No qualifications, but I want to be a photographer: ask the expert

I am 21 and have 2 daughters; as a result I haven’t had a proper job or been able to go back to college to get any qualifications, but I really want to become a photographer and there isn’t really any other job I see myself doing. The only experience I have is taking photos of close family and friends. Is there any possibility that a company that will give me a chance and take me on, or will I have to work really hard and earn some qualifications?

So – you’ve experience of producing really good photos of family and friends and (as a Mum) of working with and getting the best out of children?

Your best bet is to put together a portfolio of your very best photos (on a memory stick) and then start contacting school photography companies, asking them for a few minutes with the boss to show what you can do.

Say if you impress them, you’d like them to ring you if they have any vacancies in the future.  Expect the school photography company to ask you about –

– your creativity (how you compose a photograph, new ideas you’ve tried that worked well, etc)

– your analytical ability (how you decide whether a photograph’s of good quality or not; how you suss out and deal with the particular difficulties of some site-based photography – eg poor light, background clutter, etc)

– the quality and technical features of your own camera, lighting equipment etc (and those you’ve used in the past)

– how you get shy or unco-operative chldren to work with you so that you can get the best possible shots of them

– whether you’ve already passed a Criminal Records Bureau check in the past (each employer will probably need CRB clearance for you as you’ll be working with child clients).

You can get a good (semi-professional) assessment of the quality of your photos and help in improving them through attending a good local photography club.  Aim for one which runs lots of competitions for members and offers coaching.  Find out details about local clubs by doing an internet search and / or by visiting your local library.  Good luck!

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