What does it take to become a photographer?


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#1
I'm curious what it takes to become a photographer by profession? Do professional (fashion, magazines, editorial, news..etc)photographers need to go through reputable photography institutions to be recoginised? I understand that if you wish to run ya own photography biz (doing wedding shots for people, covering event, etc..), it would be good enough if you have the experiences and skills to do a good job. What about photographers who wish to join a newspaper agency, magazines, etc. Is it a 'must' that they need to be certified?
 

Ian

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#2
ordinaryless said:
I'm curious what it takes to become a photographer by profession? Do professional (fashion, magazines, editorial, news..etc)photographers need to go through reputable photography institutions to be recoginised? I understand that if you wish to run ya own photography biz (doing wedding shots for people, covering event, etc..), it would be good enough if you have the experiences and skills to do a good job. What about photographers who wish to join a newspaper agency, magazines, etc. Is it a 'must' that they need to be certified?
Paper qualifications and certification are not required, providing you can demonstrate the competency required by the agency. Having a qualification doesn't demonstrate competency, it merely demonstrates that you managed to pass the required examinations.

With that said, for a youngster trying to break in to the industry some qualifications do help.
 

Prismatic

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#4
Also, if you are in the editorial industry, you really need good PR skills. Friendly relationships with everyone really makes things easier and take you places.
 

kiama

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#5
not forgetting a strong n impressive portfolio...
 

zaren

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#6
ordinaryless said:
I'm curious what it takes to become a photographer by profession? Do professional (fashion, magazines, editorial, news..etc)photographers need to go through reputable photography institutions to be recoginised? I understand that if you wish to run ya own photography biz (doing wedding shots for people, covering event, etc..), it would be good enough if you have the experiences and skills to do a good job. What about photographers who wish to join a newspaper agency, magazines, etc. Is it a 'must' that they need to be certified?
first and foremost you need to be very very good... qualifications help but are not absolutely necessary. e.g. NG's mike yamashita was completely self-taught. with your skill and passion.... your portfolio will be impressive and will pave the way to a professional career in photography.
 

#7
Big thank you to all who have answered. :)

i guess photography is one of the few fields which paper qualitfications is not a necessity. A beautiful portfolio, skills and experiences would definitely help.

Prismatic: I think it having good PR skills helps in all fields, but only photography. But it'll definitely be a bonus if one is thinking of running photography biz as i mentioned earlier as i believe clients were mostly introduced through word of mouth ? :cool:
 

#8
Actually there's a lot more to be a pro photog besides good pics , PR skills and paper qualifications...

perhaps one of them is d ability to be sensitive to your subject and achieving your visual requirements (or "feel" in very broad terms) at the same time..

I had a conversation with 2 industry pros this afternoon and one thing they said striked me: anyone with a camera can be told what to take/ snap at specifically and you get that specific picture but NOT anyone can go a step further and look beyond to bring out a story for that specific subject.

:)
 

#9
SniperD said:
Actually there's a lot more to be a pro photog besides good pics , PR skills and paper qualifications...

perhaps one of them is d ability to be sensitive to your subject and achieving your visual requirements (or "feel" in very broad terms) at the same time..

I had a conversation with 2 industry pros this afternoon and one thing they said striked me: anyone with a camera can be told what to take/ snap at specifically and you get that specific picture but NOT anyone can go a step further and look beyond to bring out a story for that specific subject.

:)
Hmm....profound...but i know what you mean :D
Hey Dsniper, when you're taking portrait shots, how do u communicate with your model/clients? How do you build a rapport with them? Do you keep on talking to them throughout the photoshoot, do you meet them one day in advance to tell them what to expect? When you meet them,do you learn their behaviours, expressions so that you can anticipate for 'that moment' during the photoshoot? How far would u go or have u gone ?
 

#10
ordinaryless said:
Hmm....profound...but i know what you mean :D
Hey Dsniper, when you're taking portrait shots, how do u communicate with your model/clients? How do you build a rapport with them? Do you keep on talking to them throughout the photoshoot, do you meet them one day in advance to tell them what to expect? When you meet them,do you learn their behaviours, expressions so that you can anticipate for 'that moment' during the photoshoot? How far would u go or have u gone ?
usually I would like to meet them up in advance (and usually more than once meeting) to talk to them.. and for them to know me as well. THey have to be comfortable with you. You can be comfortable as you already know your stuff but they don't and it's important to communicate all that to them.

during the meeting, I dun probe deeply and allow them to be relaxed and you talk about the weather, the latest stuff on the news and gossips (depends on case to case lah,some models dun like to do that or too busy to spare the time) only when you see that they are okie and good to talk business, then you go into it.

during the shoot, as they are professional models or some amateurs, you need to ease them in to the shoot. Start off with chit chatting, occasionally snapping a few casual shots (candids) show them, have a good laugh and then you start directing the kind of poses that will compliment them and meet the requirement of the assignment.

SOmetimes you feel the moment, sometimes you can create the moment by saying something that will expectantly evoke the desired pose of laughter or thinking look. Communication is important... you can't keep quiet and just keep depressing the shutter button.. your models need direction which on ly you can see thru the viewfinder.

