What is your advice to photographers?
There are a few bits of advice that apply to all photographers, no matter what you’re shooting.
Work hard, preferably for a person or organization who will help you out in the business. This may be a newspaper or magazine, but these days it could also be a website or a non-profit.
Take lots of pictures in a variety of different situations. Get out of your comfort zone. Every new situation you shoot has the potential to make you better.
Listen to your editor and respect his or her ideas about how you can improve your work.
Learn to accept criticism and use it to better your work. Photography is a tough business, and editors don’t always have time to handle photographers with kid gloves when giving suggestions.
Look at photos thoughtfully. When you find another photographer whose work you admire, take time with their images to figure out what makes them tick.
Be curious about life. There’s something worth photographing just about everywhere you go – you just have to look for it.
Be pleasant, polite and professional. We all have bad days – it’s not a license to be a jerk. One ill-mannered photographer tarnishes the entire profession, and can ruin opportunities for others later on.
Do it for the right reasons. If you’re in photography for money and recognition, you’re going to be sorely disappointed, especially when starting out. Some people shoot great pictures for years and are only “discovered” after they die. If you’re in it to make the world a better place by photographing and documenting important subjects, making people happy with your images, and making others see the world in a different way, chances are you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more along the way.
Persistence is key. Many of the best shots come at the end of the day when you’re worn out and ready to pack it in. If you leave early, you’ll miss out on some of the best opportunities. If you really want to do well in photography, you have to go after it with all you’ve got.
No matter what college you attend or what you major in, the degree doesn’t matter as much as the person receiving it.
Getting a job and starting a career in photography is a bit rocky now, and I’m sorry to have to say it because photography is so dear to me.
All that said, if you’re really excited about this, I say go for it. I still believe that those few who are truly passionate will find a way to make a living doing what they love. And to be sure the world needs great storytellers, now more than ever.