How can i start to persue photography as a career? -
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Old Jan 4th, 2011, 12:58 AM   #1
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How can i start to persue photography as a career?

O.K, so I'm only 15, but I like photography and would like to peruse it as a career someday. I have a decent digital camera, It's a 5mp camera with a 4x optical zoom and a pretty decent lens. It's just a point a shoot, but I didn't have $700 to spend on an slr. I've read a book that taught me about aperture and iso and stuff. Anyway, can photography be a potential career? What could I do, if it made decent money I would like shooting weddings and events and stuff (I like candid photography best) but am willing to explore other options. Know, since I'm only 15 I know I wont be making any money for awhile but what can I do now to prepare for later? I mean like practising my photography. Oh yeah, I am decent at editing my photos and have Paint Shop Pro. So, yeah, what can I do know and what should I do later?
You don't have to tell me that your not going to be able to do photography full time starting out, I know that photography would have to be a side job.
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Old Jan 4th, 2011, 06:36 AM   #2
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As a professional photographer... No one in their right mind us going to hire someone and pay them $1000+ to shoot a wedding with a point and shoot camera..

Get a part time job, save your money, and buy yourself a d300 or similar.. Then practice, practice, practice... Ppl also don't take you seriously if you just sit there and shoot in auto.. You have to know how to use the finer points of your camera

Oh and if you want to get some good practice, call up a wedding photog in your area, and see if you can assist them.. There won't be any money in it, but it's good experience.. Also, don't call them until you have a dslr.. Or they won't take you
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Old Jan 4th, 2011, 07:53 AM   #3
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Welcome to ehMac!

Good for you for recognising your interest in photography and your desire to turn it in to a career.

chrisburke is right. You have a lot of learning to do, but don't let that stop you from chasing your dream.
The good thing about you being 15 years old, is that, being so young, you have a lot of time to study photography, and art in general, and become really good at it.

Can you take photography classes at your school?
Are photography classes available in your community (continuing education, colleges, etc.)?
Some stores that sell camera equipment give low cost, or even free classes. How about where you bought your camera?

An easy and fun way to learn, is to study other peoples' photos.
Look at the photography of famous photographers and compare it to your own.
What's the difference (if any )?
How did the famous photographer do what they did?

Look at all the photographs you can (galleries, magazines, libraries, online, etc.), and try to determine why you think they're good photos or not-so-good photos.

Whatever comes of your interest in photography, you will have embarked on a lifetime journey of exploration and creativity.

When you take a photograph that you are proud of, please post it here in this forum.
We love looking at pictures!

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Old Jan 4th, 2011, 08:21 AM   #4
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Don't worry about having a camera that's "not good enough".

I would suggest searching out a local wedding photographer or studio photographer and asking whether they could use an intern. Most wedding photographers don't work solo, they have someone carrying and setting up their gear, wrangling people into place, etc. It likely won't be a paying gig, but you'll learn a ton (and get to use some pretty great equipment). That will give you a first hand flavour of what it's like to make a living as a pro.
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Old Jan 4th, 2011, 08:22 AM   #5
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Take lots of pictures at weddings of friends and family. Make a photobook in iPhoto and give it as a gift. No need to spend $1000 of dollars yet. Enjoy the camera you have now and learn all of its manual functions. If you are good then you will get known and recommended. My first few weddings (video) I shot for free with a consumer camera and edited with iMovie and this let to many recommendations and work later on.
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Old Jan 4th, 2011, 08:40 AM   #6
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OP.. you have to spend money to make money.. Glipts advice is good if you don't want to be taken seriously.. Glipt.. I would never pay someone to video a wedding if they were using iMovie to edit..
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Old Jan 4th, 2011, 09:36 AM   #7
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I was not payed for the first few weddings I did. They were favors for friends. When other people saw my work they asked me to shoot their weddings. Based on whet they say they wanted to hire me. That was with iMovie 3. While a professional might have cringed at my equipment and software back then, my clients were very happy. They did not know or care what I edited with. When I started to get offered more work, I then purchased FCP, Lightroom and eventually a Mac Pro which I have used ever since. Photography and video has always been a hobby for me, I have always had other regular work. I have never advertised or solicited work. People have asked me and if I have the time I have enjoyed working in this field. Over the years the work I have done has more or less financed this rather expensive hobby. The OP is 15. My point is that you don't have to spend $1000s to learn and even make a few $ with humble consumer gear.
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Old Jan 4th, 2011, 10:43 AM   #8
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Having run a photo lab for a number of years I will chip in with a couple of points about weddings.

