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How to become a photographer after your Au Pair stay

by AlenaReading time: 4 min.
How Au Pair experience will help you to become a photographer
Since photography appeared in the 19th-century, people were fascinated by its ability to save the image of the person or place as it was right there right then. Nowadays, we can’t imagine our lives without photography: we take pictures of the most memorable events, trips or even of the food we cooked. We share them on social media and send them to parents or friends if we’re far away to let them know how we live. We invite photographers to weddings, birthdays and parties to get the reminder of these events in visual form. If you are the one who can’t live without a camera and you feel that you understand how to capture a moment then think about becoming a photographer after you finish your Au Pair program.

What does a photographer do?

An easy question to answer, right? A photographer takes photos using a digital or analog camera, edit and develop them when needed. They say that photographers are like writers only they tell stories through images. And that’s not far from the truth - a photo can give much information about the person, the event, or place to those who’re looking at it. 

But what exactly hides behind these words? How would the usual “to-do” list of a photographer look like? Well, we can give you an idea. Of course, it always depends on the people/company you work for, what kind of technical equipment you use and your employer’s needs but most probably you would:
  • Learn about the place where you shoot and come up with an idea of how to use it (studio or outdoor location)
  • Discover if you need additional equipment (different camera lenses, photoflash, tripod, etc.)
  • Talk to your client and understand their expectation
  • Create and edit pictures
  • Print them if needed
  • Deliver the set of pictures you agreed on to the customer(s)

How much does a photographer earn?

Being a good photographer also means being a businessman. It doesn’t matter how you work - as a freelancer or as an employee - you need to know how to sell your product. You would need skills like marketing, customer support, and some technical skills (for example, to create a webpage for promotion). 

Usually, photographers are paid hourly, or they may have a specific price for a photoshoot. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the US in 2018 the average photographer’s salary was $34,008 ($16.35/hour), in the UK - around £21,500. In France, you may get from 22,400 EUR with less than 2 years experience up to 60,400 EUR (with 20+ years). But in Germany the average salary is significantly lower than in mentioned countries: beginner gets around 5000 EUR, and with the experience, he/she may earn around 25,000 EUR per year. 

However, photography is art, and the perception of art is subjective. So in this field, a lot will depend on recommendations and self-promotion. Your portfolio should tell to the potential customer that you know exactly what to do and that you can give them what they want.

Where to start?

The nice part of becoming a photographer is that you can but don’t have to obtain a degree to become a professional. But it indeed requires practice, knowledge of modern trends and understanding how to use photo editing software when it is needed. 

Anyway, before even starting, you may want to choose what kind of photographer you want to become. There are many options, some are more popular and well paid, for some you would need to work hard to get recognition. Here is the list of topics/things/events to give you an idea of what a photographer can shoot:
  • weddings
  • portraits
  • nature
  • products 
  • events
  • children
  • fine art
  • fashion
  • photojournalism
  • travel
  • lifestyle
  • animals
  • sport
  • stock
When you know what or who you want to shoot, it’s time to start taking your first photos. As they say, practice makes perfect, and it 100 % applies to a photographer’s work. Also if you decide to choose this profession you should be ready to always learn about new software, new equipment, watch hundreds of tutorials to understand, for instance, how to make skin look great or how to create extra drops on glass with water.  

How being an Au Pair will help you to become a photographer

Au Pair experience can enhance your resume and make you a great candidate for any job. Why? Because you get many competencies that you may not even recognize. But we’re here to help! These are the skills that are very important for the ones who want to be a photographer. And you have gained them all - before, after and during your Au Pair stay.
  • Self-presenting skills: crucial for all employees but mostly for self-employed as they need to prove to the employer they are the one. And you already know how to do it - among many candidates, your Family had chosen you.
  • Independence: you should be able to handle the whole process from offering a location to deal with your taxes. No need to mention that you came alone to the new country and during your stay, you managed to fulfill all your needs on your own. 
  • Communication skills: it is extremely important to listen and hear what the customer wants. Some photographers have their view on how to shoot the event or the product, but sometimes the client wants something specific, and active listening skills along with communicating all questions - exactly like you did on daily basis with your Host Family - would picture you as a great professional.
  • Ability to understand body language: many people don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, and the photographer’s task is to recognize it and to help them. This reminds a lot of children’s behavior: when they have problems they can’t always communicate verbally but their body won’t lie.
  • Creativity: we do not doubt that you spent many hours, playing games, drawing, and dancing with your host kids. All these activities develop creativity and help you to see a thing from a different angle - skill, that every photographer is seeking.

Want to know more about other potential jobs after the Au Pair stay? Then read more in our job series.
Free Registration as Candidate Free Registration as Family
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