Case Study: Press Photographer - Will

What do you do?

I work as a press photographer at the Leicester Mercury, where I photograph a bit of everything. My work can be viewed at www.willjohnstonphotography.com.

What is your background?

After graduating in English Literature, I worked in a bank - the worst three months of my life! but I continued pursuing the dream of becoming a photographer by attending night school classes and doing various bits of work experience.

What characteristics do you need to be successful in your job?

You need to have an eye for it. Qualifications are all well and good, but if you don't know what makes a good photo, you won't succeed in this industry.

A huge part of my job is dealing with people so it's important that you're able to get along with people from all walks of life.

What other jobs could you do using the skills from this job?

You could go into another area of photography.

What changes will there be in the future?

Who knows? Local newspapers are, worringly, struggling but people will always need photographers.

What are the biggest challenges in your job?

The biggest challenge is coming up with a worthwhile picture from an uniteresting press release.

Are there many opportunities to enter this career?

Getting into press photography is difficult, but for photography as a whole, there are more opportunities.

What do you like about your job?

Everything! I absolutely love it.

What do you dislike about your job?

Court snatches are not my favourite part of the job. The people you're trying to photograph, often, don't want to be photographed so that can create an interesting atmosphere, to say the least.

What are your ambitions?

To continue living the dream of being a photographer. One day, I'd like to have an exhibition of my work. Also, I'd love to work the Champion's League Final!

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

If it's what you want to do, do everything you can to make it happen - phone calls, emails, letters...

Work experience is always useful, even if it's just making the tea for a photographer. Something might come from that.

Don't get disheartened if some people don't like what you're doing. It's subjective, so stay committed and be prepared to work hard to reach your goal.

A day in the life

This one's tricky for me as every day is different. I could be working 9 to 5, 10 till 6 or even 2 till 10 at night, if I'm working on an away football match.

In a working day, I'd do things like check email, check the diary on my phone and look at pictures I took the previous day.

For this job though, you just need to be on stand-by, ready to be sent out to cover a story at very short notice.

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