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Being a professional photographer is unique because there are very few formal barriers to employment, yet only a small fraction of people who set out to become photographers actually get paid for their work and make a living. Pickens Technical College’s Photography program is designed to help as many people “make it” in the industry as possible, offering a Photographer’s Assistant Certification to help get you started. The Photographer’s Assistant Certification is available after the completion of your first semester.

Part of the reason why many struggles to be a photographer is that people try to become a professional without much formal training or experience. They think that photography is simply pushing a few buttons and editing images. The truth is, if everyone could do it, they would. It’s difficult to be a professional photographer for a reason.

Erik Schubert makes it easier for you to earn a job as a photographer by awarding the certificate and by encouraging you to explore as many types of photography as possible. Being well-versed in many kinds of equipment and in capturing certain types of shots will be indispensable for potential future employers.

Why the Certification Can Make a Difference

It’s one thing to attend classes and learn how to use a camera. It’s another thing to be certified. When you’re certified, you’ll have access to the resources of the professional photographer’s community. For example, the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) provides a service connecting clients with certified professionals.

Another reason to get a certification from Pickens is that it will make you more attractive when you’re looking for a photographer’s assistant position. Many professionals need people to help them find work and to set up equipment, etc. in the field. By latching on to an established professional, you can specialize in a field of photography, like concert photography or weddings. Specializing is a great way to find employment and do the work that will one day end up in your portfolio and help you stand out when you’re looking for your own clients.

Get the Skills

First, before any certification and employment questions, you have to learn the skills of being a successful photographer. That starts with Schubert’s class at Pickens. A certification and recommendations by instructors prove that you at least have the baseline skills to be useful to a professional photographer and show that you have what it takes to ‘make it’ in this tough industry.

A large part of being a professional is learning how to deal with clients and delivering exactly what they need. Learning how to do just that starts with learning artistic skills and how to operate digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras. You’ll get that grounding at Pickens, where you’ll be expected to take shots and edit them in class. The next step is applying those skills in the professional world, which will be much easier to do with certification and a killer portfolio.