighting education) I have paid or am currently paying for education on everything from lighting to post-processing to business and marketing.
Here you will find the real costs of being a photographer. *Warning: you may not like it!
You honestly do not need a TON of equipment but here's a list:
The software I use daily:
The bare minimum gear:
These are the things you'll pay for but how much depends completely on YOUR business and how much you do or don't.
Here are the people I partner with. Without them, I couldn't do my job.
A great custom picture framer can make or break a portrait business. Look for one who uses conservation materials and understands fine art framing and the materials used for longevity.
A great lab prints images on metal, canvas, paper, or other materials in a way that uses pigmented inks or analog techniques to make a photographer's work shine. The method they use creates a memory that will, as they say, actually last a lifetime.
It's a great idea to have a network of other photographers that you can count on for education when you need it or to step in for you should you become ill or injured. It's also great to know photographers who do work you don't, such as photographing newborns or weddings if you do not.
Ahhhh the good stuff.
This depends completely on how you work. As an independent business owner, I can earn up to $100,000 or more per year working full-time. That breaks down to about 20 Seniors and 30 families per year as a portrait-only photographer using the same business model I do.
Benefits as a small business aren't exactly a bonus but rather, if you are on your own, something else to add to your costs. You will need to find your own health insurance and invest for your own retirement as well as find a great accountant to help be sure you're paying into your social security and any other taxes you might incur. That said, there are some great things about this job that I'll list in another section.
Ahhhh the really great stuff.
The downside to my job
The things I LOVE about my job
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