Working as a Photographer

Archived Q&A and Reviews

June 2005

does anyone have an opinion or advice about the possibility of entering a career in photography without having a degree in the subject? or, perhaps a better way to pose my question would be to ask how i could learn just as much without entering a program. i am interested in working on a photographic project, as well as learning everything i can about the subject, but am not entirely sure the best approach. my goal is to have a depth of knowledge and skill equal to those with a degree which might just mean that i have to actually enter a program. not sure. while i realize there are several classes offered in the area on the subject, the majority of them are taught at night or on the weekends. with 3 kids to care for at night and weekends i am looking to find classes/instruction during the weekdays. advice, suggestions or resources? thanks! -hopeful shutterbug

Hi, I am a professional photographer, and I do not have formal education in photography. I have been mostly photographing architecture. I do have an undergrad degree in architecture, so that was helpful. Most of my photography education came from another photographer when I assisted him, for about a month, during my first year of working as a photographer. So, to answer your question - yes, it is possible to become a photographer without going to school. I was very lucky to have met the guy I assisted - he became a menor and was extremely generous with his advice and support. Aside from that, mostly I learned from going out there and making a bunch of mistakes.

If you want to be a fine art photographer, as opposed to a commercial photographer, that is a slightly different story. I think you will benefit from being in a school environment with other people doing the same thing you are, and having your work critiqued by Jthe instructor and other students.

If you woud like to discuss this further, I will be happy to give you more information. Feel free to send me an email. Misha

Yes, it's possible to become a photographer with no formal training. The best way to start is by apprenticing with an established photographer, one that be willing to teach you and critique your work in exchange for your assistance. anon