Choosing a photographer
Vintage Photo Books

you are at : [on Photographic Schools and being the BEST ]

Will going to a photo school help...

In New Zealand, I am told, over 700 students graduate every year from some school with either a diploma or a degree in Photography.
I am told the number in the States & Canada is round the 10,000 number.

When you consider that if a photographer is 25years old when he or she some how gets a job or starts their own business they will have a working life of 40 years retiring at 65.

In that time 400,000 in the America's and 28,000 in New Zealand, will have graduated and be looking for a job in photography.

Some, not always the best, will land a job in photography, some will buy a existing business and enter it that way.

Some will start their own business and both of these options are subject to failure if the photographer- business person is 90% photographer and 10% business person.

They would have more chance of success if the percentages were reversed. A business person with a small amount of Photographic knowledge would have a better chance of success in the Photographic business world that the so mentioned 90% photographer.

Now if you are a woman reading this I would first of all make capital out of the fact you are a woman and look for positions that are suited for women photographers.... Glamour to semi nude of other women are more possible with a woman photographer.

Children photography is also particularly suited to women photographers.... because, on a whole, nature often makes small children nervous with men both for it's own protection and because most of it's life to that stage has been in female company with only a few males entering it's sphere. I would feel this applies to at least 60% of under 5 year olds.

Neither of these you may find terribly exciting, but it is Photography and you may not have that many choices!!!!

Another thought if you want to enter the Wedding portrait business you could look around for someone that wants to retire if say five years..... if you do get it all in writing!!!!

Whatever job you find you next prospective employer they may think "at least they are in photography"..... yes I am saying do any type of photography to stay in it if that is really what you want to do! I know a number of VERY successful commercial, advertising, photographers who got their start in Portraits or weddings. Magnum photographer New Zealander Brian Brake started work as a assistant in a wedding Portrait studio in Wellington NZ.

It is not where you start that is important but where you end up!

Do remember that most "glamour" specialist areas are very popular, and applicants will need more than a great deal of perseverance and determination to find an opening in advertising, fashion or newspaper or travel photography.
However, there is always a genuine shortage of skilled personnel in areas such as photographic laboratory work. Some laboratories have difficulty in recruiting good staff.

I would not expect any photographer to land a job thro an advert on the web. It is such a personal business, first there is the way the photographer dresses, then their personality, then their work habits and finally their ability and that can possibility be split up into several other parameters. So you see how do you find out all of those things from seeing some images of the web.

They may be excellent but the employer need that type of image done in 10 minutes and you took 2-3 hours to do the sample you are showing.

Some of the best advice I have read about getting into Photography as a career is on the BIPP site at here it is most complete and informational.


So it is NOT possible to be a photographer!!!

A young 16 year old writes that after reading my pages she feels it is nearly impossible for one to have a successful Photographic career. She would like to know what she needed to be doing now to hopefully become one of lucky ones.

This has made me think about what I have written and wonder whether I have painted too bleak a picture. However on reflection I do not think I have if anything I have been realistic in what I have said.

It is unfortunate with the arts that often they are terribly underpaid compared it to the amount of energy that a person puts into perfecting their specialty. I don't think this will ever change.

Occasionally one finds a businessperson that has entered the particular craft and applies good business practice to it and ends up being an wealthy person. Is unfortunate that this person usually is looked down upon by others within that industry as prostituting it or using illegal or immoral means to make his money.

However this does not remove the facts from the situation that if we look upon painters, a photographer's, golfers, musicians, and sports people of every calling. Only a few in each of these expertises ever reach the top. At the bottom there are hundreds no thousands that derive at a great deal of enjoyment from their hobby but look upon another skill to earn their daily bread.

There will always be the Tiger Woods at the top of the ladder but on the rungs underneath will be a large number of people making a more than reasonable living and then those making a good living and so on at down the ladder or pyramid until we reach the ones at the bottom that satisfied their interest in the craft or sport purely as a hobby.

This factor should not stop you pursuing your dream but at some point you will need to face up to the facts of when exactly on that pyramid you will end up and if is round the hobby area you naturally will need another job to pay for your living expenses whilst you enjoy your hobby.

There is nothing wrong with having a your dream occupation as a hobby in fact I often believe that people in this situation are the lucky ones because they can do things with their dream that the Tiger Woods can't do.

If you are at the top of your chosen dream you have to everyday produce the top product and you can never relax because some keen Sixteen-year-old is wanting to take your place. As a hobby you can produce what you want for your self and not care if the others do not like the result.

So do your study, pass your exams, get your degrees…. And aim for the top from the start. So the top of the exams, a degree with honors and all the time you are practicing and perfecting your photography. Enter competitions and win them. Be the top in the large camera club you belong to. All of the time you are practicing every day. If it was the piano you were playing you would have to learn music and do hours of practice EVERY DAY.

Photography is no different and that is why sometimes it is easy because no one is prepared to make the sacrifice to become good. It means giving up "the good times" with your friends, but do you not think that is what any "Great" had to do. Check it out. Most you will find had to work damn hard to make it to the top in any occupation.

Be The Best. So how good do you have to be to be the best?

Well if you were a horse and you were up running the Kentucky Derby if you won by a photo-finish and they had to examine that finish with a high powered magnifying glass and they could just see that here of your nose that made you the winner you would still be the best. Your name would be remembered at the winner.

So that's how good you have to be you have to win a by at least a photo-finish, but preferable by a good few lengths!