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Photography Degree?

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I am asked this question a lot…. more than you may think. After chatting about what I do for a living, it’s very common for this question to come next “So, did you go to school for photography?”. For YEARS this question used to be so daunting. I used to dread answering it. I dreaded the answer because I believed that because I didn’t have a degree in photography, I was less of a photographer. I thought that if I had a degree in photography, that would make me more legit and more talented. To be honest, I don’t know what my skill level and my business would like WITH a photography degree.

Would I have been taken more seriously sooner? Would I have gained instant credibility when I walked into a wedding day to start shooting? Would I always feel confident in my prices? Hmmm…. These are really great questions because I know I’m not the only one that doubts my talent and ability sometimes.  I actually know for a FACT that there are a ton of you out there that struggle with this. There are also some people out there that want to start a photography business but feel like they can’t because they didn’t have “proper training” and they don’t have a diploma hanging on the wall.  In some professions, proper training is crucial and there is no way around it.  In my experience in the photography world, I managed to bypass the “proper training” route. Is this the correct way to get into photography? Can everyone bypass professional training? Will a photography degree strip you of creativity? Is it worth the time and money to take classes? ….. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what is best.  However, I do know one thing…. my ability to shoot and run a business was something that I naturally felt drawn to.  I never took a photography class that taught me how to shoot manually or how to find great composition.  I also never took classes on small business management! It was a very organic process for me but it took practice to make it into what it is today.  There have been and still are days when I doubt what I’m doing. There are days when I’m not confident, when I’m unsure of myself and when I wonder…. “Would I feel better about this if I had a degree on the wall?”…. I think the answer to that last question is a definite “No”.  For me personally, I don’t think photography school was what God had in store for me.  That’s not to say that it may not be for someone else in the industry… but it wasn’t for me.

I actually have a degree in Communications and a minor in Art History and Studio Art. I’m so thankful for my college education but I am definitely one of the many that graduated and then started working outside of my degree…. well I do talk A LOT… so I am using my Communications degree somewhat! :) Looking back, I do wish a had a few business classes under my belt. I feel like I could have saved myself some trouble in the beginning if I had had some small business training on the front end! However, when it comes to photography, I loved teaching myself, reading blogs and eventually attending a few workshops. I know this method of education isn’t for everyone but it worked really well for me! So to answer the question “Do I need a degree to run a photography business?”, my answer is no…. but you DO need a really strong desire to learn and grow in some capacity! To this day, I’m STILL learning more and more about what it means to be a business owner and professional photographer…. and I don’t think I’ll ever see the day when I know all there is to know. :)

So for those that doubt and are unsure about their businesses and their skill, you’re not alone! And for those interested in degrees or certificates in Photography, I’m not the best person to ask because I have no formal training! BUT, my sweet friend and past bride, Rebekah Hoyt may be able to help answer your questions about photo school!!

Well I’m actually in Chicago and I’m loving this beautiful city!! It’s time for a coaching session and another engagement session tonight!! Get excited for Blake and Rita’s wedding tomorrow! I can’t wait to share!

xoxo, Katelyn
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