By Melodie Veldhuizen
Are you looking at a career in photography? It involves much more than just taking photos. The modern photographer is an artist and scientist with a keen eye for design, composition and light, who uses specialised equipment to immortalise people, places, objects and events.
Why is photography an excellent choice of career?
- It gives you an opportunity to create precious memories for a client that will give them lifelong pleasure. By means of photos they tell a story ─ a depiction of important moments in their lives.
- You have an opportunity to be as versatile as you wish, or to specialise in one or two types of photography. With time you can decide what best suits your personality, field of interest or skills.
- It offers you a passage to individualism. A client chooses you rather than your competitors because they like your specific style. You can therefore stay true to doing things your way and be assured that your client will like it.
- A well-made-up portfolio is the best way to display your style and the quality of your work. You are in control of how potential clients perceive your creativity and it is therefore up to you to display your work and skills in such a way that it stands out over that of other photographers.
- Most of the time you can decide when you want to work because you can choose which assignments you want to accept or turn down.
- There are always opportunities for learning and growing. Photography is constantly developing. There is always new equipment on the market, new techniques and more editing techniques. By acquiring more skills you stay interested in what you are doing and you raise your level of competitiveness.
- There are opportunities to attend photographic conferences where you get an opportunity to learn from your contemporaries and to network with other photogaphers. Sometimes occaions arise where somebody else can stand in for you when another photographer needs you to stand in for him.
- Every working day is different. If you don’t like routine, this is the ideal career for you. You will experience something new every day of your life, see other places and meet new people. Every day will come with new challenges because the subjects and themes of your photos are so diverse. Your career will take you to places where you have never been before and put you into contact with people you would otherwise not have met.
- Your income will depend on the number of jobs you accept, and your rates. Therefore, the greater the demand for your work and the more competitive your rates, the bigger your monthly income. Just remember that the moment you begin to charge for your photographic services, it becomes your responsibility to make sure that your client gets the final product that he or she pays for.
- It is very satisfactory to see the final product and know that your client is satisfied.
Pros and cons of the profession
- Some clients can be difficult and there will sometimes be people who will be dissatisfied in spite of your best efforts.
- Sometimes events (such as weddings) start later than the scheduled time.
- This is demanding because it takes you away from your family for long times, often over weekends and on holidays. Then comes the digital manipulation (editing), which takes a lot of time.
- It could take a lot of time if you have to travel far to events and this could be expensive (although travelling expenses can be added to your account).
- The equipment is expensive and photographers must always use the latest technology.
It is a very competitive career and ongoing marketing is essential to make sure that you will always have work.
Properties of a good photographer
- Versatile and creative
- Diligent and must be able to work under pressure
- Good human relations
- Must like challenges
- An eye for detail
- Problem-solving skills
- Patient and tactful in any situation, with the ability to handle difficult clients and unforeseen situations
No required qualification is necessary if you work for yourself, but experience is essential.
Skills improve with experience.
Professional photographers recommend that, if finances are meagre and you want to start working as soon as possible, you complete at least a short course for beginners where you learn the basic skills.
Shadowing other photographers is the best training. It helps you to apply what you have learned.
Work for a time as an assistant to a professional photographer by carrying his equipment, changing lenses and helping to have “models” pose correctly. The knowledge that you pick up through just watching another photographer at work, is invaluable. After that you could perhaps start working as an assistant photographer and start building your portfolio.
If you want to specialise in a specific field, for instance wedding photography, do a course with a wedding photographer.
If you have money to do a diploma or degree course, you may enquire at the following addresses:
As a freelance photographer the possibilities are virtually unlimited. These include newspapers, magazines and other media, as well as fashion houses, design sudios, publicity companies, hospitals, government departments and research institutes that will use your services if you specialise in a specific area. There are also many opportunities for you as a feelance photographer for weddings, newborn babies, graduation ceremonies school and nursery school photos, birthday parties and other private functions and special occasions.
Try to master most of the genres, but with more experience you will eventually realise what your specialist field is ─ it will usually be something that suits your personqlity and in which you really excell.
For more information on photographic genres, refer to the following: http://durbanvilleathome.co.za/2017/08/09/fotografie-en-al-sy-afdelings/
Durbanville at Home. https://durbanvilleathome.co.za/2017/05/12/beroepsfotograaf/
Durbanville at Home. http://durbanvilleathome.co.za/2017/08/09/fotografie-en-al-sy-afdelings/
Stigting vir Bemagtiging deur Afrikaans . http://sbafrikaans.co.za/loopbane-fotografie/