A career in photography

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Josh Goldberg has taken photos of many South Asian celebrities – working as a photographer with the Asian fashion and lifestyle magazine, Asiana.

What does your work with Asiana involve?

There are two magazines – a lifestyle edition with fashion and features, and a bridal edition. I run the photo studio and work with the editor and styling team to create photographs for fashion spreads and to illustrate interviews and stories.

How do you decide what pictures to take?

Usually, the editor will come up with a theme for a fashion page or ideas for interviews and features. This brief tells me what look is needed and I use my creativity to make effective and memorable images for what is a very picture-led magazine.

What equipment do you use?

I use a manual SLR camera, mainly as a back-up now because I am shooting more and more on my digital camera. I also have flashes and lights, lenses for different types of shot and a light meter. The equipment in the studio includes special studio lights and a medium format camera that takes larger negatives for better quality.

What does studio work involve?

We have a studio space at the magazine with offices and a shooting studio with lights and backdrops. The work could be taking simple shots of accessories, using a white backdrop or a white polystyrene box to get even light and a sharp, clear image. At other times, the style team will build a set using props and special backgrounds.

I have to set up the studio lights to create the effect I want. I pose the models and arrange the accessories.

What about location shots?

If we are doing a fashion shoot on location, the whole team will be there.We'll use special lighting and reflectors, tripods and so on. A lot of my 'location' work, though, is for news and features, which means using basic hand-held equipment, perhaps with a flashgun, and waiting for the right shot.

What happens to your pictures after you have taken them?

If I am supplying prints, I get these processed and printed in a lab. If it is digital, I download the shots from the camera to my computer and burn them onto a CD. I then give the prints or the CD to the editor.

What hours do you work?

Whatever is needed for the particular job. I do a lot of celebrity shoots, which might mean standing outside for hours waiting for someone to come out of a hotel. One day last week, I finished at 3 a.m. and had to be up and working again first thing the next morning.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

I just love taking photographs. It is a real passion. I get to meet a lot of celebrities and go to some fabulous events.

What skills do you need?

Creativity. You have to have an eye for seeing what will look good. You need to be good with people too. Some models can be a bit fussy and some people freeze in front of the camera – I try to make everyone feel relaxed and comfortable.

The career path of a photographer

  • A level course in photography, and decided to get more practical experience.
  • Learnt photography and freelancing skills on-the-job.
  • Now doing a part-time degree in media.

Josh's career in photography tips

  • Make sure you want to do photography, as it can be expensive to buy the equipment.
  • You really need to get on well with people to put them at their ease in front of the camera.

Photography related jobs

  • Animator: film
  • Camera operator: TV/film
  • Photographic stylist
  • Photographic technician

Photographer salary information

  • Starting salary for an assistant will be between £10,000 and £13,000.
  • With experience, you can expect to earn around £20,000 up to £35,000 with a good reputation.
  • Freelance photographers charge from £120 to £600 a day.

Becoming a photographer

  • There may be some Modern Apprenticeships (Skillseekers in Scotland) available.
  • Many photographers do have a qualification – and there are City & Guilds courses, BTEC National Diplomas, HNCs/HNDs, degrees and NVQs/SVQs in different areas of photography.
  • If you specialise – perhaps in press or medical photography – you will need to take specific training courses.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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