Any professional photographers in the house (degree educated)?

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  • Any professional photographers in the house (degree educated)?
  • MTT
    Member

    I read recently that there were more photography students in the UK than there was demand for photographers in the whole of Europe. Ouch.

    uponthedowns
    Member

    Apparently the UK produces more photography graduates than there are photography jobs in the whole of Western Europe so you’ll need to be damn good and business literate. I’m not a pro just a keen amateur but very often you’ll hear a pro complain in an interview that they only spend about 20% of their time taking photographs and the rest is marketing and post processing.

    uponthedowns
    Member

    Just spotted your other thread further down about engineering. Much better idea if you ask me.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Talking to some pro photographers I know they say it’s got far harder now with digital SLRs and such, it used to require a lot more skill than it does now!

    I’d keep it as a hobby, no reason not to do a degree in it, but don’t expect a lucrative photography career to land in your lap afterwards!

    JxL
    Member

    I am currently about to start my 3rd year photography degree at Blackpool & Fylde School of Art.

    MTT – I heard that a million times, and although I am sure there is some degree of truth, not every single student has the right attitude and determination to actually succeed in the industry. I think about 60% of my class will not be working as photographers when they graduate. Some want to go into teaching, for some this is a hobby, others didn’t know what else to do and chose photography, etc etc. This leaves about 40% to compete with, and even then there is a really wide range of subjects that each will specialize in. The truth is that the majority of the students work is quite s***, so if you are actually good at it now, there is no doubt you will be much better after 3 years of degree.

    It goes down to whether you REALLY want to succeed – if you do, then you certainly can make a good living working as a photographer. It is probably a lot tougher, but if you put the effort in, it is very rewarding.

    Now whether a degree is worth it…

    Yes, because you learn much more than technical side of photography. My favorite part of the course is Critical Studies, in which we cover huge range of topics in Art Theory, which helps to develop our own ideas and therefore have an advantage over someone who does not go deeper than “amateur photographer magazine”.

    On the other hand there are costs – which are huge right now and are about to increase. When you leave you will have a good 10-15k debt depending on how much money you ask.

    You could succeed without a degree, by assisting other photographers for example, which you learn an awful lot about the business.

    If you are planning to go on a degree – find a good university and a credible course. There are loads now with poor equipment, staff and generally a bad reputation. There is a decent course at London College of Communication, but tough to get in.

    Good luck!

    psychle
    Member

    Seperate thread to my ‘Engineers’ one… trying to make up my mind as to ‘what to do with my life’ or at least what to do with the next 5 years or so (I’m 32yrs old btw)! Thinking about going back to university to finally get a degree, hurrah. Considering photography as it’s something I have a great interest in as a hobby, and I’m not too bad for a self-educated amateur…

    A few questions to the Pro’s amongst us (if there are any here). Have you done a degree? Was it worth it? Where’d you do it (particularily interested in London as that’s where I live).

    cheers chaps, appreciate your help and advice 🙂

    richpips
    Member

    I’ve always though it would be interesting to go and do a photography degree, to learn the theory behind it all.

    My advice would be if you are any good just go out and do it. If you can get together a good portfolio of pictures you should find work.

    A number of folk I’ve come across who put BSc of photography after their name may know the theory and all that but are rubbish when it comes to creative photography.

    ski
    Member

    I got my photography degree a few years back psychle, so my experience might not be that relevant now .

    As far as I know, from keeping in touch with my old class mates, not one of them is earning a living from photography, even though there were some very talented photographers, far better than me.

    As JxL mentioned the quality of lectures varies enormously, most had none or very little professional/commercial experience, you will also find you will amend your work according to who is marking it and what there preferences are, which can blow the wind out of your creative sales a bit, in some ways is no different to working with a client any way 😉

    I know of two freelance Pro’s who both work in London, both of which are extremely capable and talented photographers, who are both finding it painfully hard to scratch a living at the moment.

    Its not a easy road to go down.

    Good luck btw.

    Zulu-Eleven
    Member

    I know four full time professional photographers…

    None of them has a degree!

