This morning I spent time with two professional photographers with very different stories.
Both make a good living and have a good reputation in their fields but both got to where they are at through very different means.
Photographer #1: ‘Qualified’
One studied Photography in high school and then went on to study the topic at university. He worked as an assistant for numerous photographers, did internships at newspapers and has a large library of books on photography on his book shelf.
Even to this day he invests in learning more about photography and regularly attends courses as part of his professional development. He recently completed his Masters and has even lectured in photography at universities – to say he has qualifications would be to understate things.
Photographer #2: ‘Self Taught’
The other photographer is completely self taught. He was given a small film camera as a child and was encouraged by his parents to use it. His school never offered photography as a subject so he learned by using his camera. He saved for a DSLR as a teen and continued to take photos.
At college he studied commerce but began to grow his collection of gear and funded it through taking on work as a photographer wherever he could. He photographed friends weddings, set up a photo booth at his college campus to take shots of his peers, hired himself out to photograph kids birthday parties and took freelance shots for a local newspaper.
He has never taken a photography course or read a photography book. He’s completely self taught and learned his craft through years of practice and experimentation.
Which are You?
Both photographers are well respected and have successful photography businesses – in fact both are friends, respect each others work and have collaborated together on projects.
It strikes me that there are many paths to success in photography and I’d love to hear a little about your own ‘training’ as a photographer (whether you’re a pro or amateur).
Have you had ‘training’ in any formal sense? If so – what was it and would you recommend it for others?
If not – where have you learned your craft?