Originally Posted by st3ve
Everybody who has the means and the aptitude owes it to themselves and to society as a whole to go to college and finish a degree. The program of study should be something you are very interested in (and it isn't always obvious what one is interested in right off). It does not really even matter what you study...as long as it is interesting to you. You end up working the rest of your life....always for somebody else. College is an investment in you and it pays off many times over.
And this is what I shall be facing shortly.
United States Navy
No, wait, that is a lousy idea forget I typed that.
I can make jokes like that now that I am retired from that company.
A typical person's brain does not even become fully formed and wired until their early/mid 20's. At 18 I would suggest opening oneself up to all the possibilities -- college is good for that, especially if one is not self-motivated to experiment and study.
If one KNOWS that one wants to be a pro photographer, then go for it. But if one just thinks that photography would be an interesting way to earn a living, then keep one's eyes open to the whole world of possibilities.
What do you want to photograph?
What career would open doors to enable you to take those photographs? Like travel? One of my friends is married to someone in the oil business who travels all over the world, staying in places for months at a time. Want to do more model based commercial work? Figure out what steady job with flexible hours you can do somewhere with lots of people - another friend is working odds and ends in LA while focusing on her art in her spare time. Want to photograph war zones? I have a friend in the military who occasionally makes time to photograph.
Depending on what you want to shoot, simply getting access may be one of your biggest barriers. Finding a job that provides that access is another potential in while giving you a stable base from which you can build yourself up.
Thats just me though - I am financially conservative. I was set on a career long before I realized how important photography was to me. My job covers the bills but isn't really opening any doors for me artistically (aside from working with some good artists and a few other hobbyist photographers)
education is never wasted, and can never be taken away ...
a well rounded education can help in a career of photography
giving a better understanding of the subject matter.
getting an apprenticeship while studying in a university,
working with a professional in the area he or she may have an interest,
may be a good idea. it will give him/her a better understanding
of what being a professional photographer is all about. these days it is less
about photography and more about other things.
A friend who's a highly successful Advertising & Commercial photographer began by assisting for a Summer before doing his degree, chose the right course/University very carefully which allowed for placement with a top London photographer for a few months.
He then made sure he learnt all the skills he already knew he needed. Within 2-3 years of his degree he was shooting for major International clients, covering the Le Mans 24 hr race for a sponsor, photographing their calendar in exotic locations etc.
As everyone one else says education is important, but one that allows work experience is going to fast track you in the right direction.
Whilst this is true, education doesn't always have to mean a degree. It could be education through experience.
Originally Posted by jnanian
I never take ownership of a degree as competence in anything. It just means someone has attended university and managed to find the correct answers in the exams.
In the last few years we have employed a couple of people with degrees in electronics. One of them didn't know which way to wire up an LED (something I learned when I was about ten) and the other had a similar in depth knowledge of the subject.
I would hope these are exceptions to the rule but I hear similar stories from others.
"On our last night ashore, drink to the foam!!!" is a good way to spend the next four years...
Originally Posted by bblhed