Life through your own lens
Requirements: You need to be outgoing and talkative, so you can communicate with models and clients. It's important to be observant and open-minded so you can find the best locations for your shoot. You also need to be creative, love photography, and have a definite personal style.
Qualifications: There are no specific academic qualifications required for photography. It helps to take a professional training course, but it is possible to learn technical skills on your own. Developing artistic individuality can take years.
Average pay: It depends on the photographer's reputation and the job nature. Some are highly paid, especially corporate and celebrity photographers. There is an ever-increasing demand for pre-wedding photography, which can pay from a few thousand dollars to more than HK$20,000 for a one-day shoot. Work prospects: You can work for media and other corporations as an in-house photographer, or freelance for many different clients. Some photographers start as an assistant to gain experience before branching out on their own, but this isn't the only path to success.
Keli Lau Kat-lin studied design and worked as a jeans designer for three years. He then took a year off to compose music. He taught himself photography and started his company, Whot Production, two years ago.
Since turning professional, Lau has been focusing mainly on pre-wedding photography and commercial fashion photography. He says being a photographer for pre-wedding photos requires a high degree of patience, while fashion photography demands creativity.
The photography field is a creative industry - the more you see and experience of life, the more you and your career will benefit.
Long-term prospects: It's not difficult to start a business, but it is important to find your own style and stand out from the crowd. Gaining recognition is the ultimate goal for photographers. Use any opportunity to take photos: you need to put together a great portfolio. Plan an exhibition to gain more exposure.
Where to apply: Post your work on social networks and blogs to gain exposure, and start as a freelance photographer; or send application letters and a copy of your portfolio to the media or firms that employ in-house photographers.
A day at work
Lau works full-time, but he does not have a fixed schedule. He loves photography and heads out to shoot at random locations, just for practice and to add to his portfolio. He takes care of the creative side of his business, while his wife manages his schedule and arranges his jobs.
When Lau accepts a job for pre-wedding photography, he meets the clients once or twice before the shoot date to get to know their likes, their style and what they are looking for in their pictures.
Taking pre-wedding photos usually requires working a 12-hour day. Time spent on commercial shoots will depend on the client's wishes and the amount of time needed to finish the photos.