8th Grade Career Day – Ins and Outs of Photography

Mar 10, 2022Learn New Things, Photo tips, Photography

by Candace Miller Photography, Montrose CO

Most of the time, when I meet people and they ask what I do for a living, people think that photography is a REALLY fun hobby! But, when I talk about how I’ve been a photographer for just shy of 20 years, they have LOTS of questions! I’m going to be speaking at the 8th grade career day next week and these are some of the things that I’ll be talking to them about.

Why Photography!?

Photography is something that can boost everyone’s self esteem, if done correctly. It’s an art and you have to be creative. There is a challenge to it and before a session, I still get that rush of adrenaline from the challenge, even now. It may not be the jumping out of an airplane kind of adrenaline…but that’s not what I’m going for!! It’s the thrill of knowing that these photos are going to look amazing and capture something in this person or these people that they didn’t know they had.

You meet different people with new and different stories every time (depending on the genre and specialties you shoot). One day I’m talking to a teen that is about to head to college and start a new adventure and the next day I’m talking to an expecting momma with her first baby…and that is also a new and exciting adventure! Then I may be shooting a preschool and seeing these kids light up when they tell me about their favorite princesses and super heroes! Capturing all those stories and the excitement, it’s an honor just to be a tiny part of it.

Yet my biggest why, is that it’s an archive into our lives. It’s the story of our lives that we’ll leave behind for our future generations. Some people write books, some people journal their thoughts or write letters, this is the way I tell stories. And for some people that have memory issues (not just because we are getting old, ha!) but issues that come from trauma they have dealt with in their past, photography is a powerful tool.

candacemillerphotography-ridgway-olathe-senior-portraits-4158What are the key elements of photography!?

– Lighting : to make someone look good, you need good light
– Angles : you also need the good angles
Withouts these 2 key elements, your photos will not be what you want them to be. But once you learn these rules and all the rules of photography, you can break them like a pro and make photography into your own art.

Background and Education?

For me personally, I have a high school diploma and 3 years of college. The college that I went to didn’t offer a photography degree and honestly, no one is going to ask for your degree. They are going to ask for your portfolio. Photography is a very hands on type of job and after taking several classes and workshops, you just have to practice. You can sit in a classroom all day but until you put it into practice and show your work, you aren’t getting anywhere.

So can you go to a photography school and get a degree in photography? Absolutely! Is anyone going to ask about your degree? No. They want to see your work and see what you can do for them.

Am I still constantly trying to better myself and always learning!? ALL. THE. TIME. The only person you should compare yourself to, is the person you used to be. And we can always be better and do better. There is always room for improvement. So yes! I’m always taking new courses and workshops to learn something new or do something better.

Something that would benefit anyone that is going into the photography world, whether you plan to have your own business or not, is business classes!! Take them! Make sure you know how to run the business side of your business before you jump into something that you think is simple…when really it’s not.

A typical day for me?

– shooting
– editing photos
– answering emails
– creating social media content
– editing photos
– blogging
– reveal sessions/scheduling sessions
– phone calls
– editing photos
– planning for next sessions
– social media
– more content creating
– setting up client management communications programs
– pricing
– editing photos
I think you get the picture…haha! Pun intended!! Editing photos always!!!

What’s the job market like?

I think you know the answer to this question. There is literally a photographer on every corner, in every city and town. The job market does not look good. And it’s harder than ever because with the cameras in the phones, everyone thinks they can do what we (photographers) do. Everyone is a photographer so there is no job market…it’s saturated already.

BUT…but, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have something special. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have what it takes. If you have you “why” and you have your “niche” your “thing”, you can make it work. It will be hard, and you might want to quit. But who said things in life worth doing were going to be easy!? Don’t give up on your dreams. Even if someone like me is telling you it’s going to be hard…it only makes the victory that much sweeter.

your friendly neighborhood teen photographer,


  1. jeanine

    Thanks for sharing all this information on what it is like to be a photographer. Great career information. That is quite a day in the life – so much to do for photographer so it’s great that you shed some ‘light’ on it.

    • cmphotographyowner

      I see what you did there…’light’…haha! Anyway, I don’t know if they realized what all goes into having your own business. So it was good for them to see that you have to wear ALL THE HATS. MANY of their eyes kind of bugged out at a lot of the things that I told them, so I knew that they were learning something, hahah!

  2. Brandi

    How fun to speak at an 8th grade career day and share your wealth of knowledge after being in this industry for almost 20 years. You touched on so many great points!

    • cmphotographyowner

      It was a fun day and I think over all they understand now that there is more to it than just clicking a button. This photography gig has changed a lot in 20 years and it will change even more by the time they get to do it for a job. So know what it looks like now is useful.

  3. Susan

    Great info on the ins and outs of a career in photography and I loved the part where people say, “What a great hobby!” In reality, the photography business is a business like other businesses. Knowing how to click the shutter is just a tiny part of it!

    • cmphotographyowner

      Absolutely, Susan! If I were to do anything over again, I would probably go back to college and at least minor in business. Having a business background would be very helpful and I made sure that they knew that as well. It’s still a business, even if it is in the arts department.

  4. Michelle Robertson

    Candace, this is so cool!! I love that you got to participate in career day and you’re right, photography has changed so much over the years! Business knowledge is so important! I know many amazing photographers who aren’t successful because they don’t know how to run a business, and even some not-so-great photographers who do really well mostly because of the know how to run a profitable business! Excellent blog post!


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