Everyone finds their own way into photography, to the extent that it seems there is no longer a conventional or even an unconventional route.
Every photographer needs time and self-nurture to find their own place within photography. Before focusing on the ‘marketing’ aspect of your work, any aspiring photographer should give themselves time to explore and to create work. This might be in the form of dedicating time to your photography without putting too much of it out there to start with. In terms of financial feasibility, whatever your disposition in life, you might decide to keep photography on the side without jumping into dependence on it as a job: as a hobby, as part- time work, or you might decide to go and study photography.
While there are many photography-related degrees that really don’t show you enough of the mechanics of how to actually make a living as a photographer (whether that is fine art or commercial), a degree gives you time to develop intellectually, to work out what you want to actually do, and give your ‘style’ chance to develop. For some photographers the notion of having one’s work marked and assessed is highly problematic. After all, it’s art. Of course, it may be more appropriate for specific types of commercial photographic practice. Regardless, anyone undertaking studies should be encouraged to supplement the time with plenty of practical hands-on activities: assisting, taking part in workshops, simply going out and shooting independently as much as possible, and even creating a small business, in order to engage with the ‘real world’ as early as possible.
Even if your aim is to be a fine-art photographer and hence not might not be necessarily keen on ‘commercializing’ your work, you’ll find that self-promotional, communication, and presentation skills are just as important, as they relate to the overall life-skill of making ends meet. You don’t necessarily need to attach your business endeavours to your real name or the one you’d wish to use in the future, so you could take advantage of a pseudonym to separate it from yourself and be as experimental as you like. The most important point is to keep active and not to let studies stifle or suffocate creativity, or to assume that studying in itself is enough.
The problem with studying, or spending too long keeping photography on the side or in a drawer, is that it can incapacitate you from actually understanding and experiencing the real world(s) of photography that you want to enter. You must have enough confidence in your work and abilities to at some point put it out there, but you should start off on the best foot and your work should come first, not the promotion of it.
Creative Portrait Photography by Natalie Dybisz offers an extensive behind-the-scenes look at the creative process of one of today’s most exciting and popular professional portrait photographers and gives you everything you need to step up your portrait photography to take photos that express the style and personalities of both you and your subjects. With over 150 portraits and a showcase chapter featuring work from five top portrait photographers explaining how each shot was achieved, you’ll be inspired to take your portrait photography to a whole new level of creativity.