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Thread: The path to becoming a professional photographer

  1. #1
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    Default The path to becoming a professional photographer

    Considering to turn interest into profession. Need help and advice.


    How can a beginner work his/her way up to become a professional photographer? Where to start or look for opportunities? How to build portfolios?
    Last edited by Yildun; 15th August 2004 at 06:23 AM.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yildun
    Considering to turn interest into profession. Need help and advice.


    How can a beginner work his/her way up to become a professional photographer? Where to start or look for opportunities? How to build portfolios?
    I guess the common answer is to shoot more often, along the way practices will help you hone ya skills.. Portfolio is something which you'll accumulate along the way, i mean the more often you shoot, the more good shots u got, the bigger is your portfolio.

    Let your friends and family know you're into photography and show them what you can shoot, as time passes, if they like what they see(or what you see in this case), your path is paved!

    That will slowly lead you into the world of freelance photography i guess..

    Like everything, it takes time. Doesn't happen overnight..

    All da best
    Last edited by ordinaryless; 15th August 2004 at 07:16 PM.

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    I guess the common answer is to shoot more often, along the way practices will help you hone ya skills.. Portfolio is something which you'll accumulate along the way, i mean the more often you shoot, the more good shots u got, the bigger is your portfolio.

    True to an extent. If every 5 shots of 1000 turns out good, then you'll get 100 of them in about 20,000 right? I think you still have to reach a level when you've got 32/36 shots on the good side, otherwise, you know you're not there yet. Take every opportunity you have to improve, ask someone who's got the experience, and most importantly, LISTEN.

    Let your friends and family know you're into photography and show them what you can shoot, as time passes, if they like what they see(or what you see in this case), your path is paved!

    If my family's approval rating for my photographs could ensure that my path was paved, then i think being a professional photographer would be a whole lot easier. In this line, you have to expect rejection. You may like what you've taken, your family could very well love it. At the end of the day, someone else is paying for the food on the table.

    That will slowly lead you into the world of freelance photography i guess..
    Like everything, it takes time. Doesn't happen overnight..
    All da best


    Best piece of advice. It takes quite a bit of time; not to mention money, sweat, backaches, blood, sleepless nights. Hey, you don't know when your next paycheck is going to arrive.
    However, after you've managed to convince your folks that it's a good career move, and you've made it good, then you can give yourself a pat on the back.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by PLRBEAR

    ....

    If my family's approval rating for my photographs could ensure that my path was paved, then i think being a professional photographer would be a whole lot easier. In this line, you have to expect rejection. You may like what you've taken, your family could very well love it. At the end of the day, someone else is paying for the food on the table.
    ...
    What i meant was it would be good (its as a morale booster too)if your pics are able to convince your friends that you're good in taking pics. If they like what they see, they will want you to help them to cover certain events (backup photographer for wedding, school camp, church events etc..). Of course, for a start, don't expect to be paid, the experience you'll gained thru these 'reccomended' events are priceless. That's how you gain experience.

    I don't think photography is something which can be appreciated by all. There are bound to be people who like your photos and people who don't. So if your friends do sing praises about your photos, you should be on the right path.As highlighted in red above, there are bound to be rejections hence I don't expect anyone to pay for the photos you take if you're not even able to convince your friends that you're good.

    Shoot more and learn along the way Yildun

    PS: Btw i'm very much an amateur myself, jus offering you my opinions
    Last edited by ordinaryless; 15th August 2004 at 08:17 PM.

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    another way is to learn it the hard way, starting from the bottom! link

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereobox
    another way is to learn it the hard way, starting from the bottom! link
    upz for you..thats a great way to learn..

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    IMHO and with due respect to all, the ideas given so far are too passive. It appears to suggest that one do all the hardwork behind the scene and hopefully wait for the opportunity to come.

    Hardwork and real stuff in you is definitely a must. But people must know you and must be given the chance (with that improve further), you must know the in and outs of this trade, both the technical and the commercial part, etc....

