How does one begin doing photographic work?

Started Oct 20, 2012 | Questions thread
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JamieL
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How does one begin doing photographic work?
Oct 20, 2012

I'm a 16 year old guy from BC, Canada. I used to do a lot of hobby photography a couple years ago, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Recently, I've recovered my interest in the art and have been catching up on all the technology and news that has passed in that time. I would really like to begin to integrate myself into some kind of professional photographic environment; however, I have no idea what the best approach would be.

I would be more than happy to do things like real-estate photography, portraits, weddings, nature, or nearly any other genre of photography. I could never take most of these jobs, though, as I don't have any work experience or professional portfolio. What is my best approach to developing some kind of professional reputation or connections?

I've considered volunteer positions that would allow me to keep photos for a portfolio. I've considered making postcards or calendars for our area and then selling them through local businesses. I've considered contacting professional photographers and asking for some kind of mentor-ship (is that even a thing?). I recently looked in my local craigslist listings and saw a few things that I could probably do, but have no experience in, would it be unfair for me to offer? A local bakery was looking for photographers to take pictures of the location and some baked goods for whatever the photographer's hourly wage was. Would it be unethical for me to take a job like this? If I were to take it, what do I charge? I really am not sure what I should do.

I have a very, very good work ethic and have absolutely no problem having to actively take initiative to progress.

I threw together an album of some photos I took 2 years ago when I was really focused on photography for the first time: http://jlenihan.daportfolio.com/gallery/759316#10

The images aren't great, and I’m certainly much more well-read on photographic theory since then,  but is nonetheless at least a benchmark for you guys to understand where I'm at.

My equipment includes the following: Canon T1i,  canon kit 18-55mm lens, canon 55-250mm IS, Tamron F2.0 60mm macro, Nifty-Fifty (kind of unnecessary, as the Tamron 60mm pretty much replaces this), 430ex II flash, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6, some kenko extension tubes and a shitty tripod. I have a basic understanding of Photoshop (colour corrections, basic editing, HDR, etc) and I am planning to learn how to use the program much more extensively.

I know it’s a lot to ask, but any suggestions or advice is greatly appreciated.

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Canon EOS 500D (EOS Rebel T1i / EOS Kiss X3)
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