Art and Photography

Friend wants to quit a good job, take out a student loan, and become a photographer

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 19th, 2012 9:10 pm
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Sr. Member
Sep 13, 2009
526 posts
24 upvotes
zero_2003 wrote:
Jul 23rd, 2012 12:32 am
Tell your friend to use his student loan to take a business course instead of a photography course. It'll be more helpful in the long run.
I agree with this 100%. It's difficult to make money in photography, it's a saturated field IMO.
Deal Addict
Feb 13, 2007
1169 posts
95 upvotes
Just a thought here. I doubt the guy is spending the FULL $50k on courses. OP stated his friend doesn't have much in the way of savings, so I'd think that a bunch of the loan is to pay for living expenses. Rent, food, etc.. Assuming he's applied to an University or College, then a couple years tuition would likely run $5-$10k.

That or he's getting ripped off.
Deal Addict
Jan 5, 2006
1433 posts
121 upvotes
Midtown Toronto
From you description he sounds like he needs to go into counselling instead.

I can see why someone would want to switch careers and be OK with making a less money. But, he's leaving one career into something (I don't think you can call photography a career for him yet when he hasn't demonstrated any aptitude taking photos or sourcing paying jobs), but is also then compounding the riskiness of his move by taking out a $50k loan. As you said, he doesn't have any savings and at 50 making $75k without the academic credentials, he'll have a hard time finding a job much less one that pays him well.

From your description, I think there's a reasonable likelihood that he'll end up on the street within a year of graduating.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 7, 2008
43 posts
3 upvotes
flyinggonzo wrote:
Jul 24th, 2012 1:26 pm
From you description he sounds like he needs to go into counselling instead.

I can see why someone would want to switch careers and be OK with making a less money. But, he's leaving one career into something (I don't think you can call photography a career for him yet when he hasn't demonstrated any aptitude taking photos or sourcing paying jobs), but is also then compounding the riskiness of his move by taking out a $50k loan. As you said, he doesn't have any savings and at 50 making $75k without the academic credentials, he'll have a hard time finding a job much less one that pays him well.

From your description, I think there's a reasonable likelihood that he'll end up on the street within a year of graduating.

I don't mean to imply that he is doing poorly. Just that he isn't rich. I agree -- I don't think it's a well-thought out decision, but I must leave him to make his own decisions.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 7, 2008
43 posts
3 upvotes
Astin wrote:
Jul 24th, 2012 1:09 pm
Just a thought here. I doubt the guy is spending the FULL $50k on courses. OP stated his friend doesn't have much in the way of savings, so I'd think that a bunch of the loan is to pay for living expenses. Rent, food, etc.. Assuming he's applied to an University or College, then a couple years tuition would likely run $5-$10k.

That or he's getting ripped off.

Yes, the $50K is just on tuition. That's why I started this thread-- the idea seemed so crazy to me, I needed some objective input. The course offers the following (I've summarized it):

YEAR 1

-- Intro to digital cameras (mastering basic technical skills)
-- Digital image processing (batch processing, creating contact sheets, archiving)
-- Photographic design (identifying elements of a good pic - visiting galleries, analyzing photos in class)
-- History of photography

-- Intermediate digital photography
-- Advanced preparation and processing of digital files
-- Black & white photography
-- Business admin for photographers

-- Advanced electronic flash and lighting techniques
-- Studio lighting
-- Color theory, color photography, color printing
-- Business & marketing for photographers

YEAR 2

Focus on one major and one minor (advertising & commercial photography, portraits & wedding photography, documentary photography, editorial & corporate photography, fashion photography, etc).
Deal Addict
Feb 13, 2007
1169 posts
95 upvotes
Unbelievable. He his being completely ripped off. Where is this scam being offered?

The entirety of those courses should cost him no more than $5000-$10000 TOPS (and that's asssuming each is it's own course, a lot of those can easily be combined).
Deal Addict
Feb 5, 2009
2772 posts
880 upvotes
Newmarket
Astin wrote:
Jul 25th, 2012 10:09 am
Unbelievable. He his being completely ripped off. Where is this scam being offered?

The entirety of those courses should cost him no more than $5000-$10000 TOPS (and that's asssuming each is it's own course, a lot of those can easily be combined).
Why should it even cost him that much, it's all available for free online.

It's not as bad as Nigerian Queen scam, but with all the info available for free someone is willing to pay $50K for, I say go for it, it's your money to flush down the drain.

It is not like there will be a degree that will open any door for him, the only difference is he will be 50K lighter, and the folks collecting the money will laugh all the way to the bank.
Deal Addict
Feb 13, 2007
1169 posts
95 upvotes
Homerhomer wrote:
Jul 25th, 2012 5:02 pm
Why should it even cost him that much, it's all available for free online.
If he's looking for an actual certificate/diploma/degree from a real school, then he'll have to pay. Sure, he can learn everything online too, but sometime people need a structured learning environment, assignments, grades, a teacher, etc., to stay with it. Not to mention access to studio space, lighting, and other photography equipment they may not be willing to shell out for yet.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 4, 2006
4434 posts
216 upvotes
Astin wrote:
Jul 26th, 2012 12:32 pm
If he's looking for an actual certificate/diploma/degree from a real school, then he'll have to pay. Sure, he can learn everything online too, but sometime people need a structured learning environment, assignments, grades, a teacher, etc., to stay with it. No to mention access to studio space, lighting, and other photography equipment they may not be willing to shell out for yet.
50k can get all of that with money to spare.
Deal Addict
Feb 13, 2007
1169 posts
95 upvotes
kennyhohoho wrote:
Jul 26th, 2012 12:52 pm
50k can get all of that with money to spare.
As I said earlier, he's being royally ripped off. The question was in regards to me saying he could take the same courses for substantially less.
Newbie
Nov 5, 2007
74 posts
7 upvotes
Woodstock
Don't be afraid to fail, follow your dream regardless of what people say. Even if you fail , you can at least say you tried. Most never try . I personally would not pay to become a photographer, its something that can be learned while working in a crappy job, just practice. Maybe attend some seminars, 50k would be a heck of alot of seminars. Offer free sessions to build a portfolio.
The more he practices the quicker he will be able to quit his job.
And good photographers still make good money.
Like anything else,the better you get the more you make.
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Deal Addict
Sep 20, 2005
1091 posts
112 upvotes
Toronto
If your friend thinks he's going to land a full time photographers job after two years of school, he's in for a rude awakening. Unless he wants to work at Walmart or Sears portrait studios for minimum wage.

Tell him to do a search on Monster, Workopolis or any of the other sites, and see how many full time jobs there are for photographers. There are only a handful of jobs that are decent paying, and there would be literally hundreds of other photographers with more experience looking for those jobs.

If he wants to freelance, he better be a very good business person. A very average photographer with good business skills will make more than a great photographer with no business skills..
Jr. Member
User avatar
Jul 11, 2012
128 posts
2 upvotes
TORONTO
he can simply continue to work , make his site, promote it and start without leaving his job. most of the assignments fall on weekend days or evenings, he can rent a studio if he wants to for couple if hours.
Deal Addict
Feb 5, 2009
2772 posts
880 upvotes
Newmarket
Astin wrote:
Jul 26th, 2012 12:32 pm
If he's looking for an actual certificate/diploma/degree from a real school, then he'll have to pay..
Problem is a diploma in photography is worth as much as the paper it's printed on, from any school, in photography what counts is the photography and how well it can be marketed, not the diploma, rules that apply to other professions do not apply to photography.
Studio and equipment can be rented for few hundred bucks a day, a workshop with good commercial photographer will be of value, for $50k it should cover more workshops than he can handle ;-)

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