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12/18/2005 01:37:14 AM · #1
Is it possible (or even probable) to get a job as a photographer without having a college degree?

I have heard both sides of this...some say that it is a must, while others say that it's not necessary and that if you are a good photographer with a good portfolio then you will get the job.

I was just wondering...as I am about to transfer to a different college to start my new major in Photojournalism. But if it is not truly necessary to have a degree...then wy do it? I mean...basically I will be re-learning everything I already know....

I'm just curious.

Oh...and if anyone has a photography job they are looking to fill...hook me up :P
12/18/2005 01:41:12 AM · #2
In general you will get a job faster with a degree and you will have more opportuniyies in the future.

It can certainly be done without a degree, but generally it will take longer and be a bit harder to break into.
12/18/2005 01:47:55 AM · #3
I donno about NOW, but back in the day (late 70's, 80's, early 90's) I hired maybe 20 assistants, and offhand I can only think of a couple that had degrees, and those weren't photography degrees... I didn't go to school for photography myself, and I got hired with no problem...

For whatever that's worth :-)

R.
12/18/2005 01:55:45 AM · #4
I have a degree from Brooks and I am very busy working, although no one has ever asked me if I have a degree. I am a childrens photographer, so maybe to get a photojournalism job you may need one. I think if you work is good then they shouldn't even need to look at a resume. Many of the very finest did not go to school for photo. Save the money and start working.
12/18/2005 02:10:32 AM · #5
Here is my 2 cents worth, as an old fogey that has certainly blown enough opportunities in life :-P :
Although I think it is probably true, that especially in photography, you could certainly 'make it' without any degree, I would say that it sure wouldn't hurt, especially in this day and age. I think education can be a powerful thing. If you have the opportunity, and the desire now to go to school, my advice would be to take it! or at least think about it very, very heavily. I would think that you could still try and 'work' in photography and stuff while studying. And you could think about this: when you are older and decrepit (like me :-P) , do you think that you would look back at this point in your life and regret more going or not going to school? It sure aint easy later on to try and decide to 'go back'. Just my opinion :-)
12/18/2005 02:41:19 AM · #6
I think of you go to school you will learn some valuable things a lot faster than if you just go try to get a job. If you do get hired, you could as easily get fired for a dumb mistake. Of course this is coming from someone that took ONE photography class ever but did get a degree in Commercial Art. I created my own job opening and VERY slowly made my own business go but during the process worked for a lot of other places to earn my keep. Most valuable job: Pro level Photo Lab. (no one-hour machines)

I'm "FOR" going to school.

12/18/2005 02:48:24 AM · #7
Originally posted by stare_at_the_sun:

Is it possible (or even probable) to get a job as a photographer without having a college degree?

I have heard both sides of this...some say that it is a must, while others say that it's not necessary and that if you are a good photographer with a good portfolio then you will get the job.

I was just wondering...as I am about to transfer to a different college to start my new major in Photojournalism. But if it is not truly necessary to have a degree...then wy do it? I mean...basically I will be re-learning everything I already know....

I'm just curious.

Oh...and if anyone has a photography job they are looking to fill...hook me up :P


you might be learning things you already know technically with your camera, but that attitude that you will be learning everything you already know will bite you in the ass man. i would expect some of the kids you will be in school with will be quite proficient with a camera as well, yet people still go to these schools.

Getting a job is as much about how you network, talk to and relate with people than your portfolio. Often times thats more important than your portfolio.

If you want a job in photojournalism, there's the whole journalism part of that career that you need to familiarize yourself with. Captions are some of the most read parts of the newspaper, and its you who's gotta write them, and write them well..

there is always new stuff to learn. if all you want out of college is to get a job, it could help you for that, but it's probably not imperative. You've got your whole life ahead of you though, college is time to get more experience, get better at shooting, and just learn a ton about life that has not a thing to do with photography.

