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Thread started 17 Jan 2013 (Thursday) 21:01
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School or no school?

 
airfrogusmc
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Apr 16, 2013 15:59 |  #76

tkbslc wrote in post #15834597 (external link)
Honestly, I read this ^^^ story and think, "too bad you threw away a perfectly good career and you still aren't happy". Burn out is just life and work can be a drag regardless of what you do. You think even a professional athlete doesn't feel like the season is dragging?

I think there is this B.S. line some people try to tell young people about "doing what you love" and "work won't feel like work.". That's a bunch of crap, honestly. There is stuff that sucks about EVERY job and every career has it's rough spots. The advice I give people is to find a respectable career that allows a living wage + some play money and worry about finding fulfillment after hours. In my experience people who look for personal fulfillment in their work rarely end up finding it.

I live it everyday so it ain't crap. Is it great everyday of course not but its good most of the time. Better that anything else I have done or can think of doing and as for its a waist of time well you can position yourself to get away from the masses or be down there in the masses. An education is no guarantee of anything but I wouldn't be working in the field I am now working in f not for the education, experience, constant learning and work I am able to produce.Sorry you haven't found it in your life but I'm living it and have been for almost 3 decades.




  
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eli2055
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Apr 16, 2013 16:05 |  #77

Has anyone considered that the path you begin to take in college, may not be the path you end up taking. College has the potential to help you see what you haven't seen before, in ways you haven't seen or felt previously. THat transformation can impact your art, your craft, your professional goals, and the route taken towards the same. THose potential transformative moments cannot be easily quantified, nor dismissed based on business experiences of working professionals. WHo knows where you will end up, and the route you will take, should you find a university that inspires and helps facilitate the realization of life goals or the developing of a world view. You may start out thinking you wish to open a studio, but you may end up elsewhere, having found a different path because you availed yourself of opportunities that were not open before. WHo knows whom you will meet, what career moves will be facilitated via education and working with a creative program guiding you through the arts, to find your art. As a college professor (but in the liberal arts) I can attest to the potential power of this journey. If the finances work out for you, consider the journey. GOod luck to you.




  
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eli2055
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Apr 16, 2013 16:10 |  #78

Oh, and I love my work too. There have been challenging and frustrating moments, but i DO and Have worked for the love of the work. Yes, there are those of us who have found fulfillment in our work.
IT is correct that everyone needs a living wage - but these things are not mutually exclusive. You can find fulfilling, self-affirming work, work that benefits others as well as yourself, work that does no harm, that has art and creativity in its essence, and still make a living wage,with some left over money for "play." But to suggest to someone that this cannot be so, at the beginning of his or her journey, seems overly and sadly cynical.




  
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Foodguy
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Apr 16, 2013 17:13 |  #79

airfrogusmc wrote in post #15834936 (external link)
I live it everyday so it ain't crap. Is it great everyday of course not but its good most of the time. Better that anything else I have done or can think of doing and as for its a waist of time well you can position yourself to get away from the masses or be down there in the masses. An education is no guarantee of anything but I wouldn't be working in the field I am now working in f not for the education, experience, constant learning and work I am able to produce.Sorry you haven't found it in your life but I'm living it and have been for almost 3 decades.

Once again, I'm in complete agreement....even down to the 3 decade part. :shock:

FWIW, I got a bachelors degree prior to attending art school to study photography. I don't think I'd be even close to where I am if I hadn't done both. but as always, other's mmv.


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

  
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Mavgirl
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Apr 16, 2013 17:59 |  #80

eli2055 wrote in post #15834962 (external link)
Has anyone considered that the path you begin to take in college, may not be the path you end up taking. College has the potential to help you see what you haven't seen before, in ways you haven't seen or felt previously. THat transformation can impact your art, your craft, your professional goals, and the route taken towards the same. THose potential transformative moments cannot be easily quantified, nor dismissed based on business experiences of working professionals. WHo knows where you will end up, and the route you will take, should you find a university that inspires and helps facilitate the realization of life goals or the developing of a world view. You may start out thinking you wish to open a studio, but you may end up elsewhere, having found a different path because you availed yourself of opportunities that were not open before. WHo knows whom you will meet, what career moves will be facilitated via education and working with a creative program guiding you through the arts, to find your art. As a college professor (but in the liberal arts) I can attest to the potential power of this journey. If the finances work out for you, consider the journey. GOod luck to you.

