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Old Apr-14-2012, 10:11 PM
#1
Vogues is offline Vogues OP
Big grins
Steps to Going Pro
I just finished college with a BA in Sociology and I'm miserable. I'm ready to make the plunge and go into photography full time. I dabble on the side but I really want to get serious. My fiancÚ is in the military and we are moving to middle of no where North Carolina with no photo school in sight.

Anyone know of any quality online classes? I'm skeptical of most I see and I'd probably prefer some through a university-- right? I've looked at NYIP and some others but they just feel like a rip off. I've searched for some reviews on here but they're moderately positive vague. I guess I'm just turned off about how they're hounding me on the phone...

I know I can probably find anything I'd ever want to know about photography online for free but I think I'd benefit from the structure of a class and the guidance from a professor as well as resume building.

Any advice?
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Old Apr-15-2012, 08:04 AM
#2
johng is offline johng
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vogues View Post
Any advice?
Depends on your family goals and how your career fits into them. The reality is: it is extremely difficult to earn a living from a photography business. It's a vastly over-saturated market with LOTS of people doing it as a part-time job and hobbyists just doing it for free. I'm sure you'll get some well-meaning advice to the affect of: "if you really want it bad enough, you can make it happen" and such. That's all fine and good, but it's naive. You also need to consider your spouse' military situation. Will they be re-deployed in another 2 years or getting out? My advice: ONLY pursue this if you and your spouse can live entirely off their salary and anything you make is "a bonus". If your family is going to rely upon your income as well then investing money into school for photography (and equipment and lost income due to spending time on photography instead of better paying job) is a very poor decision. The odds are just against a successful career in photography. There are too few opportunities and too many suppliers.
Old Apr-15-2012, 08:12 AM
#3
orljustin is offline orljustin
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vogues View Post
I just finished college with a BA in Sociology and I'm miserable. I'm ready to make the plunge and go into photography full time. I dabble on the side but I really want to get serious.
You're going to throw away four years of education because you like taking pictures?
Old Apr-15-2012, 08:37 AM
#4
Vogues is offline Vogues OP
Big grins
Thanks johng. My fiancÚ makes enough for us to live comfortably but I do intend to make a serious go of this, regardless.

orljustin, I'm not sure if you went to college/when you went to college and if you did it sounds like it wasn't in the humanities/social sciences and was probably in photography. Very few sociology majors go on to be come sociologists. Unless you're going into something like business or pre med, it really doesn't matter what your major is. Right now I work in social media, I've had jobs at adoption agencies. People just want to see if your smart/dedicated enough to complete a degree. I've learned research, writing and theory--that can be applied to many, many things. I plan on trying to combine my interests in social justice with photography. Bottom line, theres no such thing as throwing away education, every educational endeavor is worth while and makes you a better person.

The thing with photography is that its much more technical which is why I'm pursuing some form of structured education. I can apply my writing skills to some kind of photojournalist angle but besides that I have a lot of work to do

If you think I should make a career out of something I hate because of a decision I made at 18, well, I respectfully disagree. I'm 22 years old, I have time and a little bit of money and my decision is made. If you have ideas on how I can pursue this I'd appreciate it. If you have more constructive/specific guidance I'd appreciate that too.
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Old Apr-15-2012, 08:52 AM
#5
orljustin is offline orljustin
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Nope, just that I've read plenty of threads from young military wives who think that because they like taking pictures, they can start a "business" shooting their base friends' families, and they just find that all their friends think they are photographers as well since they all bought cameras and have lots of time on their hands. I'm not sure how much success you'll have here.
Old Apr-15-2012, 08:59 AM
#6
Vogues is offline Vogues OP
Big grins
That drives me up the wall too. And I'd like to say I'm different--but everyone says that, right?

But really, I think I am.
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Old Apr-15-2012, 10:05 AM
#7
angevin1 is offline angevin1
Performs as designed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orljustin View Post
You're going to throw away four years of education because you like taking pictures?

You're kidding me? Changing direction is not throwing away four years of edu. Not at all.

And changing direction especially while young is prudent.

Success in photography is similar to success in almost any business: WORK, diligence and more work.

Wanting a structured environment to learn in is something you feel you need. So it's time for you to get your interview hat on and go and interview colleges in the area you'll be moving to. You say it's the middle of No-Where, but where is that exactly? I lived in NC for years and can't think of anyplace that resembles that except maybe a Mountain hamlet or two. where it might take an hour just to get to town.
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tom wise
Old Apr-15-2012, 10:11 AM
#8
angevin1 is offline angevin1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vogues View Post
The thing with photography is that its much more technical which is why I'm pursuing some form of structured education. I can apply my writing skills to some kind of photojournalist angle but besides that I have a lot of work to do
I'd suggest there is a huge amount of technical detail, if you like to get technical. And as in other occupations there are myriad ways to earn a decent living in photography. One idea that just came to mind is to check with the base/camp media-marketing specialists and see if you can get some part time work or contract work once you establish your skills.
Also the gov't has jobs for photography in almost every branch: Justice, TSA, HSA, etc.

