If you like taking photos you may be wondering what type of training do you need to become a photographer. Although everyone can benefit from taking photography courses, how much training you need depends on what type of photographer you wish to become.
If you desire to be a photojournalist or specialize in a science such as medicine, you will need to get a college degree. In addition to gaining the level of knowledge you need for these careers, getting a college education will also help you develop your portfolio and make the contacts necessary to secure work later on. When choosing a college, find one with which specializes in your specific area within the photography major. Going to a university whose photography department focuses on photos as art will not give you the help you need to be a forensic photographer.
An internship or work experience is some of the best training you can get. In some specialties, such as advertising and fashion, it is as hard to get an assistant position as it is to get a job as a photographer. Don’t let that discourage you, though. Do whatever it takes to get a foot in the door, even if you must work another job to be able to afford an unpaid internship. Fortunately, other industries aren’t as difficult to get into. Make local contacts in your area. Join organizations that relate to your interest. Find people who are doing what you desire to do and ask them for an internship.
No formal education or training is a requirement to be a freelance photographer. One of the best ways to find out how to sell your work to publishers is to pick up a copy of the latest edition of Photographer’s Market. Different publications will have different requirements, and this book can be invaluable if you want to become a published photographer. Take the time to develop a portfolio and be sure to only include your best work. If you take the time to specialize, you will become an expert in a field and will be more sought out than photographers who take photos of anything. Try to find a niche with little competition that you enjoy.
Perhaps the easiest way to get started is to sell your work to stock photo companies. You can find a list of them in the Photographer’s Market or online. One advantage of this is that you don’t have to work directly with customers. So if the thought of calling up prospects and getting rejected more times than you get accepted makes you hesitate at becoming a photographer, selling stock images might be the right way to go. With stock images, you keep the rights to your photos and are paid a percentage of the fee that customers pay to use that photo. You’ll need to submit a large number of photos, but quality is still more important than quantity. Not all agencies are open to newcomers and not all photos will pay the same. Keep in mind that if you want to sell photos of people, you will need to get a model’s release. Photography classes will help you improve the quality of your photo and take the time to train yourself on the law.
If you decide to go in business for yourself, you will need to train in more than how to take a good picture. Spend the resources necessary to develop your interpersonal communication skills. Take a few business classes so that you can run your business effectively. Selling your photographs directly to customers can be tough, but rewarding. Approach local businesses to see what their photography needs are. See if the tourist bureau needs a new brochure, or if gift shops need postcards of local attractions. In addition, you can set up a website to help attract clients. Find out the photograph needs of web designers and fulfill them.
If you have the skill and the dedication, you can become a photographer, even without any formal training. The first step is to decide what type of photographer you want to be, and then train yourself accordingly.