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How did you get into the photography industry

Debbiee 14 136 6 United Kingdom
1 Aug 2006 9:57PM
this is a topic I started on another site I am a member of, and I got some great information and advice from, but that was before I knew about this site and most of the replies where from outside of the uk.

Anyway as the title says my question is how did you get into the photogrophy industry? I would personally love to start making a living from photography and am trying to make that a reality rather then a dream. I always find it interesting and very helpful to know how others got into it (and I'm very nosey lol)


Pete 20 18.8k 97 England
2 Aug 2006 7:07AM
I started by working in retail which developed my knowledge of photographic products. I then started submitting articles and photos to magazines on a freelance basis which expanded my writing skills. This lead to a job as technical writer on a photography magazine and I progressed through to editor and now owner of this site.
bikejourno 15 114 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2006 8:07AM
completely by accident in my case im afraid so no master plan to let you in on

lost job, to old for another job (186 application forms not one reply!!) started writing and then got sick of trying to find quality togs to take pics for me when i needed it

bought EOS3 and a couple of lenses six years ago and the rest is history, now fully digital
my workload now is a 50/50 split of writing and pic taking
and thankfully i enjoy both
Debbiee 14 136 6 United Kingdom
3 Aug 2006 9:23AM
this is really interesting, both of you seem to have made it into the industry with writing skills, thanks for the replies

peterjones 19 5.1k 1 United Kingdom
3 Aug 2006 11:48AM
I started by having this notion some years ago that I would like to get into wedding photography; there being no epz at the time I couldn't ask the question and get flamed as a consequenceSmile

I started as a part timer working for other people until the beginning of 2003 when I decided I could do this better for myself; I got out of the corporate strait jacket and have been working for myself ever since.

No regrets whatsoever, Peter.
deviant 17 3.1k 1 United Kingdom
3 Aug 2006 11:57AM
I'm in the transition at present. I have bought the equipment required and built up my skills over last three years (with lots of advice from people here).

I am now getting work and building up contacts and figuring what does and does not work in business. Currently photography is just extra revenue but I hope in the future it will be full time.

I got into photography as an enthusiastic amateur and lover of photography galleries. Took the plunge and bought an SLR and a college course a while back. Never looked back.
scottishphototours 17 2.6k 2
5 Aug 2006 8:44PM
I started out doing weddings in my spare time.

Spent 15 years doing judging and lecturing on the Camera Club circuit and always knew I needed something else to add to weddings to allow me to do photography full-time. Then digital photography came along, and I developed a business where we could show people how to do it rather than just talking about it. Spent thousands on other people's photo holidays to see what they were doing (good and bad), then went away and spent 18 months setting up SPT before we ran our first tour. We now get regular return customers who now wouldn't go with anyone else, and have had customers from 9 countries.

Have now been running SPT since 2004 and also still do dozens of weddings a year, as well as covering events for large corporate organisations like IBM, Scottish Power, Ramada Hotels and BSkyB.

I'm hoping to develop my writing for mags in the next year and to develop SPT to the next level, though this may require a business partner and some considerable investment.

peter_davey 15 1.4k England
6 Aug 2006 10:04AM
I too am in tranition, but the trouble i find is that cos i have a nasty corporate day job it limits me somewhat to get out and do it. Evenings and weekends is all I have.

So for me it's trying to find a way of making the break - currently looking for a full time post in the right area of the indusrty.
6 Aug 2006 4:24PM
In my early 20's I started entering comps in photo mags. I won a couple of them and I then started getting calls from the said mags asking if I wanted to submit work for articles. Within a year or so I started getting cover shots on AP, PP etc.

Around '87, I worked for a company that sold tape slide gear. The company was partly owned by George Pollock who was a former president of the RPS. He saw my heart was in photography and offered me free office and studio space to set up my own business. I set up a photo business and also freelance AV operator services. All went fairly well until the recession, but my lack of decent business knowledge didn't help and I jacked the business in around '92 and got a proper job as a service manager for a company that sold broadcast video gear.

Got fed up with the job, moved house and re-established my photo business in 2003. Turnover and profits are increasing slowly but surely and people seem to like what I do. I've won some fairly prestigeous awards too, which I'm very proud of. Its been VERY hard work, but I love what I do.