I totally agree with this for many students. As an undergrad on the 20 year change your major 5 times along the way plan (yes, I'm that old) I have gained so much not just from photography classes, but from every class I've taken. Except state and local government, that one was a total waste of time. And I've gone in a direction I never thought I'd go with my work. However I've seen students, many fresh out of high school, who are just churning out work with little thought and zero personal growth. They're burning through classes with only the goal of getting that degree in mind. I don't think they're having anywhere near the same experience I am and I can see where the value of the journey would be lost on them.

Like most things in life, you get out what you put in.


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Luxornv
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Apr 16, 2013 18:38 |  #81

You have to look at all costs involved, implicit and explicit. Obviously you have the tuition cost of the school. I'm not sure how long photography programs but most bachelor's degrees take about 4 years to complete, and also require other classes that are not related to the major so the school can say the produce well rounded students. You may be able to work during that time or not. Any money you could have made and didn't as a result of going to school would be an opportunity cost. Now, once you have the degree, will you paid significantly more money than if you didn't go to school? How long will it take you to recover the cost of school? Do you have significantly more job potential with a degree than without one? If it's a reasonable time to recover your cost, pay back your loans, and you'll make more money and have a higher job outlook, than go for it. If not, I'd consider finding something else to get a degree in, or just jump right into photography as a business.


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ericm678
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Apr 16, 2013 18:45 |  #82

Luxornv wrote in post #15835498 (external link)
You have to look at all costs involved, implicit and explicit. Obviously you have the tuition cost of the school. I'm not sure how long photography programs but most bachelor's degrees take about 4 years to complete, and also require other classes that are not related to the major so the school can say the produce well rounded students. You may be able to work during that time or not. Any money you could have made and didn't as a result of going to school would be an opportunity cost. Now, once you have the degree, will you paid significantly more money than if you didn't go to school? How long will it take you to recover the cost of school? Do you have significantly more job potential with a degree than without one? If it's a reasonable time to recover your cost, pay back your loans, and you'll make more money and have a higher job outlook, than go for it. If not, I'd consider finding something else to get a degree in.

I'm in the military so their paying for 100% tuition, granite i have to take care of housing, books, equipment (need a more updated camera (currently 40D)) so it's not a big deal with the costs of things other than the housing aspect. it's gonna take some time to recover from some of it, but being the Army/Government pays 100% now it's gonna decrease alot quicker than if i haven't enlisted.


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Edshropshire
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Apr 16, 2013 18:56 |  #83

ericm678 wrote in post #15835518 (external link)
I'm in the military so their paying for 100% tuition, granite i have to take care of housing, books, equipment (need a more updated camera (currently 40D)) so it's not a big deal with the costs of things other than the housing aspect. it's gonna take some time to recover from some of it, but being the Army/Government pays 100% now it's gonna decrease alot quicker than if i haven't enlisted.

I am all for someone following their dream. My only question is what is your dream? You say photography, but the bigger question is what type of photography do you like and plan to pursue after you graduate?

If your plan is to work for yourself then the degree is not as important as the knowledge you need to achieve your goals. If you want to graduate and get hired as a photographer then make sure you go to the right school and find out about their placement center. All schools should be able to tell you how many of their graduates have found work.

Hope it all works out well for you.


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airfrogusmc
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Apr 16, 2013 19:23 |  #84

Luxornv wrote in post #15835498 (external link)
You have to look at all costs involved, implicit and explicit. Obviously you have the tuition cost of the school. I'm not sure how long photography programs but most bachelor's degrees take about 4 years to complete, and also require other classes that are not related to the major so the school can say the produce well rounded students. You may be able to work during that time or not. Any money you could have made and didn't as a result of going to school would be an opportunity cost. Now, once you have the degree, will you paid significantly more money than if you didn't go to school? How long will it take you to recover the cost of school? Do you have significantly more job potential with a degree than without one? If it's a reasonable time to recover your cost, pay back your loans, and you'll make more money and have a higher job outlook, than go for it. If not, I'd consider finding something else to get a degree in, or just jump right into photography as a business.

