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I'm sure there are many different ways people on here started out. I'm working on my portfolio at the moment, but am thinking hard about what the next step will be, just wondered what people on here 's first steps into the professional world of photography were?
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Friends were fed up of me taking lots of photo's at cycle events, but not being able to see the shots, apart from a few contact sheets that I printed, so I got a website, accidental really.
You need a market. If you can identify one then you've made the first step toward making a living out of photography. Bear in mind that where there is no current supply it means there is probably no current demand. If there is a supply and you want to be a part of it then either you hope that there is enough surplus demand that you can take it otherwise you have to give buyers a reason to come to you, either because you are so much better than the alternatives or you are so much cheaper.
..and then there's always luck and false representation. They can both bend the market in your fabour.
Getting started in the the photography biz is usually down to luck....
Its how you capitalise on that luck, that gets you started. if you impress you're sorted, if you don't, you bomb! Its a one chance deal...
My advice would be, to anyone hoping to break into the business,
--learn your craft, learn it inside out, learn it back to front, and learn how to deal with it when it all goes wrong.
--whatever you do, dont f**k it up!
My break into the business was down to luck. But I did a bl**dy good job that day, and got called back.
If you're wanting to break into the social market... you just have to be far better than your competition, and be skilled in marketing and other forms of BS......
Mine's came via my brother, who worked at a national newspaper and got me my first sports job as a trialist. The pics were good and I got asked back - the ball was rolling...
For me, a 3 week road trip living outdoors around Canada did it for me - I decided I wouldn't spend the rest of my life in an air conditioned office. I set a date 18 months in the future and on the date, quit a well paid software engineer job and became a freelance photographer. I targeted magazines and stock libraries to start with, plus a local shop and a craft fair or two. I was fortunate in that my fiancee (now wife) was able to support me whilst I struggled through the first couple of loss-making years.
My first real published photo was with a new magazine and they wouldn't pay so the BfP chased them for me and I got paid very quickly after that - I recommend considering BfP membership.
My website was created to write about the Canada trip and that trip is still on my site, although my site has gone through 4 major rewrites since.
I did the BFP correspondence course and sold a few images and articles. Went back t o college and did an HND in commercial photography. Wife became pregnant (somehow) and we had an instant circle of friends all with babies needing portraits and it grew from there.
Not quite what I'd originally set out to do, but you've got to take the opportunities as they come to you.
Quote: I did the BFP correspondence course
Oh yeah, I forgot about that - I did that too and it helped to teach me marketing which I knew nothing about.
I got started mostly by luck.
Was at university doing computers and did websites on ther side to top up my student grant / loan and started taking the pictures for them as I had a long standing interest as a keen amateur and had a modest kit (Nikon FM2 and a couple of lenses).
Then one day I went ot a motosport meet at Thruxton and got some nice pics so I thought I'd see if any papers wanted them. Amazingy they did.
A few weeks later one called back and asked if I wa planning to cover any more in the near future and I said that I had no firm plans so they asked if I'd do another for them the following weekend. Naturally I said yes...
This went on for a few months and eventually I got a call saying 'what are you like at rugby?'.. Never having photographed rugby before in my life I said 'yeah, pretty decent.' so it was that the next weekend (to my astonishment) that I went to photograph Wales vs the All Blacks in the 6 Nations... I am still mystified to this day as to why they sent me.
However I did an okay job, hired a 400 2.8 for the day and borrowed a laptop off a mate to use with my neg scanner back in the press room. Being a bit of a computer nerd I was already fairly well versed in scanning, photoshop, resolution and ftp.. Didn't have 3G or anything in those days so I booked a BT ISDN line at the venue in advance.
The pictures were not too bad actually, they were used and I got paid, although the lens hire put a big dent in that (I didn't want to admit I'd had to hire it and expense the cost because I thought at the time it would make me look unprofessional).
After that I thought 'I have to do this full time' so soon after I went and spent my entire years student loan plus a bit more on an early Nikon pro digital SLR, a couple of D series f2.8 Nikon zooms and a laptop that could just about handle photoshop 5.
From then on there was no stopping me.. I put in a LOT of hours for comparatively little reward to get experience (but I never worked for free), did things off my own back and generally immersed myself in being a photographer. It took me a long time to recoup the cash for my gear, let alone contemplate adding to it but I got there in the end.
Hard work but worth it.
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