Peter Naylor of Schoolhouse Digital is a film-maker and photographer. Hayley Johnston meets him.

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Jobs24 factfile: photographer

Training

Most professionals take a degree level course, although experience and contacts are important to building a successful career. Finding work as an assistant is a good way of getting experience, building a portfolio and learning on the job.

Timescale

A BA (Hons) degree programme will take three years to complete.

Local training

• City College Norwich 01603 773773/ www.ccn.ac.uk

Level 3 extended Diploma in Photography and as an A-level as part of their full-time Sixth Form Centre offer.

• College of West Anglia 01553 761144/ www.cwa.ac.uk

Offer short courses in Photoshop and digital photography. Full-time courses include level 2 Extended Diplomas in Commercial or Practical Photography.

• Great Yarmouth College 01493 655261/ www.gyc.ac.uk

Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art, Design and Photography and a part-time A-level offered on an evening basis.

• Norwich University College of the Arts (NUCA) http://www.nuca.ac.uk/

A three-year year BA (Hons) in Photography and a two-year Foundation Degree.

• Norwich Arts Centre 01603 660352/ norwichartscentre.co.uk/education

A range of digital photography and SLR short courses.

• Norfolk Adult Education 0344 800 8002

A range of short digital photography courses.

For further information check:

• Association of Photographers (AOP) http://home.the-aop.org/

• British Institute of Professional Photogrpahy (BIPP) www.bipp.com

• Nextstep Job Profiles https://nextstep.direct.gov.uk

Salary range

Most photographers work on a freelance basis and are paid a fee for each job or an hourly/ daily rate.

What type of job is it and what does the work involve?

It’s a very varied job, I do all sorts. One day I could be a photographer on a product shoot, the next day filming a promo film for a company brand launch. The normal week structure tends to go out the window when you run a company like this. Our company is not even a year old and yet since launch we have been fully booked up and still are. We finish a project and then move straight onto the next, it’s very full on.

Why is it a good profession to get into?

For starters, it’s always a challenge and that makes it exciting. I get to meet interesting people and I find myself in places you wouldn’t expect. My desire to become a photographer stemmed from a passion and it then became all I wanted to do.

What are the positives and negatives of this job?

The job excites me; I love to go from month to month with different projects that ask different things from me. A huge positive is the fact that people hire me because they love my work, that’s a great feeling. A negative is that all responsibility falls to you and you alone. The paperwork is my least favourite part, but luckily my business partner prefers that side of things. The best thing would be dealing with a good brief and letting the creative juices flow.

Is there much demand for trained people in this area?

Hugely! But that makes it very competitive. There is work out there but only if you make yourself known, and generally it’s hard to break into without a good portfolio. Just think, every image you see is created by someone, whether it’s on TV or in a magazine and these days websites, people are needed. As for our company, this first year of trading has been great and we definitely want to grow our team in the future.

What would employers look for in someone for this job?

Personally, I have a 1st with honours in lens media as well as A-Levels in photography and an art foundation. How relevant the last two were I don’t know but my degree was priceless in my development. As I said before, it’s a competitive area of work so any way you can stand out does not go unmissed. I’ve been very lucky but determination and experience played a big part in it. I would suggest it is useful to be creative and good at problem solving. Being full of energy is quite essential - shoot days can be long and with little breaks and the last thing I want on a team is someone who drags their feet, hardworking is a must. It is also very helpful to me if someone has a good understanding of equipment used and the practical skills to back it up. And finally, being passionate about the process and generally a fun person is always nice to have.

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