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What is it like to be a photographer? What kind of photographer can I be?

I'm in 10th grade and I like to take pictures(mostly landscape) and post them on social media to share it. I like to see pictures on social media where people take pictures of their outfit, or their sneakers, and there's a really nice background. I also want to know how much a photographer makes.
#photography #fashion-photography #landscape-photography

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Roberta’s Answer

Hi Isaiah,
Great question! I originally began my undergraduate career in Biomedical Photography and then switched majors while completing classes.

I got interested in photography in high school, I was often taking photos of my friends and I taught myself how to use an SLR camera.

The day to days of being a photography really depends on what part of the industry/ what specialty you have. There's science photography (forensic, macro, microsopy - where you could from anywhere from a hospital or a crime lab taking images, there's also fashion/advertising, photojournalism, wedding, landscape/ nature, etc. ). I think if you're extremly interested in a career in photography going for undergrad could be a great benefit to you. While it is not necessary, you will make excellent connections and have great opportunities for internships and get hands on experience for what the real world of photography is like. You can learn things such as film photography if that's of interest, lighting, editing - retouch and restoration, and even get experience with other subjects such as web design, writing, etc.

I'm going to be honest with you photography is an extremely tough industry to make it in but it is not impossible and it depends on the path you're interested in. Many of my close friends have graduated almost 4 years ago from RIT which is a top photography school in the country and struggle to find day to day work, many work as freelancers, many are in full time positions assisting in photo studios or as retouchers.

Id recommend reaching out to photography companies in your area - perhaps wedding photographers and asking them if they need any interns or if you could shadow them for a day. This will give you an idea of what the day to day is like and whether it's something you would enjoy.

Hope this helps!

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Daniela’s Answer

Hi Isaiah,

A formal education is not always necessary in order to become a professional photographer, but it is helpful. In general, trained photographers will usually be able to command a higher wage.

Most photographers develop a love for cameras and photography at an early age. High school photography classes can often help develop this hobby into a lucrative career. Many budding photographers will also shoot pictures for their school paper or yearbook, which gives them additional experience when pursuing photography as a career.

Some specialized photography careers may also require some additional coursework. Aspiring fashion photographers may want to study fashion, for instance, and aspiring photojournalists will usually need to take some journalism courses. Photographers who want to break into advertising photography will also usually benefit from taking some advertising courses.

A photographer often has the option of working at photography studios, newspapers, magazines, advertising agencies, and website design agencies.

Photographers can – and will – often choose to focus their career in a certain area of photography. Some photographers might only shoot portrait pictures, for example, which involves taking pictures of people, particularly their faces.
Glamor photographers and fashion photographers will take pictures of models and their clothes. Still life photography, on the other hand, involves taking pictures of static, or still, objects.
Photojournalism generally generally involves shooting pictures of newsworthy events. These types of photographers are usually referred to as photojournalists, and they are often hired by newspapers and magazines.

There are also other specialized types of photography, including science photography, nature photography, underwater photography, wedding photography, and advertising photography.


Good Luck!

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Stephen’s Answer

Being a photographer could be the best job you can imagine. Because it is so cool, it comes with a price of dedication, energy, passion, intelligence and street smarts. I went to a two technical school called Hawkeye Institute of Technology and got a degree in Photography. That gave me the foundation on which I added many seminars and life experiences which expanded into a wonderful career. You can Google the school which is in Iowa and check out the details.
You can see some of my work (I love landscapes also) images :

And I converted the still images into music videos -

I hope this helps you. Stephen

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Bob’s Answer

Being a photographer can be both rewarding and hard work. There are so many aspects of photography such as travel, product, portrait, fine art, journalistic etc.. that your options are many. You can explore the limits of your imagination regardless of what style you choose. For those who choose to photograph people, this is a skill that few others have since you have the ability to freeze a moment in time for your client. One well shot picture can greatly enhance a career.
The most challenging part of photography is marketing. This is very true if you are a 'quiet' person. Much of your time will be spent promoting your work. possibly more than actually making the photographs. Fortunately there is much help to get you started.

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Lindsay’s Answer

Hi Isaiah,
Being a photographer is a very hard job because of the workload and the long hours. However, if you are very passionate about photography then you will love it. Taking photos isn't the only thing you do though. You have to be able to communicate with clients and you have to meet their deadlines. If you do not do this you won't make it very far. Your reputation is a huge thing in the photography business because if you have a bad reputation then most people will decide not to use your business. I hope this helps!

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Marc’s Answer

First off, I went to college for music and got that kind of training. I started getting more serious about my photography when I got a DSLR camera and couple high-quality lenses. At first, I started photographing the shows that I was performing at and sharing the photos with the other bands we played with that night. Then someone who had a big music blog saw me shooting and invited me to shoot for his blog, which gave me free access to big shows and get to shoot in the very front for the first two songs. Amazing experience.

Then, I needed to make money, so I apprenticed with a wedding photographer and learned the skills needed for that specific industry and I built my own business from there. I was able to follow him as a "second shooter" on weddings and I was in charge of getting those candid shots while he took care of the formals. I also had the chance to work with several commercial photographers and do interesting person shoots as well as few studio/product shoots for Crabtree & Evelyn. They had a dedicated photographer and he was desiring my freelancing gigs for his consistent (yet boring) job.

In reality, you're photographing about 15% of time and the rest is all the other business stuff - phone calls, networking with other photographers and potential clients, marketing, rebuilding your website (for the third time), marketing, emails, client management, marketing, learning new techniques, thinking of new packages to offer and finally marketing. Did I mention you need to market yourself a lot?

The part that becomes difficult is running your own business, so get some basic skills in that before you embark on your own journey. Like someone else mentioned, marketing is probably the hardest part, and for an introvert like me, was always a challenge. In the end, it was one of the reasons I dropped my fairly short (4 years) journey in this career path. Thankfully, I had a strong technology career that I left to pursue this career path. That and the long and odd hours (i.e. nights and weekends) and after about a year after my son was born, had me drop my photography as a full-time gig. You constantly need to hustle and be the first one to call back when they leave a voicemail or send an email to make sure you get that gig.

There are other pathways in photography - photo editor, retoucher, studio assistant. With the global tools we have, it's possible to create your own future. In my case, I started too late in my life, but if you're young and hungry, you can make it happen for yourself. From speaking with other photogs (short for photographer in the biz), it takes about 5 years before you start getting the all-important references to start coming-in, which in this industry is how you get gigs. So, have patience, creativity and perseverance while you're young and you could setup a really nice career.