We all know that this is a tough “new” economy and I wonder how successful college grads will be in looking for work in their fields. But I also wonder what would I do if I was in my 20’s, finishing school and wanted to be a photographer. Where would I start looking for work? I was a staff photographer for the first 20 years of my working life, and staff positions still exist, but not as many, and I’m not sure where. Plus, I assume, the photographers in those jobs aren’t leaving until they retire. Newspapers are also laying off staff and TV news channels are relying on the “public” to share their pictures with them (CNN Lays off Staff). Photographers interested in stock photography will discover the falling of prices and competition from the general “non-pro” shooter who posts their images on Flickr and Getty decides to use those images. “Yikes! Ma. I gotta compete against some guy who just happened to get a lucky shot, or if my image is chosen they’re gonna pay me only $3?!” (Time Magazine uses iStock photo dirt cheap.) Then there is assisting other photographers to learn the ropes on both the business and technical side. I never assisted. I landed my staff position and when I was laid off, just like all those other photographers, I opened my own business. What I needed at that point was assistance in learning how to “run” a business so I struggled through it but I wonder how many “new” photographers are getting the opportunity to assist and learn. I say this because I see many seasoned pros turning to “educating” the newcomer – lectures for a fee. And other pros who are leaving the photo business thus not providing opportunities for the newbie to assist and learn. And other photographers, like myself, who are reasonably busy but don’t hire assistants because the jobs don’t demand it. I’m getting more and more requests from recent college grads wanting to assist. I know that I’m not the only one they’re contacting, but I always feel bad when I have to say that I don’t need their help. It’s always been a scary world, but it just feels like it’s getting scarier, at least if you’re looking for work as a photographer.
The image above was taken as a test shot before taking the actual portrait. It was used as a background for the portrait.