Portrait Photography

A good beginning point for many photographers is outdoor portrait photography because all that is required is a camera, film, and a willing subject. The typical subject of most amateurs' cameras is a family member, friend, pet, or neighborhood child. Naturally, your subjects—except the pet—want to see the finished pictures. If they like them, they will want extra prints to keep. The photographer often is also anxious to see what the photographs look like enlarged. If the subjects can afford it, they may contribute to the cost of film and printing. Thus, a budding business is born. The next major question is: can you continue doing this and produce a regular income?

What to charge for photography is often one of the most difficult decisions to make in the profession. In the beginning it is just a guess, and—believe it or not—some photographers go through a lifetime in the business without being sure they have been fair with their prices. A great number of studios are operated with the pho-

tographer's spouse and the assistance of other members of the family. They sometimes work long hours for little or no pay.

As the demand increases for photographs from amateurs, their interest in learning more about the profession increases. Reading more magazines and books, visiting other photographers, and joining photography associations helps in making the decision to go into the business full-time.

At this point, it is wise to think twice and get further counsel on what to do. The important thing to give thought to is whether you have enough training and skill to make sufficient progress in the portraiture field or whether you should first get additional training through workshops, short courses, or as a student in a photography school.

Another consideration is to weigh the advantages of working for an established studio for three or four years to learn the techniques of the business. Most of the older, well-known photographers got their start by serving as assistants or apprentices in studios. Today making the choice is a bit more involved, with so many short courses in every field of photography. In addition, there are good academic courses in high schools, community colleges, and universities, as well as in trade and correspondence schools. Then, too, there is more specialization today than ever before and many new advances because of improved materials and equipment. Technical advances and increasing interest in fine color portraiture will make for continued growth and expansion in this field.

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