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Quote: I've been pecking away at the commercial world for over 2 years and it's like chipping away at granite with a nail file at the moment
One of the few pearls of wisdom I've picked up is that perseverance is more important than anything else. You're the guy who is always there, who always says yes to work, never negative or complaining. If you have that and a speciality like portraits that you can build a name in, it should all come your way eventually. But.....these are tough times, so much competition.
All you can be sure of is that work will not remain in the hands of the lazy or disliked. I used to say, when I talked to budding photographers that if they wanted to go into their own business, whatever branch of the profession, that having photographic ability and all the technical skills necessary was only the first step. The real work started when you were trying to get work, pay for premises, insure equipment, all that.
I really admire commercial guys because unlike an editorial guy like me, they have to take on commercial premises, often staff and all the responsibilities that go with it. They have to be genuine business people whereas many in my branch can wing it a bit. On the other hand, a good commercial business in an area can build goodwill and an ongoing clientele that has commercial value in itself that can be passed on to an offspring or sold as a going concern at retirement time.
In my game, when, like me, you become too old and stupid to work properly, the game is over
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Ansel Adams Lord Patrick Lichfield, Terence Donovan, David Bailey, Bob Carlos Clarke, Annie Lieborvitz, Rankin.
All were / are 'Pro' photographeres, but did they have a college diploma / degree?
Some folk have the knack skill vision, call it what you will, but some of course do not have it.
I'm a full time professional photographer, you can see my work here - www.photographybyriddell.co.uk
The answer is no, you don't need a degree, but you do need.
1. A great deal of skill and total understanding of photography. You need to know fully how to control your camera and make it do what you want and need it to do. You should never be relying on any kind of automatic settings. You need to know what to do in any circumstances to correct any problem or create a different style and look.
2. You need a photographers 'eye' - the ability to notice tiny little details that make a difference. Photos can often be improved so much by just taking a step to the left, or focusing on a different point.
3. You also need a lot of top end equipment. Cameras, lighting and everything else and you need to know how to use it all.
To be totally straight with you, these days most photographers who want to be pros enter the market way, way too early before they are anywhere near ready. Ultimately they just crash and burn.
Something like 93% of photography graduates never find a future within the industry.
This may be because the degree courses teach them to write wonderful essays but not how to survive in business. One photography course leader asked my advice when they were revamping their degree course. He was offended by my suggestions because they'd compromise the academic purity of the course. He told me that they wouldn't teach their students to become pedlars.
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