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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 02 May 2008 (Friday) 09:10
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At a Cross Road (career advice needed)

 
hckyguy14
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May 02, 2008 09:10 |  #1

Hello all,

I appologize in advance if this has been touched upon.

I just finished up my associates in Business. While driving home from my last class I started to question if that's what I really want to do. I decided it's really not. I don't want to be cramed in an office my entire life.

So I decided to look into photography schools such as New Ingland Institute of Art, New England School of Photgraphy, and Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University.

I have a feeling I'm going to run into a few problems.

1. Employment - I work full time 8-4 M-F. So obviously the majority of my classes would focus around evening and weekends.

2. My associates degree not being in art. I'm not sure if those schools mentioned above will recognized my associates in Business, meaning I'll have to do it all over again and that's a lot of money.

3. Cost - But that's a part of going to school, so I'm noto verly concerned with that aspect.

So now my question. Is it better to go for my bachelors in photography or a similar field, or is it better to go through a certificate program?

I understand that it's a ton of hard work, and what makes me realize it's what I want is the fact the hard work does not scare me like it did when I started school for my associates, or any one of my full time jobs. I'm ready and willing to accept the hard work.

Any advice would be super!

Thanks for reading.


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Wilt
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May 02, 2008 10:45 |  #2

Realize first, that FEW people have jobs directly related to what they studied in college. College is not always a 'trade school' like it ends up being for many who end up in dedicated professions (e.g. studying Accounting, then being an accountant) College should first be a broadening experience and an opportunity to network, so that job opportunities (and your ability to win jobs) increase. After all, the jobs are not always there in the area we study. Or the jobs in the area of study can eventually cease to satisfy, and it is time to find a new career area. The single-skill trade school does not help with being able to meet more diverse set of circumstances as we go thru life.

I gave this same advice to our youngest daughter after she graduated from high school, and was thinking about going to learn about hair styling. She's graduating with a B.A. later this month!


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chauncey
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May 02, 2008 12:45 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #3

Don't know how old you are but those crossroads that you refer to will come often in your life and
like Yogi Berra said "when you come to a fork in the road, take it".

Those credits that concern, some would be transferrable to any accredited school.

IMHO professional photographers are more artists than picture takers and if that is the case,
are you artistically inclined?

You might want to consider getting a gig as a photographers intern on weekends, just to see if you would like it as a career.
It's a lot different looking in at a career, than actually doing it.


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fishingjts
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May 02, 2008 17:02 |  #4

chauncey wrote in post #5447721 (external link)
<snip>

It's a lot different looking in at a career, than actually doing it.

Agreed! People look at some of my work and say "you should do it for a living" As much as I enjoy photography after doing a few weddings and other "photo shots" and such I know there is NO WAY I could do it for a living! Once in a great while for family and friends is one thing.... but doing it for a living... no me! LOL!


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JeffreyG
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May 02, 2008 17:09 |  #5

Seems to me that a business degree should qualify you to run a business in whatever else you are good at. I don't see 'business degree = cubicle forever' unless that it what you want to do.

Good cooks with business degrees open catering businesses.
Good photographers with business degrees open photography businesses.

One of the main reasons that small (1 person) startup ventures fail is that so many talented chefs, photographers, decorators etc. have zero business skills.


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John_P
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May 02, 2008 18:39 as a reply to  @ JeffreyG's post |  #6

I too just finished up my associates in business (Business Info Tech)... like finished it just this afternoon. ;)

I can certainly relate to your desire to not be "crammed in an office my entire life." That just doesn't sound right at all. But at the same time, I don't think I would want to do photography professionally. I guess I'm looking for something in between. And I'm currently planning to further my business related education at a four-year institution.

In any case, I completely agree with JeffreyG--whatever you end up doing, an understanding of business will be a huge advantage. So many artists have absolutely no business sense.

John


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PhotosGuy
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May 03, 2008 08:44 |  #7

80% of getting ahead is knowing business. 99% of photogs need a business degree.
Get a "Day Job". An ideal one would be as an assistant to a working photographer.
Decide what you like to shoot & what you're good at. No, make that what you want to be excellent at. Then shoot that a lot. Ask questions. Learn.
Shoot what you hate to shoot, too. You'll learn even more.
Then start free-lancing during your non-job hours & the sky is the limit.

"How did you get started"

So you want to be a photographer?

What has the evolution of your photography cycle been like?

Advertising - how to Start

See the .pdf link: Some Ideas for Creating Work and Getting Clients for Your New Photography Business

How did you become a pro (or semi-pro)?

How do I get started?- Nature shots

There are a lot on good posts in this: Photography career
Especially look at Stephen's (sfaust) thoughts.

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chauncey
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May 03, 2008 12:11 as a reply to  @ PhotosGuy's post |  #8

Frank, that link that you provided on how one turned Pro, led me to a comment by Jon, the Elder referring to "that tingle that you get".

I was indeed fortunate enough to get that "tingle" in two divergent careers.
It is, next to gazing into your children's eyes, on of the greatest feelings in the world.

Point being, if you find that career and get that "tingle", never let it go.
Most folks never get it.


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A man's worth should be judged, not when he basks in the sun, but how he faces the storm.

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TheSportsGuy
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May 03, 2008 12:43 |  #9

Oh wow... thanks so much for this thread.

Im a Senior in high school and want to be a pro photographer..

I found out that the local 4-year college is about to get a photography program. It is going to start as a minor, and before i get out, it will be a major..

And this thread just gave me a great idea!

I plan on now, Majoring in business and minoring in photography, and then when they change photography to a major, I will double major in Photography and Business!

oh man........


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airfrogusmc
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May 03, 2008 13:10 as a reply to  @ TheSportsGuy's post |  #10

I think you should major in photography, minor in art and take business as electives. I learned more in 6 months working for successful photographers that I did in all of my business courses combined. I majored in photography minored in art with business courses and went to work full time for a very successful photographer the day I got out of school. I learned SO MUCH about the business of photographer the two years I worked for him some of those things are still with me today and drive most of my business thinking even today.
The reason I say photography and art is you will learn how to put images together, learn about color theory and how to use the visual language and one very important part you will really get a real jump on finding your style. The experience of being around other creatives is invaluable not to mention the friends and connections you will make. These are all things that will separate you from your competition and will open some doors that might be closed if you decide to go to work full time for say a hospital or other type corporation because allot require at least a B/A in photography.




  
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Karl ­ C
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May 03, 2008 14:25 as a reply to  @ airfrogusmc's post |  #11

Whatever you do, finish school and get a Bachelor's; even if it's in Basket Weaving. It's better to have the piece of paper than not and it's something no one can ever take away from you.

Don't be like me, at age 42, wishing you had finished school.

Good luck.


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chauncey
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May 03, 2008 15:53 as a reply to  @ Karl C's post |  #12

Karl, that kind of wisdom only comes as hindsight, shoulda, woulda, coulda.


The things you do for yourself die with you, the things you do for others live forever.
A man's worth should be judged, not when he basks in the sun, but how he faces the storm.

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DStanic
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May 03, 2008 20:29 |  #13

My (professional) wedding photographer (who is EXCELLENT btw) told me he just learned it on his own, when I asked him if he took schooling or anything. To me that means that taking photography in college is not essential to becoming a pro photographer. If you are a photographer I would think having a business degree is most important, since you will need to know how to get clients, advertise etc.


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hckyguy14
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May 04, 2008 13:29 |  #14

Thanks for all the great advise guys! I'm going to take a month or two off and ponder how I would like to go about it. At 28, I feel like I'm behind the ball!


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At a Cross Road (career advice needed)
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