As a short extension to Christine Howell’s guest post, How to Become a Sports Photographer, I’d like to rehash a very important point she made. As she was talking about the importance of gaining experience, she stated “… you will be better off on the sidelines of your local high school baseball game than in the stands at the World Series.”
But this concept of working local gigs to build a portfolio and work your way up is applicable to just about any type of assignment photography (and other types of paid photography). Here are just a few examples of using local and amateur events/jobs to get some experience.
SPORTS — As Christine mentioned, start shooting local games just for the experience. There are all sorts of local leagues just about everywhere you go.
CONCERTS — Similar to sporting events, there are a lot of local concerts and shows in most cities and urban areas. A show might cost you $10 or $15 to get into, but you’ll probably be able to get shots from any spot you choose (just make sure the venue is cool with cameras).
WEDDINGS — If you want to get into wedding photography, start off by hooking up with a wedding photographer and tagging along on a couple jobs as a backup photographer. As your comfort level rises, start taking on lower-budget weddings and working your way up as you become more sought after.
FINE ART — Start participating in local art shows, fairs, and contests. The most important thing is to get your work in front of people’s eyes, and you’ll be familiarizing yourself with the standards of the industry at the same time.
And as a comment in Christine’s article, Kevin Winzeler gave a great piece of advice for becoming a better sports photographer: “… getting experience in the sport you’re shooting; even at a small level.” Absolutely! This applies to other sides of photography too — shoot the things you enjoy doing yourself and it will show in your photos.
What are some other photography examples of working your way up from local/amateur to global/professional? (I suppose this applies to just about everything in photography, but let’s share some specific examples)