A high school student in Lansdale, Pennsylvania contacted me for a research project she is doing for one of her classes. She asked if I could answer a few questions for her, and I wanted to share the questions and answers with everyone.
1. When did you first start having an interest in a career in fashion photography? As far back as I can remember, unique, beautiful images with beautiful light have amazed and bewildered me. How is it done? How does a photographer take something so ordinary and make it so intriguing to the viewer? Because of this, I was naturally the most attracted to fashion and beauty images.
2. What type of education did you need to earn your degree in your major of fashion photography? I earned three degrees, an A.S. in photography, an A.A (to transfer to a university), along with a B.S. in photography. I’d like to also complete a masters degree in the near future.
3. What school did you go to in order to earn your major in fashion photography? How many years of college/school? Daytona State College and the University of Central Florida. I earned my three two year degrees in a five year time period.
4. What types of work do you do, i.e.- taking pictures of models, clothing stores, company advertisements, magazines, etc. Mostly editorial work with local and national magazines, with a small percentage of advertising work.
5. What’s a daily work schedule for you like? How many clients or “customers” do you get? My day varies, but I always work Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm. Most of the times I end up working an additional sixth day plus additional hours outside of the 9-5 schedule. I check email, process images, make phone calls, keep track of my accounting & taxes, and every other thing any business does to keep their business going.
The clients question varies from month to month. I can have anywhere from 5-25 shoots a month, depending on the time of year. They might all be for one client or they might end up be for different clients. I also travel approximately six times a year out of state for client work.
6. What is the regular salary that a fashion photographer makes? Does it depend on the difference of clients and people that come to your business? Every photographer makes a different salary depending on what city they work, what field they are in, and how much work they receive on a regular basis. A hard working photographer (in any field of photography) will typically make anywhere from $45-50k and up. Most people think of photography as a glamorous field where photographers make loads of money. There is a very small percentage of photographers, all known as work-a-holics, who make the larger numbers. The photographic field is a laborious one.
7. Did anyone inspire you to start this career, like famous photographers, friends, or even a family member? I had inspiration come from all of those places, plus a few others. When I first was drawn to photography, my high school photography teacher was a big inspiration. Anyone who encouraged me on the way to my career has been an inspiration, and yes my mother is still my biggest fan. I am inspired by people, light, and the beauty you can find in the small things.
I LOVE meeting new people and hearing their stories. I feel like I make a difference when I photograph, that I can help people see beautiful things which will brighten their day or life. I love it when I can make a difference in someone’s life. For example, I just worked with a local magazine photographing a woman who is currently fighting breast cancer. She and her husband have no job and no health insurance. We helped raise enough money for the woman to be able to pay her bills for the next several months, and she was extremely grateful! It always feels good to make a difference, and I am grateful I can incorporate it into my career.
8. What are some things to consider when taking a beauty or fashion snapshot? Listen to your heart, and be creative. It’s easy to slip into a rhythm and loose inspiration and creativity.
9. What do you as a photographer mostly take pictures of? People, clothing, scenery, beauty, props, etc. 95-99% People
10. Do you have any tips or advice for me and/or future fashion photographer wannabes? Never take anything in your photography business for granted. My profession is a part of me as much as anything else in my life, and it’s important to treat it as such. Always treat the people who are on your crew or “team” as family as much as possible. A photographer is not a photographer without the people who support them and work with them. Also, never forget that everything you do will come back to you. It always amazes me how much smaller the world seems each and every day.
Good luck, Emily!