Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Considering Photography at University – I need critique!

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    I’m currently on a computing course that isn’t interesting me at all. I have two passions; music and photography. I want to know if photography is worth studying further to make a possible career out of it.

    ALL criticism is welcome and valuable.


    Thank you.



    I’m at the other end of a career from you.  I did the computing courses and electronics courses, which I did find interesting and which provided a pretty lucrative career.  But, doing what you enjoy is important and if that’s not your interest you should do something else.

    This part is a bit of a downer ->   Of all the musicians, less than 1% go on to be a Beatle, Rolling Stone, Toby Kieth, Dixie Chick, or part of some other successful musical group.  Similarly, of all the photographers, less than 1% go on to be a big name like Ansel Adams, Richard Avadon, etc.

    That doesn’t mean you won’t be the one.  But it is an indication of how hard and smart you will have to work to get to a good place.

    Business, Accounting, and Law courses will help you get further in becoming a well paid photographer than a course in photography will.  Running a photography business is 80-90% business and only 10-20% photography.  The photography you can pick up on your own.


    I unfortunately have to agree with CC that a business course will be far more useful than a photography one.

    As for making money off your photography, nothing in that portfolio would have earnt you money. People are what pay you most often to take photos of them at occasions like weddings etc. Trying to find a gig photographing pets, piers at sunset etc are near impossible in the real world.

    Your photos are nice enough but nothing that stands out or anything that I would expect you to manage to sell as prints. Technically your colours are off with far too much saturation. It is a bit difficult to see though as pinterest is an awful photo sharing platform and I can’t get rid of their box that wants me to log on one way or another.

    In short, do a course in business and get your friends to pose for you for portraits. Spend some time with a photographer and get a feel whether you actually enjoy the working as a photographer. Remember that taking the photos is a minuscule part of your day. Computing will give you a job at the end if you stick with it, photography probably won’t. Besides, there is no reason why one has to exclude the other.


    I’d say go for it. If you know what you want to study then switch. I did fine art at uni, and yes it wasn’t the most lucrative, business-wise thing I could have done, but learning about the history and context of a subject you love and developing your own personal style and creativity is never ever a waste of time. I’d say study something you love and do the business studies on the side.

    I got interested in photography later and have studied in my own time in evening classes etc. I got as far as level 3 which is A Level here in the UK, the step before uni. However my A Level course was quite a disappointment as we didn’t learn anything to do with skills, not even what an aperture was! It was all based on the fine art side, which you think I’d like as that was my background but you have to get sufficient knowledge of the basics first of.
    My point is, check with a fine tooth comb the content of the course, make sure any course you are interested in teaches the technical side of this subject too. It may well be that a vocational course in the subject, such as a BTEC if you’re in the UK, would be of more use to you than a degree. research whats on offer. Good luck!


    Hi Felix,

    I agree with the others, being a professional photographer is 10% shooting and 90% business. So learning how business works is a huge part of being a viable photography business. On the shooting end I thought on your Pintrest board you had some interesting images. I can see that you are well versed in technique. The one thing I would say is what you need to work on is developing your own unique visual voice.

    This comes with you continuing to go out and shoot subject matter that speaks to you. The only issue I see on your Pintrest board is although your images are interesting, your subject matter is ALL over the board. Bodies of work on a given subject matter are much more an indicator of your ability as a photographer. Is somewhat easier to take your “Best Of” images than producing a cohesive body of work. This is what professionals do.

    I am going to recommend 2 really great books. They are both from authors in the UK and both deal with creating bodies of work.


    Creative Exposures 23 Photographers Discuss Art & Technique by Eddie Ephraums

    Photo Projects Plan & Publish Your Photography in Print & on the Internet by Chris Dickie


    Keep shooting, if this is what you want I say go for it just be prepared to work hard!


    Thanks for all your comments! They have been very helpful 🙂


    This make me wonder: how long does it take most photographers to discover what their maximum artistic potential is?


    Plonker, after working in the creative arts for the past two decades, I can tell you artistic potential is never fully realized. That’s what keeps us going every day. If an artist ever tells you that they have arrived at the pinnacle of their artistic potential, they are not a true artist. As long as an artist is alive and has breath to create, they will still be reaching for that next artistic vision that will allow them to grow as a better artist.


    I didn’t study photography in college although it was my original intention. Like you I started in computing, studying to become an engineer, realized it didn’t interest me and moved on to graphic design. Loving design but still itching with a desire to shoot, I took every photography course offered and when I graduated from college moved to NYC and started assisting. It was then that I started to really learn how to shoot.

    If I had to do it all over again, I’d have taken about a years worth of business and marketing courses. It is as crucial as being a good photographer. Then I would have moved to NYC and started assisting, networking and building a portfolio.

    Networking with other photo people will land you 2nd assisting jobs and if the photographer likes you, you move up when the 1st moves on. Learning the tech end will up your day rate and gets you in the seat next to art directors. Who you assist is important as well. I did a stint as an intern at one of the super studios. It was unpaid but I met a lot of 1st assistants that got me on their crews working with some pretty big names. 1sts that have a good portfolio have been known to get awarded jobs that their photographers have passed on – it depends on the relationship.

    I could go on and on. But anyways, yes, your portfolio is not good, but everyone’s was when they first started out. So if you think it’s something you want to do, but aren’t ready to leave school yet, at least try a photo course or two. I don’t regret staying in school studying something I wasn’t completely in to. I met the love of my life there and I gained invaluable design skills that made me a rockstar tech to art directors and are crucial in advertising.


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