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where should I start on my journey to become a photographer?

Are there any programs I can sign up for that can help me practice my skills? What are some good resources that I can use to find jobs in this career field?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Len’s Answer

Sam,

A lot of advice may serve you or not, depending on what your vision of 'photography career' looks like to you. I started off taking pictures on my own, then took classes in college, left college early to enlist in the military (with a guarantee of 'photo school' and opportunity to specialize in that after graduation), after leaving the military, I worked in a photo lab, commercial/ advertising studio, independent photographer companies, even portrait/wedding studios. All that occurred before 'digital cameras' were thought of.
If you are looking to follow a similar path, I would suggest learning "OJT" (on the job) and on your own. There are TONS of info and instruction on-line (YouTube, etc.), so get a camera, if you haven't already, take lots of photos and learn post-production/editing, then show your work to working professionals for artistic criticism. Their input about your work is INVALUABLE to helping you improve. Consider applying to those professionals for a job as "Assistant" and LEARN while GETTING PAID. Consider joining PPA (wedding/portrature) or ASMP (commercial/advertising) and begin to learn about the BUSINESS of photography. You will Succeed Quicker if you develop your business skills along with your artistic skills. If your Art does not sustain you financially, it's just a hobby, and there is Nothing Wrong with that either.
"If you make a living doing what you love, you will never 'work' a day in your life. " That does NOT mean you won't have bad days, encounter difficult people or situations, or be challenged as an artist. But your passion should see you through adversity, if you 'stay the course and maintain your commitment to your vision/mission.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for taking the time to help. sam
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Elaine’s Answer

Hi!
I recently graduated from college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in photography. Not everyone needs to go to a 4 year college to pursue a career in photography.

Today, besides being able to take good photographs, you will more than likely need to be at least familiar with and able to work in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator - you can take online courses in both. I would also look at a local community college to see if there are any photography classes available there - community colleges offer great classes at a lot less tuition than most 4 year universities. Look for workshops in your area as well - Just taking good photos is normally not enough, you should pursue getting some training and having someone look at your work to give you pointers and tips to help you get better.

You also need to figure out what path you want to pursue - Do you want to be a commercial photographer? Do you want to be a fine art photographer? Do you want to concentrate on people? Pets? Cars? There are a lot of avenues to look at.

If you can't take classes or work online, at least pick up a few books and read as much as you can on different techniques, lighting etc.,

Hope this helps, good luck

Elaine

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David’s Answer

Hello Sam, since your question gives me no information about you, age etc, I will give you a rather simplistic answer.
First; you have to have a camera with interchangeable lenses. You need this to learn how a camera works, and it's features, so you are able to produce images that a client will pay for.
Second; find the book "the Photographers Handbook" by Michael Freeman. Or, "The Digital Photographers Handbook" by Tom Ang. Either will help you understand the camera and photography.
Third; Look at the photography that interests you. What do you want to shoot? What do you like to shoot? What interests you?
Four; Practice, practice, practice. Shoot a lot of images and compare your work to the images you can find on your internet searches.
Five; get a college degree so you can earn a living while you establish your photography career. Education broadens you horizons.
Six; If you're still in school, shoot for the school yearbook.
Seven; enjoy the journey wherever it leads.
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Lee’s Answer

Hi, Sam!

There are many online and in-person resources and classes that can help immensely! A lot of them do cost money but can prove to be well worth it.

Here is a course taught by the one and only Annie Leibovitz: https://www.masterclass.com/classes/annie-leibovitz-teaches-photography

Juried exhibitions and asking art galleries catering to local artists if they could exhibit your art can be very helpful in putting your work out there. I struggle with running an art social media, so doing things like that keeps my confidence up that people will see my stuff!

Additionally, internships, entry-level jobs, and photography jobs for friends and family can help get your foot in the door, get experience, and make connections.
And here is a list of potential photography career paths:
https://www.bestcolleges.com/careers/art-and-design/photography/

I hope I was able to help!

Take care,
Lee
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! sam
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