I'm still learning the ropes of that and some photogs are simply gifted with their style of putting their models at ease.. example: DIGIPIX aka Jason Ho.. his model shots are really something to learn from.. Wolfgang's model shoot oso has the same effect... Ruthbaby's/ Astin's/ Lorbert's are all good examples where you can pick up in addition to the technical aspects of the shot

if it's for events, get to talk to the people more and snap a candid and then ask them for a group smilie photo.. they are usually obliging :)
 

#11
SniperD said:
usually I would like to meet them up in advance (and usually more than once meeting) to talk to them.. and for them to know me as well. THey have to be comfortable with you. You can be comfortable as you already know your stuff but they don't and it's important to communicate all that to them.

during the meeting, I dun probe deeply and allow them to be relaxed and you talk about the weather, the latest stuff on the news and gossips (depends on case to case lah,some models dun like to do that or too busy to spare the time) only when you see that they are okie and good to talk business, then you go into it.

during the shoot, as they are professional models or some amateurs, you need to ease them in to the shoot. Start off with chit chatting, occasionally snapping a few casual shots (candids) show them, have a good laugh and then you start directing the kind of poses that will compliment them and meet the requirement of the assignment.

SOmetimes you feel the moment, sometimes you can create the moment by saying something that will expectantly evoke the desired pose of laughter or thinking look. Communication is important... you can't keep quiet and just keep depressing the shutter button.. your models need direction which on ly you can see thru the viewfinder.

I'm still learning the ropes of that and some photogs are simply gifted with their style of putting their models at ease.. example: DIGIPIX aka Jason Ho.. his model shots are really something to learn from.. Wolfgang's model shoot oso has the same effect... Ruthbaby's/ Astin's/ Lorbert's are all good examples where you can pick up in addition to the technical aspects of the shot

if it's for events, get to talk to the people more and snap a candid and then ask them for a group smilie photo.. they are usually obliging :)
Aiseh...thanks for your reply...Really learn alot..Before ya reply i was wondering this. I was wondering if you're doing a portfolio for a client(as in they pay you to shoot them), on what basis would u ask them out. Would they feel awkard? Haha, anyway im not that stage yet, wait till then, then i'll try out.

Dsniper, so late still havent sleep ah? Haha..Not working?
 

#12
hahaha.. on the basis that they are paying me to shoot them :bsmilie:

well, just explain your intentions clearly to them and they will be glad that you are putting in efforts to get to know them. If a meet up can't be materialised, a phone chat is good oso.. just spend a little more time on the actual day to interact with the client. some may not agree to having clients spending time to just chitchat and stuff or have a prolong studio shoot just becoz of communication but to me, it pays off in the long run.

Neh.. I'm nocturnal :) Working.. heh heh... currently no assignments yet.. planning some details in my head only
 

#13
SniperD said:
hahaha.. on the basis that they are paying me to shoot them :bsmilie:

well, just explain your intentions clearly to them and they will be glad that you are putting in efforts to get to know them. If a meet up can't be materialised, a phone chat is good oso.. just spend a little more time on the actual day to interact with the client. some may not agree to having clients spending time to just chitchat and stuff or have a prolong studio shoot just becoz of communication but to me, it pays off in the long run.

Neh.. I'm nocturnal :) Working.. heh heh... currently no assignments yet.. planning some details in my head only
Ahh....ok..i think it sound right to explain to them ya intention.

I'm nocturnal too. Heading to the beach later with my old pals.. :blah:
 

#15
SniperD said:
COOL!!! catch the sunrise ... very beautiful results!

here's one from Pasir Ris


taken on film in the early days of my beginning
Oh man, your picture reminds me of someone..hmmz...

I'm not going so early lar, only meeting at parkway ard 10+am. Maybe i'll catch the sunset
im turning in soon, u take care..
 

lauLEE

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#17
after you have all the min requirements, this is the most crucial :

Lady LUCK - to be at the right place, at the right time, knowing the right ppl, and doing the right thing.
 

Minoxman

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#18
ordinaryless said:
I'm curious what it takes to become a photographer by profession? Do professional (fashion, magazines, editorial, news..etc)photographers need to go through reputable photography institutions to be recoginised? I understand that if you wish to run ya own photography biz (doing wedding shots for people, covering event, etc..), it would be good enough if you have the experiences and skills to do a good job. What about photographers who wish to join a newspaper agency, magazines, etc. Is it a 'must' that they need to be certified?
Good portfolio, luck, humility and common sense. That's all you need.
 

rueyloon

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#19
alot of it is about talent and luck and PR skills,

PR skills can get you anywhere

Luck is just about increasing your odds, just get your name around, and be around more

Talent is probably the most important, but it you don't do well in the first 2, it's going to be a long and hard journey

missed out the most important stuff........... anyone can build a good career in photography, but what will make you stand out is PASSION.

cheers
rgs
rueyloon
 

Ian

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#20
It always amazes me that so many amateur photographers think they know what it takes to be a professional photographer and how to break in to the industry ...
 

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