Advice For New Photography Graduates From Chase Jarvis

As the end of the school year comes to a close we see many new and eager graduates entering the creative field. As a graduate what better way to kick start your new adventure than with some wise words aimed directly at you from Chase Jarvis himself? 

Chase Jarvis has been in the industry for quite some time, so when he offers some advice, it really is worth listening to. The man has been around the block, so to speak. In this video he breaks down some of the misconceptions new graduates have when entering the workforce:

1. Be Great At Your Craft

Seems kind of obvious right? Chase makes a good point though, the learning does not stop after school. Many graduates think they are taught all they need to know in school and that once they hit the working world its just a matter of applying those skills. Truth is, there is a life long journey of learning ahead of them.

2. Learn The Biz

They can teach you all the practical knowledge at school but often times a formal education is a bit soft on business. Most schools don't teach you the day to day operational requirements of actually running a photography business. Furthermore many new photographers have this naive attitude towards selling that pits it in a negative light. This can really hinder their performance. Learning to sell effectively in the industry is a must have skill.

3. Take Risks

There is no BETTER time in your life to take risks. You are young with fairly minimal responsibilities. Most new graduates are not tied down to a family, a home, or large financial burdens. This is the time to explore the world, live out your dreams, and test those "what ifs".

All this is very sound advice and not just for graduates. If you are entering this industry, welcome, and I hope you count Fstoppers among the resources that helps get you started!

[via Chase Jarvis]

Peter House's picture

Peter House is a commercial fashion photographer from Toronto, Canada. He shoots over 10,000 pieces of clothing every year for a variety of lookbooks. Clients range from small local boutiques to international brands such as Target, Winners, and Sears. In addition to that Peter runs one of the most popular rental studio's in the Toronto area.

Log in or register to post comments

Ha, I'm so very guilty of the "selling is a bad word" feeling. I've never been able to shake the feeling that if I "need" to sell my work than it isn't good enough. All my instincts go towards the line of thinking that the work should speak for itself and sell itself. If it isn't then that means selling is convincing someone that your work is better than it is. (I acknowledge that it is an irrational line of thought but I still ever so deeply struggle to shake it)

It's a little ironic that to many photographers the epitome of the business is high end advertising work yet they don't think they need to advertise/promote themselves...

By no means feel bad or deficient in your difficulty to sell yourself! This painfully affects many creatives because it's difficult to sell something that you in your mind's eye don't believe is "perfect". If I may project a bit, it simply means you're a true artist: always questioning your skills and a desire for perfection that you never attribute to your own work.

Selling is what agents and reps were for in the day; beyond the navigation of the business jungle legalese and assisting in getting paid a fair market price for your work. Thus allowing you the artist to stay focused and immersed in always working towards that unattainable goal: perfection.

As a fairly recent photography graduate, I can definitely say he's correct in saying that art programs don't touch on business, at all. It's so important and it's completely ignored. As an art student I think entrepreneurship should have been a huge part of the curriculum.