How Do I Get an Apprenticeship in Photography?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Most photographers or businesses will require you to submit a portfolio in order to be considered for an apprenticeship position.
Most photographers or businesses will require you to submit a portfolio in order to be considered for an apprenticeship position.

No formal education is necessary to get an apprenticeship in photography, though some training will improve your chances of securing a position. Taking photography courses at a local community college, for example, may give you the foundation of skills and knowledge necessary to be an effective apprentice, though many skills can be learned through the apprenticeship or simply by shooting photos on your own. Whichever path you choose, the first step you will need to take to get an apprenticeship in photography is to learn as much as possible about the craft as possible and practice it regularly.

Someone interested in photography might build a portfolio of shots they have taken of people they know.
Someone interested in photography might build a portfolio of shots they have taken of people they know.

An apprenticeship in photography can be obtained by approaching an independent photographer in your area, or by applying for an apprenticeship with a magazine, newspaper, website, or other major media outlet. If you choose to seek an apprenticeship in photography offered by an independent photographer, that apprenticeship is likely to be an informal one; you may or may not be paid, and the photographer will have you perform a variety of jobs relating to photography as well as the running of a business. If you intend to run your own photography business, you should seek such an apprenticeship from an independent photographer. If, however, you would like to work with a news outlet or other type of business, you should seek out apprenticeships at such businesses or companies.

People interested in photography might get practice by shooting pictures at a friend's wedding.
People interested in photography might get practice by shooting pictures at a friend's wedding.

The requirements for securing an apprenticeship in photography will vary according to the person or business offering it. Most photographers or businesses will require you to submit a portfolio in order to be considered for the position. This means you will need to spend a significant amount of time taking photos on your own to build such a portfolio, and you will need to get those photos printed and assembled in a portfolio, or assembled online on your own personal website. Regardless of how you present your portfolio, it should represent your best work and indicate you have a basic understanding of photographic techniques.

Magazines and newspapers may hire freelance photographers who are still in training.
Magazines and newspapers may hire freelance photographers who are still in training.

Try to have a flexible schedule, and be willing to take an unpaid internship. Remember that while you are not getting paid, you are gaining work experience and developing the knowledge and skills to become a photographer on your own, which may be more valuable than a paycheck. Having a flexible schedule means being able to accommodate the photographer for jobs at odd hours during the day or week. The more shoots you show up to, the more you will gain from the internship.

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    • Most photographers or businesses will require you to submit a portfolio in order to be considered for an apprenticeship position.
      By: olly
      Most photographers or businesses will require you to submit a portfolio in order to be considered for an apprenticeship position.
    • Someone interested in photography might build a portfolio of shots they have taken of people they know.
      By: unpict
      Someone interested in photography might build a portfolio of shots they have taken of people they know.
    • People interested in photography might get practice by shooting pictures at a friend's wedding.
      By: tomas del amo
      People interested in photography might get practice by shooting pictures at a friend's wedding.
    • Magazines and newspapers may hire freelance photographers who are still in training.
      By: Africa Studio
      Magazines and newspapers may hire freelance photographers who are still in training.
    • Photography apprentices might practice their technique by taking photos of their own pets.
      By: Mat Hayward
      Photography apprentices might practice their technique by taking photos of their own pets.
    • People interested in photography can get practice by doing shoots with friends and family.
      By: Mat Hayward
      People interested in photography can get practice by doing shoots with friends and family.