Congratulations! You just decided to pursue a career in photography. You’ve finished your degree, you’ve worked in shoots, you’ve done some small assignments; and now, you are finally ready to call yourself a legitimate photographer by setting up your own career in the field.
Photography will take you places you’ve never been to, people you’ll never thought of meeting in your lifetime, and events that will change the course of history. Or so it will. At least that’s what your professors told you.
The reality may be very well different from the image you have inside your head. See, like any career choice, it’s not going to be a bed of roses. There will be sleepless nights. Sometimes, not even the best silken mask to fall asleep is guaranteed to work. There will be moments where you feel like tearing your hair out. There will be moments of doubt. There will be bad clients, and bad experiences. A photographer’s life isn’t easy.
On the flip side, if you temper your expectations and enthusiasm, you might very well have just found a career that will never seem like one to you. You WILL enjoy your work. You WILL have the satisfaction of pursuing something you love.
We’ll provide you the necessary things you need to know before you drop everything and dive into the deep end of photography.
Check Your Motives.
Why are you interested in pursuing photography? Is it because of the fringe benefits you think you’ll be getting? Like, meeting hot models, celebrities, political personalities, and their ilk? Is it because you think you’ll be covering high society events? Prestigious product launches? Is it because you’ll get to hobnob with interesting people? The thing is, you may be setting yourself up for future frustration by putting all this in your mind. Many photographers never make it to those type of events; the reason for this is because they see their work as art. What makes you so sure that you won’t down your tools and walk away when the going gets tough? It is hard work; people who enter photography for the wrong reason are the ones that are most often unhappy about the path they chose for themselves.
Photography can be just as broad as any of the natural sciences. What kind of photography are you going to specialize in? Specialists are called so for a reason, and that is because they specialize in a particular subgenre of photography. Are you going to do weddings? Sporting events? In-house photography for magazines or publications? Fashion photography? Art photography? Specialists get paid more to do a particular event, and that’s because they already know how to go around things and do it right the first time.
You CAN be a specialist and yet be flexible. You have to be. It’s a dog-eat-dog world in photography, and those who can’t adapt to new technologies, new styles, and new demands from clients are the ones that are going to struggle. You have to be open to exploring different ways to improve your skill set and your art, as with any particular discipline. You need to embrace the latest technological trends, and be open to other avenues you can apply your knowledge of photography to, such as information design, Adobe Photoshop, or even dabble in other ventures such as filmmaking. Always listen for opportunity, because we seldom hear a good one at the outset.
These are the questions to ask yourself and things you need to keep in mind before you dive into the world of photography; whether you find yourself truly enjoying your life’s work will depend on whether you having been asking yourself the right questions and if you’ve been answering them honestly. Hopefully, this is a start. Good luck and Godspeed.