Monday, April 16, 2007


Part 1: How do you become a photographer?

This is the first in a new occasional series of features on About Photography, BASIC PHOTO. Basic Photo aims to give you the information and show how you can gain the skills you need to be a success as a photographer.

If you are new to photography and want to be a pro - or just a better photographer - then Basic Photo can help if. For those who are already experienced photographers, Basic Photo will help you take you work into new areas or improve on in. The real experts reading these features may like to email me with any corrections or suggestions for 'pro tips' and I'll add the best of these - with an acknowledgement of course.

Being a photographer can mean many different things. Anyone who picks up a camera and clicks the shutter is a photographer of sorts. More seriously, for most of us a photographer is someone who engages a considerable proportion of their life in photography. Most of the time people want to know how they can make a career out of something that at the moment is just an interest.
Many of us dream of becoming rich and famous, of having our work shown in great art galleries, splashed across the leading fashion magazines and in large on the newspaper front pages. While it is always a possibility that photography will make us a celebrity, reality tends to be more mundane.

Photography does however offer many people an interesting and fulfilling way to make a living. Many jobs in photography offer a considerable variety of experiences and the challenge of finding solutions to new problems. Many of those who set out to be photographers, including those who take photo courses, will end up making a living from other skills, but photographers will often continue to photograph and to think of themselves as photographers. Creativity is something we all need, and one way to explore it is through photography.

Photography is of course changing and many photography courses reflect this, both by incorporating such areas as video and digital technologies and also in some cases by a change of title, for example to 'lens-based' imaging. Although these new technologies have become a vital part of almost any photographer's toolkit, the still photograph - however produced - has retained its importance. The still image selects an instant from the flow, giving it an importance that is lost when we see twenty five frames a second. So long as good quality still images are needed, photographers will be needed to produce them.

Like most problems, the best way to start thinking about how to become a photographer is to break this into a number of simpler steps and try to see the answer to them. On the following pages I'll discuss the kinds of abilities you have, photography courses and the different areas of photography that might provide you with a living, .

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