Weddings are the equivalent of walking a high wire with no safety net. Weddings are also the one area where otherwise competent amatuers are most likely to mess up. Once you are being paid to do weddings you have to get it right first time every time. I heard of one top notch photographer in Chicago who spent well over $10,000 (probably about $50,000 in todays currency) recreating a wedding, when two Hasselblads failed on the same day. Sounds extravagant but he considered his reputation to be far more important than the cash. Weddings while paying quite well are not for the faint of heart.

Most good wedding photographers have an assistant whose main job is to shoot back-up. As often as not they are using the simplest idiot proof camera possible. Even so good flash equipment can make all the difference between a good shot and crap. There is not a point and shoot on the market that has sufficient range for good group photos, not to mention red-eye from having the lens and flash sitting right next to each other.

First learn exactly what you can and cannot do with your current equipment, then you will have a better idea of what to look for when you upgrade. If your interest is weddings be prepared to pay your dues and do not hesitate to work as an assistant. Wedding photography is relatively high stress and a lot of good photographers decide the pay is not worth the hassle, so working as an assistant could put you in a good position to take over a going concern. In the meantime you learn all about the pitfalls at someone else's expense.
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Old Jan 4th, 2011, 11:04 AM   #9
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Glipt.. I understand what you're saying.. But the truth is, even my Worst photos have been praised by clients.. Because they come in with the mind that "the professional will do better than my point and shoot".. So no matter what you give them, they will like.. Mostly because they know they can't do as good as you.. Hence your video doing well.. The ppl knew they couldn't do it, so they were impressed by what you did.

A small part of photog business is image.. That's why I stress good gear.. The reality is, ive taken some AMAZING photos with my iPhone 4.. But im not going to use it to shoot a client.. And it's 5mp.. Just like the OPs camera... People see quality gear, and it gives them a sense of security..

That being said, you can have the most expensive camera in the world, and still get shitty results.. Because it's not the camera that makes a good photo.. It's the operator...

OP.. yes, learn your camera.. Learn all the manual functions so you understand that its not about just pointing a camera and pressing a button.. But I'm telling you, if you want to be taken seriously, you need professional gear.. And a d40 or d3000 is not pro gear... And as has been said... Weddings are a place where you can't screw up.. There's no do overs.. And if someone pays you, and they get point and shoot quality, you can expect to see yourself on judge Judy.

Take it as you will, but I'm telling you this as a person who has been making good money in photography for the last 6 years... And shooting photos for the last 12 years.. Photography businesses dont start over night.. And they don't start 6 months after getting a camera and having friends say you do good.. It takes time, work and money
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Old Jan 4th, 2011, 11:16 AM   #10
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hey, fantastic for you, at 15, to be thinking of a career! I envy you b/c I always wanted to do wildlife photography, then let it slip. Now, I find myself trying to take as much wildlife photos as I can!

Screature had some great recommendations. If I were you, I'd get part time job and do 2 things:

1. take some classes at either your school and/or stores such as henrys. buy some photography books. try to understand as much about photography as you can possibly learn, bookwise

2. then buy an SLR and use that book knowledge and apply it 'in the field'. Shoot lots, change settings and put the 2 together. You don't need a high end SLR either. Even the 'basic' models have plenty of features for you to sink your teeth into and not get lost.

Don't get hemmed in with just weddings. I know you just mentioned, but there are plenty of avenues - wildlife, pets, babies, family portraits etc.. and for the last 3, if you got an SLR, you could start doing some favour projects for family and friends to gain that experience and who knows, maybe grown enough knowledge and talent to start charging in a year or 2 (or longer or shorter... you never know).

Good luck and speaking from experience, if you love it, don't let it slide
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