GHS Career Fair

April 4, 2024

Cameras, film, lighting, and darkroom gear

Welcome! There are many careers that involve various types of photography

Similar to diverse fields of health care, law, engineering, sciences, humanities, and more, there are also many areas of interest and speciality in photography. A partial list includes:

  • sports, photojournalism, paparazzi,
  • fashion, food, product, portraiture, event,
  • assistant, grip, gaffer, make up, stylist, shooting crew,
  • post production, retoucher, Photoshop, editor,
  • art, abstract, gallery, photo historian, creating stock images,
  • teaching, blogging, workshops, reviews, destination photo safaris,
  • street photography, social awareness, documentary,
  • in-house, corporate, forensic, military,
  • landscape, scenic, wildlife, travel,
  • wedding, maternity, new borns, babies, family, pets, animals,
  • architecture, interiors, construction progress, drone,
  • astronomy, scientific, research, photomicroscopy
  • video (its own field, of course, but plenty of overlap and similarities)

10 Photographers who were influential to me as I learned about photography, all of them were exceptionally good at photographing people

  • Annie Leibovitz
  • Arnold Newman
  • Diane Arbus
  • Dorothea Lange
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • Edward Steichen
  • Margaret Bourke-White
  • Mary Ellen Mark
  • Richard Avedon
  • Yousuf Karsh

(not links, but grab their name and do a search yourself)

There are many ways of pursuing photography education and acquiring experience.

Rarely is there just one way, it truly requires an integrated approach among numerous methods and sources. Reading tons of material and watching video after video won’t give proficiency by itself––it must be put into practice. Some possibilities:

  • studying at the college or university level,
  • intensive small group in-person workshops,
  • guided destination photo instruction trips,
  • progressing through multiple online tutorials,
  • working as a photo assistant to an existing photographer,
  • self-taught, shooting on your own, evaluating, critiquing, more & more shooting
  • learning the technical aspects, aesthetic side, and familiarity with terms and concepts
  • acquiring a mentor, guide, or one-on-one teacher,
  • examining and studying the work of prominent photographers, both current and those who preceded us
  • creating your own photo group or joining an existing local one
  • online photo clubs, forums, and groups (e.g. 52Frames, 500px, Phototuts+, Strobist,, LightStalking, PhotoAttorney, International Center of Photography, and more…)
Peter with Calumet 4×5, at age 25 and age 73

Many students said they want to do photography but asked how to get started. I thought of these answers:

  • if you can, get yourself a camera that’s both auto and manual capable
  • search online ‘best camera for beginners’ or something similar, I found plenty of reviews and results
  • start shooting, get familiar with your camera and its controls
  • learn and understand about ƒ-stops, shutter speeds, ISO, ambient light levels, and their interrelationships
  • learning about them allows you to use the camera in manual mode and have more control over the look of your final images
  • shoot generously and edit ruthlessly
  • develop your own eye for what looks good and what’s just ‘blah’
  • study photographs from the great photographers of the past and present
  • develop your own personal preference for what you like and think makes a good photograph
  • begin to understand beauty, symmetry, lighting effects, composition, emotion, and timeless quality as it relates to photos
  • show your best work, not runners up, flops, or second best
  • learn from your goofs––what would you do next time to make it a better image?
  • interact with others doing photography––in person, online, clubs, school, family, and friends
  • listen to advice and opinions from others, but decide for yourself what you believe (true here my tips and elsewhere)
  • learning photography is like learning to cook or play the guitar––it can’t be done by reading a book or watching a short video––you must get in the kitchen or pick up the instrument, that concept applies to cameras and photography as well
  • like music, art, food, sports, and careers, there are many styles, genres, and types of photography, explore what’s out there and find what you like
  • there’s always room for new talent to join the scene, it also takes determination, guts, and smarts to pull it off
  • with time and experience, you may develop your own personal style(s), they may last a long time or short, explore what excites you and go for it!
Self-portrait, age 25, in 1976

The art of negotiation and its necessity

All human interaction involves the use of negotiation. Sometimes it’s overt, other times it is more subtle, and many levels in between. To not have negotiating skills leaves you open to losing out, not getting some of the things you want, settling for second best (or worse), and being treated like a doormat. Good negotiating skills allow you to reach mutually acceptable remedies to situations and problems, especially since you can’t always have everything your own way. Negotiation also includes persuasion, influence, cajoling, synergy, creatively imagining solutions, and having good intel going into it. Not everything can be dealt with competition, as in sports, or with brute force, they have their place. Having said that, sports figures (or their agents) must be sharp negotiators when their contracts are about to expire. Some areas that use negotiating:

  • setting a price for your photo work and determining terms and conditions
  • establishing contracts and agreements
  • buying/selling a car/house/bike and other things
  • job hunting, interviewing, asking for a raise, promotion, and other perks
  • in a court of law between plaintiff and defendant, and their legal representatives
  • between labor and management, teachers and administration
  • politics at the local, state, federal, and international level
  • getting along with friends, family, neighbors, strangers, and fellow photographers
  • dating, relationships, marriage, family, bosses, coworkers

Copyright is earned the moment you create and fix your work in some tangible form, and to be copyrightable, it must be original. You must display the © symbol, or the word ‘COPYRIGHT’, the year created, and your name, to accompany your work. (On a Mac, type Option–G to get the symbol. On Windows, press Ctrl+Alt+C)

Copyright gives authors of creative works the right to control:

  • copying & reproduction
  • public performance
  • public display
  • distribution

Copyright can be bought and sold. It may have great commercial or monetary value, or nothing at all. If the work and its copyright do have value, then be prepared to negotiate and haggle over what it’s worth.

Mere possession of a book, photo, CD, painting, video doesn’t give you the copyright to it, that belongs to the author, creator, publisher, or some other entity.

Optional registration online with the U.S. Copyright Office, by following their submission form and paying a necessary fee, gives important advantages:

  • it’s a strong deterrent against infringers
  • it proves your authorship
  • it entitles you to collect statutory damages and attorney’s fees, thus a powerful inducement to settle

Not everything needs to be registered, perhaps only the work likely to be most valuable. Everyday snapshots and test shots can do without registration.