Just thoughts~
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tom wise
Old Apr-15-2012, 11:34 AM
#9
kevingeary is offline kevingeary
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vogues View Post
I just finished college with a BA in Sociology and I'm miserable. I'm ready to make the plunge and go into photography full time. I dabble on the side but I really want to get serious. My fiancÚ is in the military and we are moving to middle of no where North Carolina with no photo school in sight.

Anyone know of any quality online classes? I'm skeptical of most I see and I'd probably prefer some through a university-- right? I've looked at NYIP and some others but they just feel like a rip off. I've searched for some reviews on here but they're moderately positive vague. I guess I'm just turned off about how they're hounding me on the phone...

I know I can probably find anything I'd ever want to know about photography online for free but I think I'd benefit from the structure of a class and the guidance from a professor as well as resume building.

Any advice?
Don't spend the money on school. Here's a timely article:

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_b...lf-taught.html

You can figure out everything you need to know from blogs and a few books. The rest is up to you as you SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT.
Old Apr-15-2012, 02:10 PM
#10
Vogues is offline Vogues OP
Big grins
Thanks, its not the first time I've heard that. My photo professor recommend I take the money and give myself a year and some improved tools (I know its not about the camera but I'd like to be able to shoot in RAW etc...) to learn as much as I could.
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Old Apr-15-2012, 04:18 PM
#11
divamum is offline divamum
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Quote:
You're kidding me? Changing direction is not throwing away four years of edu. Not at all.
Quote:
orljustin, I'm not sure if you went to college/when you went to college and if you did it sounds like it wasn't in the humanities/social sciences and was probably in photography. Very few sociology majors go on to be come sociologists. Unless you're going into something like business or pre med, it really doesn't matter what your major is. Right now I work in social media, I've had jobs at adoption agencies. People just want to see if your smart/dedicated enough to complete a degree. I've learned research, writing and theory--that can be applied to many, many things. I plan on trying to combine my interests in social justice with photography. Bottom line, theres no such thing as throwing away education, every educational endeavor is worth while and makes you a better person.


I'm really glad you guys already said this. I started a post along these lines this morning, but I was rushed and, frankly, a bit annoyed, so I didn't post it lest it was a bit, er, forceful Y'all have said what I wanted to, so I'll just add my empahtic agreement: a university degree is about a lot more than the undergraduate subject pursued.

While yes, there is a lot technical with photography, it is (or should be) considered an ARTISTIC pursuit. Therefore, you need to do it because you *love* it, and can't imagine life any other way, not because you think it will be a fun way to support yourself. You may or may not be somebody who can support yourself with your camera, but it's wise to assume it will be tough to make it a full-time living, as others above have said.

I think anybody considering a self-employed (particularly artistic) career needs to learn about:

- self-marketing
- networking
- taxes/business skills

Those can sometimes be the difference between making it as a career and not.

It seems to me that the people in my acquaintance who have successfully "made it" as photographers have had working mentors to guide them, and also start throwing work their way. You may want to keep your eyes open for opportunities in your location.

While a Community College AA degree may not be as advanced as you want, some community colleges do terrific work, and it would give you an affordable way of getting some of the technicals you're seeking.... as well as possibly help you find the mentors mentioned above.

Best of luck pursuing your goals!
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Old Apr-15-2012, 04:38 PM
#12
adbsgicom is offline adbsgicom
Texas-Sized Grins
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Where in NC are you? There is an After Dark in Charlotte in May.
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Who is wise? He who learns from everyone.
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Old Apr-15-2012, 06:10 PM
#13
angevin1 is offline angevin1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adbsgicom View Post
Where in NC are you? There is an After Dark in Charlotte in May.

In fact Charlotte has lots of opportunity and large community of photographic artists~
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tom wise
Old Apr-15-2012, 07:40 PM
#14
orljustin is offline orljustin
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by divamum View Post
Therefore, you need to do it because you *love* it, and can't imagine life any other way, not because you think it will be a fun way to support yourself.
Please. "Can't imagine life any other way"? You can certainly be a photographer who makes a good living without bringing out the cliched "P" word ( Oh, I have so much Passion for photography! ).

