Monday, April 16, 2007


Part 2: Assess your abilities

You need to think about why you want to be a photographer and what area of photography you want to work in. There is quite a wide range of opportunities on offer - as you can see on the next page.

A good starting point is to think about the kind of person you are, your strengths and your weaknesses, likes and dislikes. The area of photography which will suit you will depend far more on these than on your current photographic skills or interests.

If you are in school or college you will probably be able to consult careers information provided there both in print and online, and this may include careers questionnaires. These can be very useful, but you will only get the most out of them if you think carefully about what they show about you. Some points you might consider that could be important in thinking about you as a photographer are:

*do you like meeting new people and get on well with them?
*are you inquisitive and good at asking questions?
*do you like travel?
*would you mind work with irregular hours that often meant you were away from home for days or weeks?
*are you good at explaining your ideas to people?
*would you be good at selling your ideas and your work?
*are you cautious or do you like to take risks?
*can you work carefully and reliably?
*do you cope well under pressure without making mistakes?
*are you quick to see new visual ideas and opportunities?
*do you like to work indoors or outdoor?

Fortunately you don't need to excel in every area to become a photographer -there are areas of work for example that don't involve travel or irregular hours, but you do need to think carefully about your capabilities.

You may also need to consider how any specific traits, conditions, beliefs or likes and dislikes might effect you. The fact I hate driving (I saw the ecological light and sold my last car over 30 years ago and have driven little since) rules out certain areas of work for me. A fellow student of mine years ago wanted to go into forensic photography, but only lasted a few days as he couldn't cope with photographing some of the gruesome scenes involved. Similarly, if you faint at the sight of blood you are probably not going to be able to be a medical photographer.

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