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Thread: Career Advice

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    Career Advice

    I'm not sure I did the right thing today, see what you think

    I had a call out of the blue from a father of a year 12 student. The student said to his dad that he quite fancied a career as a sports photographer (he has a dslr but really a newbie)

    His father asked me whether a career as a sports photographer was feasible

    I basically said based on the evidence I have that I really didn't think it was a good career choice. That there was limited demand and abundant supply. I said photography as a career is possible but very hard, if he was really interested that he should study photography as part of an overall course at say a tafe, preferably a secondary part

    What do you think ?
    Darren
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Agree, No use silver lining any thing. Honest, good, basic advice is always worthwhile.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
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    I can see how a career as a sports photographer would be highly sort after by a young guy (or girl) and I wouldn't say it's out of the realm of possibility but only after first learning the craft and building some good contacts especially with the major newspapers and sports magazines. Very competitive field though but one that presents great opportunities to get 'up close' and to travel.
    Attitude is everything!

    Cheers, Paul

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    I think it was good honest advice Dazza ... but I also think that if anyone can make it happen, a 17-18yo can. Hes got plenty of time to become the best he can possibly be if he takes the right path and sticks solid. I wish Id made a solid decision when I was that age.
    Hi Im Darren

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    Nothing wrong with that advice - if he studies hard in the right courses, learns how to use his equipment and works hard he may achieve dream but for every sports photog out there I would hazzard to guess there is probably a 1/2 doz or so that never made it.

    Karl
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    good advice Darren. I hope he listens to it.
    Graeme
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    Nothing wrong with that advice - if he studies hard in the right courses, learns how to use his equipment and works hard he may achieve dream but for every sports photog out there I would hazzard to guess there is probably a 1/2 doz or so that never made it.

    Karl
    More like 1,000 or so that never made it.
    Thanks Steve
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    Yes. my last estimate was there were 20 FT sport togs in Australia

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    Nothing wrong in what you said there Darren. That was good, honest advice.
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    Your advice pretty much hit the nail on the head in my opinion.
    The fastest way to a man's heart is through his chest with a sharp knife
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    What do you think ?
    I think you were honest and did the right thing.

    There's no point in causing the kid to develop unrealistic expectations; he needs to be aware of what goes with that business.

    The problem is that photography has become so pervasive that people think that a career as a photographer is easily approachable, when in reality is it probably not.

    If he's really serious about it, can make the contacts and has the ability, he can do it, but if it's a case of him simply having a camera, enjoying photography and thinking it's a meal ticket, he needs to understand the reality of the situation.

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    There is also more to professional sports photography than good technique. The good ones also have a very strong creative element in their work and are always looking for a new angle. Having worked as a volunteer in the photo section during the Sydney Olympics I got to see first hand how the best sports photographers in Australia and some of the best from OS "SEE" their shots and I learnt heaps including the fact I would never be dedicated enough to be able to do their job.

    Try looking at the work of Craig Golding http://www.craiggoldingphotos.com/Ar...&Akey=X2PSXC5Q

    Now how can you judge an unknown person such as this young guy.... impossible, but you cannot also mislead them by saying it is easy. No I think your advice is sound and if he is really determined to succeed then he will probably ignore your advice and succeed anyway.

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    Quite right, I've admired craigs work for some time also

    There are apparently only 4 ft sport photographers in Australia to put this in context

    You're right tho that if he has the fire he'll give it a shake anyhow

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    I think your advice was excellent. There's always was an oversupply of photographers to actual jobs. Even when I started off. However, that oversupply has changed dramatically, and is now accompanied by a large reduction in perceived value in the results of a full time photographer.

    Good god, I've just written to Australian Graphic Design Association and the International body ICOGRADA strongly complaining, because their heavily funded week long event (ironically titled "Optimism) has an associated company producing a "welcome book" which they want photographers to submit FREE photographs.

    What else do people need to illustrate a serious downturn in the value of the professional photographic industry, when leading national and international organisations perceive similar (to graphic designers and illustrators) visual communicators as having no value at all ?

    (this comment will also be part of another topic - which I will post soon)

    I've been lucky or unlucky to have had two careers, both with a vast oversupply, and have managed to earn a living from each one in my time. Both times its required a huge amount of drive, ambition, and self discipline.
    Last edited by Longshots; 05-08-2010 at 8:16am.
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I think that anyone who wants to be a "pro" photographer should discouraged. If my son wanted to be one, I'd discourage him, same if he wanted to be an actor. If he really, really wanted to do it and persisted, then I'd support him, but not for some idle whim. Especially if he thought it may be an easy option, coz it's definitely not.

    There will always be openings for pro photographers, but having a good amount of luck or another source of income will always be of great value. At least actors can earn lots, even if the average just scrape by. How many photographers earn as much as Tom Cruise?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    I think that anyone who wants to be a "pro" photographer should discouraged. If my son wanted to be one, I'd discourage him, same if he wanted to be an actor. If he really, really wanted to do it and persisted, then I'd support him, but not for some idle whim. Especially if he thought it may be an easy option, coz it's definitely not.

    There will always be openings for pro photographers, but having a good amount of luck or another source of income will always be of great value. At least actors can earn lots, even if the average just scrape by. How many photographers earn as much as Tom Cruise?
    I think thats a bad comparison between Maverick and pro photographers.

    It is much easier to become a successful pro photographer than being the next Hollywood mega-star. Not to mention the ratio of the actors commanding such salary is a lot more tiny in comparison to pro photographers in society

    The good thing that a lot ppl dont realize for professional photography is that our income does not 'plateau' - it does not flatten out to a point where we physically, legally and academically go further such as government workers, military personnel, vanilla type pharmacists - AND actors - believe it or not.

    One's income in this field is solely based around our skills, marketing and business conducts, and you can earn as much as you like as long as you know how to.

    From my experience last financial year was the 2nd year of being a full time photographer and I have seen my revenue increase nearly three-fold since I got a bit more business savvy. Now with the acquisition of a new office in the city in Adelaide, and going overseas next week for fashion shoots in China and photo essays in Tibet and Mongolia, I think this financial year will be even better as I am putting myself out there more.

    To me its all about giving it a shot, I will never discourage anyone from their dream be it big or small, and would rather try and fail and learn from it, rather than not try and all and dream about it for the rest of my life.

    Who dares wins, really.

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    JM, I agree with what you say, who dares wins......Im just not sure it's sound pragmatic advice to give to a student who might be debating say a career as a photographer vs an engineer vs social worker etc

    If he's got talent as a photographer after getting that other training behind them they can then conquer the world

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    JM, I agree with what you say, who dares wins......Im just not sure it's sound pragmatic advice to give to a student who might be debating say a career as a photographer vs an engineer vs social worker etc

    If he's got talent as a photographer after getting that other training behind them they can then conquer the world
    I'll tell u this Darren, I rather the kid try and fail now, than attempt to realize his dream in his late 30s or 40s when he has become disillusioned with his current job - and like a lot of wannabes atm - quit his job and try and make it big in photography - when he probably has a mortgage and family to look after!

    better do it now and get it out of the way when hes still under the wing of his family LOL

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    Im not sure I could recommend that to someone when almost certainly (99% chance) he would fail

    Yes, I might miss the 1% but as said beforem they'd make it happen anyhow even if they didnt study to be that.

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    My point was, if it's really his dream then go for it. If it's not then there are much better choices to earn money. The analogy with actors is just to point out that most will struggle, but some make heaps. With photographers, most will struggle, and none make heaps. Who knows a photographer who has conquered the world?

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