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What is the best route to take if I want to become a photographer?

What process should I go through to become a photographer? What should I study in college that can help me get better at photography?

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Elaine’s Answer

Hi!
I recently graduated from a 4 year university with a Bachelor of Fine Arts - Concentration in Photography. Most colleges offer a graduated step approach - Such as Photography I (basic), Intermediate Photography (more advanced), Advanced Photography (highest level) etc. My school also offered a course on Photoshop tools, Video for Photographers, Alternative Processes (different ways of developing film and making images), Lighting etc. There were a lot of classes besides the basics to choose from! I also completed an "Independent Study" where I choose the subject of my photographic study and worked on nothing but taking photographs of my chosen subjects and producing high quality photographs of those. Taking classes or getting training on Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator is a must for anyone pursuing photography today - People expect photographs to be "perfect" because of the advances in photographic software and the ability to manipulate the way a photo looks.

If you pursue a photography degree or just need some classes to help fine tune your knowledge, check out all your local community college offers and if you enjoy taking the classes and are getting the skills you want, you can look at moving up to the four year university - Plus, you can take classes on other subjects as well. Even for a Fine Arts degree, you will need core classes and a community college is a great place to get those.

Good luck in your future endeavors

Elaine
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. sam
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Sam,

The easy answer is to study Photography in college. I know people who have done well in photography with that level of study. Plus you are exposed to a lot of different types of photography. This is helpful when you don't know everything that is available to you. I know that I didn't know when I took up the study of photography.

You should also make an effort to study areas that use similar skills that you need to be good in photography. Study art and videography, even if you are just taking classes as electives in college. I work in videography and some of the main tenets of photography are helpful with video creation.

Gloria
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Lee’s Answer

Hi Sam!

Figuring out which path to take and how to take it can be overwhelming, but going about it little by little can help. I recently graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus in photography. So obviously, photography is a vital subject to put a majority of your creative energy into, but that doesn't mean completely ignoring the other disciplines. For example, painting or drawing can help one learn to see highlights, shadows, midtones, and color (depending on the medium) a lot clearer, which is essential to photography. As my professor would say, "photography begins and ends with light."

Next, do as much research on the basics as possible, inside and outside class. I was self-taught in photography through articles and videos, and my college classes helped me understand even more. B&H and Digital Camera World have some excellent resources you should check out! Here are their respective links:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography

https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/tutorials

And once you feel confident enough and have the means to do so, apply to juried art exhibitions! Your stuff won't always get picked, and it's easy to get discouraged when they don't, but keep trying! You never know who will see your stuff and be amazed!

Take care!
Lee
Thank you comment icon Thank you! sam
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M’s Answer

Take whatever classes you can that have to do with photography but if you want to actually have you r own photography business, don't neglect some business courses too, Anything you can learn is never wasted time or money but one of the absolute important actions to take with photography is simply to continue taking pictures. Like anything else, the more you do something the better you get at it. Classes are great but experience is the best teacher.
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