    I cannot offer any suggestion as I am just a once-in-awhile camera user. BUt my other business activites experience tells me that doing all the hardwork alone in isolation is not effective in this fast moving business/professional and very competitive business world.

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    hmm... imo, the first step will be to decide which area of photography are you going to specialise in. to me, there is no point in becoming a photographer who does all sorts of shoots. i don't think you will be really good at what you are doing unless you concentrate and specialize in something.

    after you have found your area of interest and decided where you want to specialize in, you got to build your portfolio based on where you want to specialize in. for example, if you want to be a photojounalist, you cannot be shooting still objects, landscape, etc. you got to be shooting people and their expressions, events, etc.

    i have also listened to a few photography talks and it seems like networking is really very important. so you got to work on that as well.

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    Ask 2100, he just bought the D70 for less than 2 months and has already earned back the cash, he should be able to advise you on the path to professional photography

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    totally agree, networking and knowing how to get the word out is as important as having the skills, knowledge and technical know-how to back it up. as mentioned, a very good way to learn how to do all these (and successfully), is to observe how other professional photographers work. this is especially true for people who want to get into serious commercial photography (e.g. interior, architecture, fashion)

    of course, there will be fortunate ones who are able to ascend to 'great heights' in an accelerated timeframe. more power to them

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    Thanks....still listening......any personal experiences to share? How do some of you professionals out there work your way up? What did you start out as? Any turning points in life?

  12. #12

    Default Professional

    If you have a publication ready, pm me. I can help you get it published and distributed to the bookstores. Ps : There will be a lot of things that we will need to iron out.

    cheers

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    From what I understand, to build up a portfolio, you need to have the necessary equipment first. Unless someone is willing to lend you the stuff, you need to buy them all (lenses, external flash, lightmeter, blah, blah). That's what the freelance photographers do right?

  14. #14

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    eh....not exactly....basically if u concentrate only on one or two areas of photog u dun need so much stuff...

    i dun do studio...yet..so all i need is light meter and reflectors for outdoor portraits...

    events the simplest in theory.....be at the right place at the right time get the right photo can liao....

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    truth is, for fear of sounding negative, as a full-time source of income, Singapore's market is too small and saturated for *most* aspiring, upstart photographer to want to just specialise in one area. especially in the field of events or wedding-day photography.

    even after you build up a reputation in a certain niche, usually, the case is still, 'simi boon ai zo' (everything also do)

    am i discouraging or what??

  16. #16

    Default Singapore market

    Not too true, my friend. Singapore market is one of the most competitive and i am proud of it. You just have to do something everybody know that they can do it but havent done it.
    haha

    just spoke to one person going pro today. Envy.....

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    *bingo!* you've mentioned competitive, i totally agree with you. my advice was for 'aspiring,upstarts'....people who are considering going full-time. try speaking to more than one person going pro keke

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    Ask 2100, he just bought the D70 for less than 2 months and has already earned back the cash, he should be able to advise you on the path to professional photography
    share with us pls 2100...

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    Practically, in every trade now, it is tough life.

    Unfortunately, IMHO, pro protograher may be in tougher suitation. It is because of the lower entry barrier - to get started - (borrow Micheal Porter theory) - thanks to technology advances. Even if you are renowned, there may not be so many jobs for you to commission. For the more routine ones, you are going to face tough competition from so many young and aspiring - and they can be very good also - who would charge very low to build up potpolio. Very difficult to charge a premium.

    With some exceptions, of course, I just wonder how well, economically, are the general pro doing? If it is not because of their passion in photography and the fact that they spend so much time and so specialised in their skill sets (and hence neglected the others), I am of the strong opinions some would consider switching careers some time along the way.

    These are my opinons only - not from research data or interviews.... Any pro here care to shed some thier light in this trade?

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by ordinaryless

    PS: Btw i'm very much an amateur myself, jus offering you my opinions
    We can tell.

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