I went college late. 4 years in the Corps and spent some time in the work force but went to school on the GI Bill. Got paid $525 per month to go to school and shot weddings all through school. Went to school in Illinois on the Illinois Scholarship Fund so if I went to a state school all I had to pay was books and fees.

I was very focused in school. I was determined to learn as much as I could while I was there. I received the Photographer of the Year award my second year in school and I made the Deans List twice and missed honors by that much. :(

What I learned in the Marines was I could take whatever life dished out. What 4 years of college taught me was that I no longer had to. But I was hungry when i was in school and I was even hunger when I got graduated and was determined not to fail. Failure was not an option then and will not be an option now.

I got a job with one of the top photographers at the time I graduated in this area and did all his custom color and black and white printing and his large format commercial work. Have worked full time in since graduating in 1986. But none of this was easy.

The point I am trying to make is I know a lot of photographers that are formally educated that haven't made it and I know photographers that are formally educated that are very successful just like I know photographers that haven't had formal training that aren't successful and some that are but every one that I know that is very successful worked for really good photographers at one time. Its up to you to be successful in school as well as in business. You have to have that drive to be willing to do what it takes to put yourself in a position to succeed.

I now specialize in healthcare. I worked in a hospital as a staff photographer for 10 years. From 91-2001. I started my own business in 2001. The job requirements were at least a B/A in photography, 5 years professional experience, experience with all formats of equipment, the ability to print both B&W and color very well, a killer 4 month interview process which included having good people skills. Without that job I wouldn't have the contacts and wouldn't have the large, steady client base I have today.

But even after you get out of school there are no easy roads or guarantees. Its up to you to be successful and up to keep growing and learning. But if you were an employer who would you hire? The guy with a smoke'n portfolio or the guy with a smoke'n portfolio and 4 years of college? I know who I hire to assist me.

And one other thing is many of the classes I thought were a real waist of time and would have never have taken if I didn't have to in college actually wound up being some of the most valuable lessons I learned and help me in ways I am grateful for every day.




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Apr 16, 2013 20:51 |  #85

airfrogusmc wrote in post #15835638 (external link)
If you were an employer, who would you hire: The guy with a smoke'n portfolio, or the guy with a smoke'n portfolio and 4 years of college?

Excellent point, Allen. That's exactly the type of situation that comes up all the time. The guy with the incredible body of work isn't competing against a guy with inferior skills and a degree. More often, he is competing against a guy with an equally incredible body of work, and a degree. That's reality.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Thomas ­ Campbell
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Apr 16, 2013 21:24 |  #86

My take:

Don't waste your time on a narrowly focused bachelor's degree. Get something that can be useful multiple ways. A photography degree is pretty useless for anything other than photography. The industry is very competitive and the fact is that burnout and fail out rates are very high. So if you burn out or you fail out of photography, what are you going to do with that degree? Now you have four years of eduction plus X years of photography and you are going to have to apply for a job in a new industry with no experience and an irrelevant degree. Good luck with that.

I've been full-time in photography for a little over 5 years. I was a wannabe for a few years before that. I did photography some in college, but it was more for fun and it was never a focus of mine. What I really wish I took more of in college were finance, marketing and accounting classes. Because if you are a photographer, you probably aren't going to have a salaried position. You have to create your job. And that means you are the CFO, CEO, Director of Marketing, Janitor, Accountant, etc. And let me tell you - photography is EASY to learn compared to all the other things you have to learn to run a business.

If I had everything to do over again, I would have gotten a degree in marketing, have minored in some sort of art and have focused on photography as a hobby/for the paper. That is what I feel like I need for my business to be successful. That is what I have learned that I didn't know in nearly a decade of doing this.

I'm also glad that I don't have a degree in photography. In fact, I only took 3 hours and it was all how to print in the dark room. I got degrees in communications and journalism. I wanted to focus on broadcast journalism and was pretty stellar at video back in the betamax days.

