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If you have a passion for capturing life in pictures, photography can be a rewarding career path. Working photographers can also specialize in different fields — journalism, shooting portrait, events, nightlife and more. The bad news is that professional photography is a highly competitive field; anyone with a camera can call himself a photographer, leading to a buyer's market for employers. The number one rule when applying for those positions is to provide proof that you can do the work well.
Research the type of photography done at the job that you want to apply. Build a portfolio around that specialty. Shoot photojournalism by traveling around your locality and photographing people in action. Practice shooting events by offering to photograph friends' birthdays, weddings and parties for free. Do the same for portrait and glamour photography by setting up lights in a space and taking portraits of friends. Make copies of those photos and them in a file folder or organized on a CD or DVD.
Create a resume. Top the page with your name, and then start a new line with your address, phone number and email. Type a section that details the equipment and photo-retouching software you own or with which you are experienced. Type a list of your previous photography experience — if you’re applying for your first professional job, list the projects you have done for free.
Type a cover letter in standard business letter format, topped with your name and address, followed by the recipient's name and address, followed by the letter. Open the letter briefly thanking the recipient for the opportunity to apply, then use the space to detail skills you possess that are hard to convey on the list-like resume. Those can include ways you've successfully experimented with lighting or angles, or your level of devotedness to the craft in terms of hours spent and late nights. End the letter by reiterating your thanks or stating that you look forward to the potential employer's response.
Be prepared to discuss your experience in a face-to-face interview. Memorize the lighting, lens and camera that you used for specific photos in your portfolio. Arrive to the interview early and dress in clean business or business-casual clothing.
Always choose your best work for your portfolio. If a photograph makes you pause for even a moment, get the opinion of another photographer or just omit it from your portfolio without another thought.
- "Careers in Photography;" George Gilbert and Pamela Fehl; 2006