So You Want A Photography Career

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  • So You Want A Photography Career

    By: MiNeeds

    Author: Bret VanOstram

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    Tags: Family Portrait Photographer , Candid Photographer , Baby Photography / Child Photographer, Advertising Photographer , Photo Retouching Restoration , Digital Photographers , FemalePhotographers / Women Photography , Fashion Photographer , Event Photographer , ModelPhotographer / Photography , Commercial Photographers , Travel Photographer , WildlifePhotographer, Wedding Photographers / Photography , Sports Photographers / Photography , SeniorPortrait Photographer , Landscape Photographer , Portrait Photographers , Outdoor Photographer ,Nature Photographer / Photography

    Becoming a professional photographer is an exciting and prestigious sounding career. If youre goingto make it happen, you need to put in a lot of hard work and thousands of hours. I am the owner ofVan Ostrom Photography, specializing in portraiture including family, senior, children, weddings,and events. I had a in-home-studio that had been landscaped with ponds and waterfalls for outdoorportraiture as well as a regular camera room. Eleven years ago I relocated to a in-home office andnow do everything on location. Ive been in business since 1985 and have been photographing fulltime for the past 16 or 17 years. I got started in photography when I was about 12. In junior high Itook a BW darkroom course that was offered and fell in love with the whole process. In high school, Iphotographed for the year book and developed some great experience doing that.

    Ive been involved find more info in several professional photographic associations such as

    Professional Photographers of America,

    Wedding and Portrait Photographers International,

    Professional Photographers of Washington, and

    Pierce County Professional Photographers of Washington.

    These are some of the best educational opportunities available for professional and aspiringprofessional photographers and scholarships are available from PPW. Some colleges have somegreat programs, but with these organizations you are sitting with working photographers who havegone through all that are about too and you can talk with them at breaks and often times find outmore about what you need to know from them rather than the official speaker. The fees to join theseassociations range from $40 - $250 a year.

  • Photographers are making anywhere from nothing to well over a $200,000 a year. The differencebeing: experience, quality of work, and quality of service offered. A lot of photographers get caughtup in buying more equipment than they are making in profit. Whenever I go to buy equipment Ialways ask myself How will this make me more money and how long will it take to pay for itself? Ilean towards higher quality work so I use medium format digital cameras exclusively. I do not own a35mm (though I did start with one). I now own about a dozen lights, but getting started you can getby with two.

    One of the things necessary in becoming an business owner, no matterwhat the business, is that you have to love what youre going to be doingall of it. The books, theadvertising, the dealing with all sorts of different people, everything. Because youre going to bedoing it a lot. Before I was doing this full time, I was putting in 50 - 60 hours a week between my twojobs. When I quit the other job, I thought I could cut that back to 40 hours a week easily. Wrong.Now its more like 70-80 hours a week and 6 sometimes 7 days a week.

    Once youve decided that you do indeed want to go into business you need to decide on what aspectof the business your best at and create your niche. When I started my business I would do anythingthat came my way. I found that unless you stick with what youre good at you can lose credibility veryquickly. I think its better to pass a job on to someone else and stick with what youre good at than totry to fake it and do a less than quality job.

    My niche is high quality, storytelling, wall decor. Rather than go for high volume - low qualityphotography. Ive chosen to spend more time with my clients. Get to know them and their likes anddislikes. To use higher quality materials and personnel than some studios may make do with.

    A great way for one who is interested in a photography career to get started, would be towork as an apprentice for another studio. Even if you have to do it for free. The experience cannotbe taught in a classroom.

    Bret van Ostrom, AP, CPP

    Van Ostrom Photography


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