A career in media and photography

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Ninety-nine per cent of the UK population watch television. We go to the cinema, we listen to the radio and talk about programmes and films. In addition, the electronic revolution has given photography a boost by adding fast and exciting image-making tools.

Every year, thousands of people seriously consider a career in these areas – far more than there are jobs available. They are tough, competitive industries and you have to be really committed to succeed. Many people work freelance (self-employed) and have to 'pitch' or compete for each contract. Often, you will have to work your way up, be prepared to grab an opportunity to enter the sector even at the lowest level in order to reach your goal – and do everything you can to make your job application stand out from the crowd.

What is it like to work in the sector?

We live in the cult of the celebrity and it is not surprising that we see the glamour of film, radio, video and television. In reality, it is tough and you won't always be able to work regular office hours. Shift and weekend work is sometimes required. For instance, as a photographer or sound recordist on location, you could be standing around in wet, windy weather waiting for the vital moment of action.

What types of job are available in media?

You can work in television and radio programmes, feature films, commercials – even digital/new media. Jobs can range from production such as sound, animation and digital imaging to becoming a director or producer.

What about photography?

Photographers find work in a number of areas, including advertising, fashion and editorial photography, in a High Street shop or studio, in industry, in newspapers, in medical photography and in television, film and video. Advertising, fashion and editorial photography is seen as the glamour ticket but in reality these photographers are usually freelance.

How do I get started?

There are many courses available and qualifications to gain, but you still have to find a job. The best way is through networking. Build a contacts list, look at the various trade and sector skills councils' websites to understand what the jobs involve and approach people you may know in the sector to seek their advice.

What can give me a head start?

Many people will work in more than one of these sectors – especially in some of the craft roles such as sound and lighting, for instance. Increasingly, many employers look for people who are multi-skilled and flexible in their work. Also, computer literacy is often extremely important. Finally, be prepared to start at the bottom and work upwards.












Modified: 16 June 2013

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