Getting started…

I found an article which outlines how to get started in the world of professional photography. It started out with a somewhat irrelevant point about taking a course in photography (mostly because that’s already what I’m doing…) although did make some key points about what I should have achieved by the end of my course:

By the time you complete you college course you must:
1. Be on your way to being able to take the type of pictures that sell. 
2. Understand how the industry works. 
3. Have a grasp of how to market your work. 
4. Be able to get a job in the photography industry, preferably as an assistant.

These are some key areas which I would like to research further as part of this blog. While obviously I’ve been developing my practice throughout my course so should at least already have some idea of how to make ‘good’ photographs, I feel as though I am not fully aware of how the industry works nor am I confident that I know how to market my work properly so will look into this. The assisting side I will leave for a separate post.

It then went on to suggest the various ways to get in to a professional photographic career:

Getting Published in a Magazine 
Selling your existing work or being hired for a shoot by a magazine is almost certainly the best way to get that foot in the door.
  • Editors and art directors are surprisingly open minded about new talent. They are after are the best shots available for their publication — the last thing that they want is to open a competitors magazine and find that the photographs leave theirs behind.
  • Not important what magazine or newspaper prints your work, even if you are only paid a minimal sum or even not at all — It gives your portfolio a real boost.
  • Buy magazines that cover your areas of speciality. Check out the type of photograph that they like to publish.
  • If possible, make an appointment to see the editor or the art director and make your pitch.
Photographic Competitions 
Another area to try that will get you noticed is by entering photographic competitions. You never know where winning a competition will lead to.
  • Enter as many as you can find.
  • Widest coverage is best, but smaller ones may be less competitive when you are starting out.
  • Excellent way of getting your work out there.
Photographic Agents.
Another avenue to try is to find a photographic agent. They will be able to help you to sell your work and can also advise you on many aspects of the business.
  • Again they are always on the look out for promising photographers.
  • A good agent will go with you when you make a pitch and provide you with support. They want to help you to win work.
  • One thing to be aware of is agents that ask for a retainer up front — If possible, find yourself one that works on a commission only basis. They will be prepared to work that much harder on your behalf.
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