I mentor a lot of photography students at a major, well respected university. I've seen their course load and assignments and I have to say that the photography department doesn't come anywhere near preparing them to be professional photographers. Most that graduate end up getting other jobs because they don't know what they are doing.

So major in a degree that will benefit your career, but won't shoehole you into one particular field. Plus, it will give you a foundation of knowledge of all the other things you need to know to run your own business.


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ericm678
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Apr 16, 2013 23:00 as a reply to  @ Thomas Campbell's post |  #87

Btw the school i'm going to offers an associates in photography and job placement which is ALMOST guaranteed, or running your own business which is what some students do. I've stated before they have classes that last about a semester specifically for personal finance, buisness, and marketing your work.

so it's not JUST photography, film, composition etc. it's about bettering yourself, going from a guy with a camera to a knowledgeable photographer. Which is a very perishable skill to endure.

There are numerous options when it comes to photography and being successful, there's a student that had his photos on the cover of sports illustrated. as well as a one that made a food recipe book that's selling like hotcakes.

not to mention the commercial photography with coca cola, bose headphones, nike shoes you name it. but that's not even scratching the surface of the possibilities that could follow with this knowledge and proper education.

Anyways, i'm not worried that i won't be successful after i graduate. I'll learn more within 2 years than i have in my 7 years of photography.


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Thomas ­ Campbell
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Apr 17, 2013 07:39 |  #88

Btw the school i'm going to offers an associates in photography and job placement which is ALMOST guaranteed,

Bull****. I know the Art Institute used to do things like that. Someone got a "degree" from them in Video Game design, then he scored a job working in the video grame department at Toys R Us. SCORE!

I went to one of the top universities in the country. Member of AAU (external link). You know what they guaranteed about job placement? Not a ****ing thing.

My guess is that you are with the Art Institute. If it is, I would run far away from them, if I were you. There is a reason the US government is suing them for 11 billion dollars. It starts with fraud.

1. An associates degree doesn't mean ****.
2. An Art Institute degree isn't worth the paper it is written on.

There are numerous options when it comes to photography and being successful, there's a student that had his photos on the cover of sports illustrated. as well as a one that made a food recipe book that's selling like hotcakes.

not to mention the commercial photography with coca cola, bose headphones, nike shoes you name it. but that's not even scratching the surface of the possibilities that could follow with this knowledge and proper education.

Yeah, who and what were the circumstances? You sounds like an AI recruiter. The guy that got the cover this week was shooting the Boston Marathon and happened to be right there when the bombs went off. Generally the finish line for 4 hour finishers aren't going to get you a cover of anything. But when something extraordinary happens, it is different.

I've worked for one of the companies you named and they didn't give a **** about my education. Only what I can do and what my rates were.


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airfrogusmc
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Apr 17, 2013 08:05 |  #89

It really depends on what you want to do. For weddings and family portraits go work for a wedding photographer for a while. I've been doing this full time since 1986 and wouldn't be working in the field I now work in without my B/A in photography, and a great portfolio and experience.

I do agree about job placement. Where are they going to place you? Any school that guarantees job placement in photography I would really question.

The funny (sad) thing about photography is many think and try and sell you on the you have to do it all mentality. A chef opens a restaurant and he is usually partnered with a business man. Or he will hire a manager to fur the customer side of the restaurant. He runs the kitchen and does what he loves and the business man runs the business.

When an MBA graduates they rarely open their own business out of school. They usually go to work for a corporation.

Why is it photographers think they should just hang out a shingle even after they've gone to college? If you think about it, its crazy. Every very successful photographer I know personally formally educated or not have all worked for other photographers early in their careers.

Every corporation I work for now is in some way connected to the job I had as a staff photographer and I wouldn't have gotten that job without my education, my experience and of course the work...




  
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Thomas ­ Campbell
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Apr 17, 2013 09:14 |  #90

It really depends on what you want to do. For weddings and family portraits go work for a wedding photographer for a while.

Same with commercial photography, though. Most commercial photographers spend years assisting before they make it big.

Editorial is the position that it helps to have a degree. Papers want a journalism degree. But the editorial jobs are drying up faster than water in the Sahara.


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