I'm not saying any education you've gained doesn't help in your daily life, but that's like saying I took four years of pre-law, but I love to make soup, so I'm going to be a chef.
Old Apr-15-2012, 08:24 PM
#15
divamum is offline divamum
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No, I'm not referring to that overused word "passion". I'm referring to drive, obsession, and willingness to perhaps forego other things in life - things that your law-school, med-school, business-school, and corporate friends take for granted - because the artistic path is so consuming that you can't live with yourself if you don't do it. Because doing the job itself is satisfying enough to make even the bad times feel worth it.

I will say that photography is in some ways different than some of the other arts because you can forge a career built on technical skill without necessarily having that artistic drive (see above re the various photographic discplines which are more scientific in nature than artistic) but I respectfully submit that the best photographers are artists rather than precision button-pushers.

I've known plenty of people study for practical careers and then ditch them for what they really wanted to do - many people do their undergraduate degree because they were advised to do something that would make normal money, but then realise they miss the arts too much and switch. I could give you a list of successful classical singers and other musicians who were pre-law, pre-med, chemistry and other subjects as undergrad and then went on to build musical careers. I know at least one ft pro photographer with a similar story, and I'm willing to bet there are more than a few people here at dgrin who abandoned the corporate cubicle to follow their dream.

(It works the other way too, of course, ie people who study the arts for undergrad and then realise they want more "normal" lives, and switch to a different path after they finish their undergraduate degrees.)

Btw, I'm a professional classical musician, so I live with my own decision to take "the road less traveled" - and the joys and complications it brings with it - every single day.
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Last edited by divamum; Apr-15-2012 at 08:36 PM.
Old Apr-16-2012, 03:35 AM
#16
Vogues is offline Vogues OP
Big grins
Jacksonville--Camp Lejeune (sorry if you don't consider that the middle of nowhere, I'm a city girl). I'm hoping for something in Wilmington. There might be some opportunity at Costal Carolina Community College so I'm hoping thats a good start.
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Old Apr-16-2012, 05:19 AM
#17
adbsgicom is offline adbsgicom
Texas-Sized Grins
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I only moved to Greensboro 9 months ago. I don't have any great leads down in your area, but check out the NC Photographers Group on FB or Meetup. It is about 1000 models, photographers, and makeup artists. Most of the teaching happens around High Point but sometimes there is stuff toward Raleigh. And you may be able to connect with some folks in your area.
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- Andrew

Who is wise? He who learns from everyone.
My SmugMug Site
Old Apr-16-2012, 07:53 AM
#18
marionet is offline marionet
Bill
IMHO, what I'm going to write here isn't nice.

Gee, sorry you're miserable; but if you can manage to make good pictures of Misery, you can probably find markets for them. I also feel a little bit miserable after having clicked your link to your smugmug site- basically, they say that page doesn't exist. (Dude, if you're truly miserable, it might be best if you address that issue first instead of trying to escape it.)

I'm sure you're serious enough about this to have already contacted NYIP and some others, have expressed your concerns to them and have received replies, right? How many people are in photo clubs in Lejeune and nearby communities? What kind of photography do you plan on doing?
Old Apr-16-2012, 07:12 PM
#19
Vogues is offline Vogues OP
Big grins
My smugmug site is up and running just fine. Thats an old link and I chose not to update it because of exactly this kind of thing. I'm not really here for critique yet. I'm really not here for you to tell me if I should do this or not.

If you need to know more details about my goals, well thats another story. In my ideal world (I mean, you have to start somewhere, right?) I would travel and take pictures for non profits around the world. In a more practical sense, I am drawn to portraits so probably something related to that. I sell a little work on the side, mostly through word of mouth, nothing big. The most successful images are wildlife. I was thinking a school either for photography and/or business would help me narrow that in to something viable.

There are about 50 people in the photo group. Some of them are nice moms taking pictures of their kids. Some of them are professional. I was thinking working as a second shooter for a while would be a good step but I'm not sure what to expect to get out of that experience-- I'll keep reading about it.
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Old Apr-17-2012, 12:52 AM
#20
Demian is offline Demian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orljustin View Post
I'm not saying any education you've gained doesn't help in your daily life, but that's like saying I took four years of pre-law, but I love to make soup, so I'm going to be a chef.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_co...k_cost_fallacy

That aside, a four year degree is essentially a ton of general education slightly weighted towards your major. Social science majors in the University of Wisconsin, for example, only require 30 credits in your department (out of a 120 credit degree.)

And many people end up finding jobs not strictly in their field of study. A bachelor's degree offers many things, but a specialized skillset isn't really one of them.
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