Sponsor Message:
Aviation Photography Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Becoming A Professional Aviation Photographer  
User currently offline9V-SPJ From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 752 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 5388 times:

Hi all,
Did a search for this topic, but couldn't find anything! I have a few questions regarding becoming a professional aviation photographer.

1. Do you need a degree in photography? If not, would it be advisable to get one? Which are some of the best colleges to obtain such a degree?

2. What is roughly the yearly salary for a professional aviation photographer? I know it depends on the number of assignments, but what would one normally earn in one year?

3. What kinds of features are you looking for in a camera? (Lens, digital vs. film etc)

Just so its clear, my definition of a professional aviation photographer is one who takes pictures for airlines, aircraft manufacturers, aviation magazines, etc.

Thanks for all your help

9V-SPJ

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDLKAPA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 5376 times:

If I do decide to jump in the "pro" field, I'm gonna stay freelance, that way I make my own assignments.

User currently offlineAviopic From Netherlands, joined Mar 2004, 2681 posts, RR: 42
Reply 2, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5328 times:

Quoting 9V-SPJ (Thread starter):
1. Do you need a degree in photography? If not, would it be advisable to get one? Which are some of the best colleges to obtain such a degree?

No you don't need any kind of schooling although I strongly advice you to do something anyway, even if you already have "all" the knowledge a different view point will only be a benefit.

Quoting 9V-SPJ (Thread starter):
2. What is roughly the yearly salary for a professional aviation photographer? I know it depends on the number of assignments, but what would one normally earn in one year?

Forget about salary, you are looking at a long term investment first to get your name established.

Quoting 9V-SPJ (Thread starter):
3. What kinds of features are you looking for in a camera? (Lens, digital vs. film etc)

If someone wants material you need to deliver fast so go for digital, we are not talking in days anymore but hours at most.
A DSLR for sure but the brand is up to you, my choice would be a 1Ds mark 2 if only I could afford one.
And of course professional glass which is the most important item of all.


Good luck,
Willem



The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
User currently offlineStaffan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5315 times:

If you are going freelance a business degree won't hurt. If you want to make a living from photography you need to market yourself. Marketing takes time and if you are good at it you'll have more time for photography.
Salary wise, no idea... but a rough guess is less and less as more people are getting their hands on high-end digital equipment and at the same time giving stuff away for free for the sole joy of seeing their name printed.
Regarding equipment, depending on what you are taking photos of, and who for, medium and even large format might not be out of question either. You also need backup equipment since photo shoots can be expensive and you don't want to stand there in the middle of it with your only camera broken.

But as said, the road is long and you'll need to invest both time and money to make yourself known.

Staffan


User currently offline9V-SPJ From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 752 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 5279 times:

Thanks for all the replies!

9V-SPJ


User currently offlineAKE0404AR From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2535 posts, RR: 46
Reply 5, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5121 times:

All I can say is that it takes a long time to get your name established. You need a lot of patience, skills, be at the right time and the right place, know the right people etc.......

How many pro aviation photographers are there on this planet? Not a lot. This is just a guess though.

If you have the interest, I would become a pro photographer first (PJ etc. ) and then go from there. Why would you limit yourself to aviation?

VG.

p.s. It maybe fun now, but wait until it is a profession...........pressure will be on and you have to deliver the images!


User currently offlinePhotopilot From Canada, joined Jul 2002, 2771 posts, RR: 18
Reply 6, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5079 times:

My suggestion would be this.

I see by your profile that you are an American. So my answer would be to join either the Air Force or US Navy as a military photographer. Yes, it will take 5 years of your life. But here's what you'll get in return.

Professional training.
Access to the most amazing photo situations imagineable.
A college degree if you want it.
An amazing portfolio to be used later in life in the civilian arena.
Access to defense contractors (Boeing, Lougheed, etc., who could be your future clients)
Wide use of your images (published) and again, think portfolio.
Steady paycheck while you learn.

I used to work (Staff position) as a senior aviation photographer for Bombardier Aerospace. It's an amazing life to make your living as an aviation photographer, until some corporation VP somewhere decides to simply close your department to save a few dollars. What has seriously helped me when this disaster occurred wasit the University education that I have, plus continuing education in Business Management. Whatever you do, DON'T GIVE UP YOUR EDUCATION.

While working as a professional, I had the pleasure of meeting Tech Sgt. Herman Kokojian (spelling??) who was the US Military Photographer of the Year. That is why I suggest the military route because my jaw dropped seeing some of the hot birds he not only got to photograph, but also actually fly in on a regular basis.

Remember, nothing comes easy. Somewhere down the road you have to pay the dues for your career. Whether that be setting up on your own, where you have to buy all the equipment to work as a pro. Or paying for an education, or paying with time and sweat in the military. The choice is yours.

So that's my two cents worth.
Steve


User currently offline9V-SPJ From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 752 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5050 times:

Hi all, thanks for all the responses! I am in GATech writing know studying Aerospace Engineering, so I may pursue photography after I get a degree in AE!

9V-SPJ

P.S My profile indicates that I live in the US, I am actually an Indian  Smile


User currently offlineTappan From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1538 posts, RR: 41
Reply 8, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4981 times:

To be a pro you must need patience to wait many, many, many,many,many,many months for your payment that always seems to be "in the mail". Oh, also a good bottle of crisco or lubricant to make it easier for the client to _______ you.
Mark Grfinkel


User currently offlineSkymonster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4970 times:

The official definition of a "professional photographer" in a number of countries is a person who earns more than half of their income from photography.

Andy


User currently offlineAKE0404AR From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2535 posts, RR: 46
Reply 10, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4912 times:

Mark,

that was a good one.......but you are so right.
Any personal experience  Big grin Big grin

Vasco


Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
New Aviation Photographer Needs Advice posted Sat Aug 5 2006 17:22:16 by YULspotter
Can Anyone Be An Aviation Photographer? posted Tue Jan 20 2004 01:06:59 by Lehpron
Are You An Aviation Photographer Or Plane Spotter? posted Thu Dec 11 2003 16:09:48 by Manzoori
Salute To New Jerseys Finest Aviation Photographer posted Sun Oct 12 2003 13:22:11 by Skymonster
Aviation Photographer In Iceland... posted Wed Feb 26 2003 01:57:31 by EGGD
D60 V D30 From Aviation Photographer's Perspective posted Sun May 19 2002 04:10:39 by Hkg_clk
What Made You Become An Aviation Photographer? posted Wed Jul 18 2001 09:13:27 by LGW
Becoming A Better Photographer posted Wed Nov 10 2004 16:09:01 by Staffan
Favourite Non-Av Photographer posted Tue Nov 21 2006 02:18:01 by WhyWhyZed
Your Next Step In Aviation Photography posted Thu Nov 16 2006 16:55:50 by LIPH