If you really already know what there is to know about photography and photojournalism, then forget college and go get a job at a newspaper.

p.s. im looking for capable photographers for my paper but that means youd have to transfer to illinois, they dont have a photojournalism major.
12/18/2005 04:20:00 AM · #8
Originally posted by petrakka:

you might be learning things you already know technically with your camera, but that attitude that you will be learning everything you already know will bite you in the ass man. i would expect some of the kids you will be in school with will be quite proficient with a camera as well, yet people still go to these schools.

Getting a job is as much about how you network, talk to and relate with people than your portfolio. Often times thats more important than your portfolio.

If you want a job in photojournalism, there's the whole journalism part of that career that you need to familiarize yourself with. Captions are some of the most read parts of the newspaper, and its you who's gotta write them, and write them well..

there is always new stuff to learn. if all you want out of college is to get a job, it could help you for that, but it's probably not imperative. You've got your whole life ahead of you though, college is time to get more experience, get better at shooting, and just learn a ton about life that has not a thing to do with photography.

If you really already know what there is to know about photography and photojournalism, then forget college and go get a job at a newspaper.

p.s. im looking for capable photographers for my paper but that means youd have to transfer to illinois, they dont have a photojournalism major.


I don't really have the mentality that the only reason to go to college is to get a job. It's just...I've already completed two years of college and I just don't know if it's my thing. I'm not sure if I want to go to school for another two or three years. I know that in college you learn more than what you are studying. I have learned a whole lotta things in the last two years...most of them having nothing to do with school, lol.

I think I'm going to do some looking around and see if there are any jobs available. At this point I don't care about pay really and I don't care about location...heck the job could be in Alaska for all I care. I just really want to get going with photography and I truly think that working with other photographers would let me learn more than any college proffesor could teach me in a classroom.

I have until this summer to decide what I'm going to do...so I have a little time to ponder on the possibilities.

But if you guys ever see any job openings let me know... I would be eternally grateful.
12/18/2005 08:13:58 PM · #9
sounds good man i wish you much luck. keep us posted.
12/18/2005 08:23:44 PM · #10
Stay in school. An education is one of the few things nobody can ever take away from you. Besides, undergrad can be a hell of alot of fun.
12/18/2005 09:59:12 PM · #11
Originally posted by stare_at_the_sun:

Originally posted by petrakka:

you might be learning things you already know technically with your camera, but that attitude that you will be learning everything you already know will bite you in the ass man. i would expect some of the kids you will be in school with will be quite proficient with a camera as well, yet people still go to these schools.

Getting a job is as much about how you network, talk to and relate with people than your portfolio. Often times thats more important than your portfolio.

If you want a job in photojournalism, there's the whole journalism part of that career that you need to familiarize yourself with. Captions are some of the most read parts of the newspaper, and its you who's gotta write them, and write them well..

there is always new stuff to learn. if all you want out of college is to get a job, it could help you for that, but it's probably not imperative. You've got your whole life ahead of you though, college is time to get more experience, get better at shooting, and just learn a ton about life that has not a thing to do with photography.

If you really already know what there is to know about photography and photojournalism, then forget college and go get a job at a newspaper.

p.s. im looking for capable photographers for my paper but that means youd have to transfer to illinois, they dont have a photojournalism major.


I don't really have the mentality that the only reason to go to college is to get a job. It's just...I've already completed two years of college and I just don't know if it's my thing. I'm not sure if I want to go to school for another two or three years. I know that in college you learn more than what you are studying. I have learned a whole lotta things in the last two years...most of them having nothing to do with school, lol.

I think I'm going to do some looking around and see if there are any jobs available. At this point I don't care about pay really and I don't care about location...heck the job could be in Alaska for all I care. I just really want to get going with photography and I truly think that working with other photographers would let me learn more than any college proffesor could teach me in a classroom.

I have until this summer to decide what I'm going to do...so I have a little time to ponder on the possibilities.

But if you guys ever see any job openings let me know... I would be eternally grateful.


Seriously, you should stick with school and get your degree. If it's photojournalism that you want to do, you'll have a lot more difficulty getting a job as a PJ without it. Even if you never work a day as a PJ, the fact that you have a degree will make it a lot easier to get the job you do want.

As far as going back to finish later, trust me, it's 100 times harder to go back.
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