August 29, 2019
The MOST common question I get is “did you go to school for photography?”. I have a stock answer from sharing it regularly, but I want to share a little more for those wanting to pursue photography, and wondering what the next right step is.
I’ll never forget a friend of mine telling me I would never be successful in photography if I didn’t go to art school. It was an innocent statement I’m sure, but one that stuck with me…like really stuck with me. I think it made my [very new] efforts feel belittled.
I had recently graduated college with a degree totally irrelevant to photography, and the idea of going back to school made me want to puke. So I thought, “cool, challenge accepted”. I get asked a lot what degree I suggest for people who are wanting to pursue photography as a career.
Do they offer a degree in a damn good Work Ethic with a minor in perseverance, self-discipline, and googling?
Honestly, a business or marketing degree might’ve saved me a lot of time and given me some much-needed groundwork, but I suggest asking yourself these questions for direction first:
Am I passionate serving people or do I just think taking pictures is fun? I can assure you, if a desire to serve people isn’t at the core of your motivation, “it’s fun” will not be enough.
Do I want to take on the responsibility of creating, running, and maintaining a business (take the photography part out of it) or do I just want to shoot and not worry about the business side of things?
That will determine if you should start thinking about a business route or finding an established photographer you could join as an associate.
Do I love this enough to put in the work? If you’re willing to work, really really work, for this dream, then friend, go for it!!! There is no degree or formal education that can take the place of an epic work ethic.
You can be 18 or 38. There is no right way to pursue this dream. You just have to pull up your sleeves, surround yourself with people further along than you, and GET TO WORK.
(Disclaimer: This is in no way discouraging college or art school, so don’t drop out of school and tell your parents I told you to. Unless you’re Katie, my right hand at Dash. It worked out well for her.)