    Better to build a portfolio in your spare time whilst making a decent living doing something else, and putting some of the money into your hobby while you build a reputation and make contacts

    Anna B
    Member

    BSc of photography

    How to spot a faker! It’s a BA.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    I went on a photography course thingy at the local Adult Education place when I was redundant – it counted as credits towards getting my benefits and I thought it might be quite useful. The guy was rubbish and it didn’t help that a lot of the people in the class were of retirement age and looking to do something with their spare time but who barely knew how to turn a computer on never mind upload and process photos. OK, so being the local Community Education centre it was never going to be as good as a proper uni course but even so.

    As Richpips and Zulu 11 say; I’ve seen plenty of people inc “pro” wedding photographers who have turned out average results at best, equally there are many people even on this forum who can produce incredible shots. That’s part of the issue, you’re competing with everyone who has a digital camera these days, not just the good guys who have time and money to go shotting off rolls and rolls of film. Anyone with a £300 laptop, some £60 software and a half decent camera can, with a bit of trial and error, get publishable shots now. The difference is making your stand out.

    fubar
    Member

    Well I’m not a photographer but I knew a man…
    My understanding was that a photography degree is very artistic. Guess that sounds a bit obvious but what I consider a good photo were largely ‘postcard’ shots (his term) – I didn’t ‘get’ a lot of the art, so you need to be more than just technically good with a camera.
    The course at Blackpool is (well was) highly regarded !? [The guy I knew studied there…won national (Kodak ?) competitions..and was whisked off for a few weeks, all expenses paid, to the USA shadowing a pro photographer out there]

    JxL
    Member

    Yeah, Blackpool course was very well regarded for a long time, hence why it was my choice (along with being not too far from where I live).

    Recently there has been a staff change so apparently a lot of good lecturers have left, though most are still very decent (apart from 1) 😀

    To add to Ski – you can have talent at taking pictures, but business knowledge is also VERY important, and it could be one of the reasons why those photographers are finding it hard now (not enough advertising, poor management, etc). A photographer I assisted a while back in London is doing very well. He is not an “amazing” photographer, however is very efficient and works well with people – that’s why clients chose him (does the shoots quickly, tethered to laptop for art director to view, quickly burns DVD with images for client within minutes, sends off invoices ASAP).

    chela
    Member

    Perhaps not typical, but I graduated from a photog degree in 2005 and of the 40 or so people in my year and the one before me I’d guess maybe 3 or 4 of us are making a living in exclusively from photography. I knew this before I went into the degree though; I asked what kinds of things people go on to do after the degree and was told ‘they mostly work in McDonalds’. So I signed up…

    If you want a degree that’ll lead to a job, then there are better bets than photography. But if you wanna immerse yourself in something you enjoy then it could be very rewarding.

    If you’ve got the ‘eye’ and the business nous to make it you’ll do so regardless of whether you’ve been through a degree. There are some things that can’t be taught. But there are plenty of folk with degrees making a living out of doing very bad photography – a degree can definitely give you contacts and experience.

    psychle
    Member

    Have thought about going off on my own rather than going down the degree route, £10000 (which is what a degree would cost over 3 years) would buy a lot of gear and what not (and gear does have a part to play, along with a natural ability to see images and the technical skills to take the shot)… Maybe I should look into the ‘photographers assistant’ type roles rather than a degree…

    Cheers for the thoughts and advice so far, appreciated 🙂

    JxL
    Member

    You could certainly do that psychie – let me know if you want a reading list to get an idea of what kind of books you get to read in uni.

    psychle
    Member

    well… I’ve popped an application into LCC (London College of the Arts), we’ll see what happens with it… hopefully I’ll get an interview and be able to ‘wow’ them with my chosen images. The one thing that worries me about their course is that is seems to be very ‘arty’ , which I’m not (in fact I generally can’t stand the real **** arty crapiola… you know the sort ‘this image represents the darkness of mans soul and the existensialistic conundrum that faces us all… yadda yadda yadda 🙄 )

    Still wondering if it might not be a better option to just go freelance now… but how to do it? Any thoughts?

    RHSno2
    Member

    I was semi pro for a while (i.e taking cash and trying to be pro). No degree for me, did GCSE but thats just B&W developing.

    Everything you need to learn is out there already IMO.

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