Beginner Where to start.....

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#1
I am a novice photographer looking to develop my skills, and ultimately move into the paid profession.

There are a multitude of online courses available, but I have no idea what is considered a 'recognised' qualification to take me forward.

Any suggestions/help welcome.
 
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Toni
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#2
What kind of photography do you wish a career in? There may be little utility in taking a course compared to practicing in your chosen area while studying business, so that you are able to run the enterprise effectively.
 
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Phil
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#3
What Toni said.

There are certain parts of the profession where you'd be expected to have a degree in photography (forensics, medical etc), but most 'working' pros have no formal qualifications.

In short 90% of 'qualified photographers don't work in photography, 90% of working photographers are unqualified.

I have to ask though; why do you think you want to be a pro photographer? Is it the lack of money, the endless hours processing? The crap weather? What attracts you?
 
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#4
Thanks for the advice. Just a very daunting prospect of making the move and considering yourself 'professional'.

I am still very much a hobbyist, and would like some formal training in the basic aspects of 'professional photography'.

My career background is in engineering, and I have an interest in architecture, so those sorts of areas appeal.

Pipe dreams maybe, but keen to change my career and do something I enjoy.
 
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Chris
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#5
Not to discourage you if this is what you want to do, however my wife loves baking (she's also very good at it), so much so she decided to try and start her own business. She started doing it part time alongside her normal job and things were going well, however what she discovered was. It was hard to get people to pay the necessary prices (after all you can get a cake from Tesco for a tenner), she was working late getting cakes ready for the next day and stressing over due dates and contracts. As a side note her degree is in Business Management and Marketing. The end result is she hasn't baked in 12 months.

I guess the motive is be careful turning something you love into a profession as you may lose your hobby in the process
 
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Phil
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#6
Thanks for the advice. Just a very daunting prospect of making the move and considering yourself 'professional'.

I am still very much a hobbyist, and would like some formal training in the basic aspects of 'professional photography'.

My career background is in engineering, and I have an interest in architecture, so those sorts of areas appeal.

Pipe dreams maybe, but keen to change my career and do something I enjoy.
Professional photography is simply photography you get paid for. Being good enough to get paid, and creating a market are 2 entirely different things.

In short you have 2 separate objectives:

  • Learning to be good enough at photography, is straightforward, there's no shortcuts, like any 'skill' you need to learn the techniques and practice, practice, practice.
  • Finding a market for your skills is the trickier one, it's about networking, market research, and understanding whether there's a sustainable amount of work within your happy travel area.
 
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#7
The point being made that you dont need a recognised qualification to be a professional photographer is a good one. However I have completed several courses over the last 7 or 8 years and have this year started a distance course. I didn't do these because I want to become a professional more because I wanted to challenge myself and learn new things in a more structured environment. Your local college or Universities are a good place to start. I completed my GCSE in photography at night school. I also completed a course aimed at preparing for an RPS distinction. The nice thing about these places they have access to lots of equipment such as dedicated studios, lighting equipment, Lee Filters cameras etc which you can normally use or borrow as part of your course. So it gave me the chance to experiment without having to pay a fortune on kit that after 6 months might be gathering dust at home for example. I also made some really good friends on these courses. But phone them up talk to the tutors and make sure that you will get out of it what you want. With distance learning there are an awful lot of choices so do you research. Be sure you know what you want to achieve and talk to people. Talk to people running the course, talk to some some students see if they have student groups on Facebook etc and really look into it properly. You can find with distance learning that sometimes the course advertised doesn't always match up with the course so again research narrow it down to a few you want to do then speak to people. There are a lot of free resources out there and even if you do a course you have to practice, practice practice.
 
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