People hire someone based off of the experience in their craft and how long they have worked at it. Right? Now, when you hear the label "student", you think, "someone who is in school working toward their desired career." Correct, I totally agree. But just like any other label, it holds people back, it can hide what is truly underneath it. At 22 years-old, I am still a student. I have been for 18 years and in December I will be done, I will earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Commercial Photography; and what I am most excited for is to rid the label "student".
Throughout the last seven years of school, I have also been working hard to build my photography portfolio and business. I have been lucky and found something I am truly passionate about early in life. Because I immersed myself entirely into the world of photography, I have been able to work for a few publications, have opportunities to meet and work with many amazing people, and have won several awards for my photography. Even after this, I still struggle with people, specifically older people, using my age and the fact that I am a student as an excuse for lack of knowledge, talent, and experience, and a way to undervalue my work and pay me next to nothing for the work I do for them. Most of the work I have done to date I have been underpaid, and the funny thing is, I have been a photographer longer than some professionals. For years, this has affected me but it no longer does. Finally, I know my worth and I value my work and time.
Recently, I photographed my first editorial and when I saw how much I was getting paid, I cried instantly. Pathetic, I know...! Even though it was a small editorial pay, it had been my biggest paycheck yet. This photo editor didn't know my age or the fact that I am still in school, she solely paid me based off of my work and the 'about me' section on my website. I was given a small taste of what it feels like to have people trust me and what I do based on my portfolio and what they see online. Now, obviously, as I continue doing work such as this, I will become more credible and more and more people will start to trust me. Fingers crossed!
I am so f*cking proud of what I have done at such a young age. And there are so many other young photographers that should feel the same. Of course, we are still learning and there is so much for all of us to learn but that shouldn't be an excuse to degrade someone and their work; even the most high-end photographers have new things to learn.Let's stop this stigma that just because someone is a student or of a young age that he or she fails to do as good of a job as someone who is older.