A lot of people like to call themselves photographers because they like to take photos on the weekends or when they’re traveling, but those are really just photo hobbyists. When you are truly a photographer, you know it because you can’t stop taking photographs. This is the type of passion that can’t be denied, but needs to be groomed with a formal education. However, it’s imperative that you can use that education to propel your professional career. Here’s how to make the most of your photography degree.
Show Your Work Often
While you are in college, you want to be sure that you are making as much work as possible. There will be all kinds of shows that you will have the opportunity to present your work in, and you should try to present in every single one of them if you can. You never know if any major gallerists or collectors will be popping in to see what kind of work is being produced at Texas State University, or wherever you may go, but you don’t want to be absent when it happens.
Make the Right Connections
One of the most vital parts of becoming a successful, professional photographer is knowing what kinds of connections you should be making. You should definitely be connecting with your professors and whichever circles they are involved with, but you should also be as discriminating as you are tenacious when it comes to the partnerships that you engage with.
Develop Solid Connections
You don’t just want to make strong connections, but you also need to make sure that you develop those relationships into something that is really solid and helpful. The key to becoming a professional photographer is making sure that you associate with all of the right people. Associating with the wrong people could be professional suicide.
Find Your Signature
You may not have to earn an executive MHA in order to find your style, but you should take this task just as seriously. You want to get so individual with your photography style that people will recognize your work right away. If you haven’t found that signature yet, then you need to be working on it. This should be nothing that anyone else has ever done, and it needs to be something that defines your take on life.
Find Your Niche
Finally, you want to make sure that you find the niche that is your audience. Getting a clear idea of the profile of your bigger fans can really help you a lot. You want to know exactly what is appealing about your work to that audience so that it can inform your work. If you don’t really concentrate your work on one specific niche, then it will seem too unfocused. So make sure that you decide exactly what genre you want to play with and then really dive into it.If you choose a couple of different niches, then they should definitely be connected in some kind of way so that it’s clear that you are the creator behind both.
Are you always the one carrying a camera to all your family functions and friendly get-togethers? Does the sound of a nine-to-five job make you shutter and cringe? Do you consider yourself a creative soul? Then a degree in photography might just be for you.
Do You Have a Strong Passion for Photography?
First, consider and evaluate your affinity for photographs. Studying photography at a college level means building what might have begun as a simple hobby into a full-time career. Just like with any major you choose or job path you seek to follow, you should truly enjoy it and be able to see yourself doing it seriously, regularly, and with full focus. It will be a large part of your life not only for the next four years, but for many years after as well.
Some people prefer to keep separate their pursuits of pleasure and their pursuits of business. This isn’t the case in opting for a photo degree. Passion is a key component necessary in the production process of professional imagery, so be prepared to tap into your creative side regularly.
Can You Manage Non-Traditional Work Hours?
The schedule of a professional photographer is also far from typical. As a professional image maker, you can forget about boring hours spent behind a desk. With photography, the studio is your office, the world your office building. You aren’t bound to a traditional nine-to-five workday and consistent schedules are rare. This lack of structure can be scary for some, but for others it affords a great deal of freedom.
Do You Have a Natural Talent?
You might consider a degree in photography if you think you’ve got the distinct eye for the craft. Sure, ample practice can turn any notice into a know-it-all, but as with any art form, it takes part innate talent and part practiced skill to successfully make it. Ask your friends, your family, and your coworkers for feedback on your work. Submit early and often to contests, galleries, and magazines to get reviews. See if you can get in touch with any local photographers who might be willing to assess your work. Not only will regular feedback improve your abilities, but it can also give you a good sense as to whether or not a photography-based career might be right for you. Don’t underestimate the power of an outsider’s perspective.
When sizing up whether or not a degree in photography is for you, it’s nearly impossible to achieve a “picture perfect” fit. This is true no matter what degree you decide to study. But if you find yourself among the few that find the above enticing and exciting, then you might truly want to consider pursuing photography in college. The next challenge? Finding the right college and program to get you there. Luckily for you, that’s the easy part. There are great schools out there, like the University of Texas and the University of Cincinnati, that offer outstanding photography programs and can help youmake your wildest photo dreams a picturesque reality.
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