Don't think turning pro is a walk in the park. It isn't - far from it...
Debbiee 14 136 6 United Kingdom
6 Aug 2006 9:17PM
Wow this is all really interesting, some very different entry routes into the industry. I know that this will be a very hard career path but my heart is in this unlike my previous jobs which I just did to pay the bills. I have been going to seminars with business link to brush up on my business skills (excellent organisation and its all free), and none stop research, hopefully I will be able to make this my career. I'm certainly going to try my hardest to make this succeed.

Thanks for all the replies

sabretalon 17 1.9k United Kingdom
7 Aug 2006 10:06AM
I don't consider myself to be truly in it yet, but I'm working on it!

I started photography as an hobby, like most. Enjoyed what I was doing and decided I wanted to look at making a career of it.

I then sat down and wrote out a 10 year plan, yes 10 years! Within 1 month of starting out the plan changed! I never planned doing weddings within the first 3 years! I got a call from a friend who's friend was getting married and they would like me to do their wedding photos (not even seeing what I have done before) I went and talked with them and showed them some of my portrait work as I'd not done any weddings!

I then contacted a fair few local photographers to see if I could assist them, none of them wanted to know Sad but I found 2 that worked a little bit further out of my catchment area who were willing to let me come along.

I went along with them on several weddings and spent most of the time observing what they did. How they controlled situations etc.. The first few weddings I never took my camera! This was so I could concentrate on what was happening, rather than worry about my equipment etc...

After a while I took my camera and was taking shots at the weddings as well. Some of the shots I had taken were used in the final album, which was encouraging.

I then went back to the couple and showed them the results of the weddings I had been to.

I did their wedding and a freezing December afternoon, low light and had to go indoors. The pictures turned out great and they were over the moon with them.

Another friend passed on my details to a work colleague who then booked me for a big wedding at Coombe Abbey! This was a good deal as the father of the bride was head of Coventry City council! He had signed off the deal to let Coombe Abbey run as an hotel etc.. and the manager there went out of his way to make sure I got the shots I needed. I had a personal assistant assigned from them who made sure I had the right people in the right location and kept out any of the visitiors to the site.

Most of my work came from word of mouth, which is by far the best advertising you can get, but it is limited.

The downside for me is that I have kept my full time job! Whilst the positive sid eis I still get to pay the bills, it does mean that I do not always get the sort of time I would like to spend on my business!

If it was not for the wife and daughter relying on me paying the mortgage then I would have packed in the full time job and put all my efforts into developing my business. Now I have to ballance not only work and my business but how much business I do.

The dilemma when working full time and then setting up your own business is when to stop the full time and concentrate on your own business! My plan is to get all the jobs that come in but personally only shoot so many of them and use the people who have been assisting me to shoot others. Why? Well, when it comes to the time for me to depart the full time job, what I don't want to do is have a huge drop in salary. The idea is that my business, is getting the work, even though I personally will not be earning the money, therefore I have not been used to having 2 full salaries coming in! Because my business will have the bookings (thats the plan) I will then pack in the full time job and do all the shoots myself, unless I get really busy!

Advice to anyone trying to get into this business! Make sure you know about business first! Take part on as many of the free seminars offered by business links and the like! One of the weakest areas for most is marketing skills, then comes accounting practices (most rely on accountants but you need to now the basics so you know what you are letting yourself in for)

You really have to work at it and put the time and money into your business!
park my ferret 17 1.0k United Kingdom
7 Aug 2006 11:02AM
I asked a local fashion shop if I could tag along at a photo shoot they were having done .... I took my dads old yashika manual camera and some B&W film ... and snapped some natural stuff while the other guy was setting up. The shop really liked my pics but didn't want B&W shots - so I ended up showing them to the editor of a local magazine at a party and she asked me to go to a club night and take some (free) pics for the mag. - This turned into a regular thing (probably cos I was very cheap) ... and eventually my port started to grow and a few paople started asking me for shots other than nightclub work, and so on, and so on .... along the way I have done things as diverse as designing logos, doing 3d graphics for the bbc and nightclub interiors, done music, film, etc etc .... now its 6 years on , and I'm just about struggling to do it full time, although I suppose I only get work about 2 or 3 days a week.
and although I don't really have a pot to P*ss in .... I'm very happy in what I do.

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