Does a Wedding Photographer Need a Four Year College Degree?
This past weekend, I returned to my old stomping grounds- Madison, Wisconsin. Too long ago, I graduated with a four year degree in fine arts from the University of Madison, Wisconsin in painting and photography. With my current career as a wedding photographer, I often hear people talk about how a college education is a waste of money and that it is no longer needed in my industry. There are some things I agree about with this statement, I don’t think college is ever required, but overall, I by no means think getting a four year degree is a waste of money and am extremely happy with my college education and experience. Spending four years in college shaped me as a person and for those that are skeptical, please let me elaborate.
I made a lot of art. Like loads. Paintings, drawings, mixed media pieces. I even learned how to use a bandsaw and blow glass. My favorite pieces now adorn the walls and shelves of my home, and every time I see them, I’m reminded of how incredible spending hours and hours of making art was for my creativity and life. It makes me proud.
Focusing on photography also allowed me to develop my own film and make dark room prints. Younger photographers unfortunately won’t have this same opportunity, and I think it’s important for those of us who want to be considered artists to learn as much about your media as possible and make as many forms of it as possible. I don’t use film in my wedding photography, but enjoy it still for personal projects. Without college, I wouldn’t have learned how to use the darkroom and also learn digital.
Besides the whole living as an artist for years, being away from my family taught me a lot about myself and how to be independent. Yes, they helped me foot the bill of my education, but I also paid back my loans and for my art supplies by working as a bartender while in school. The combination of living away from home and being forced to create my own schedule and finances was something that can’t be taught in school. I learned a lot about myself through living with others, balancing work and school, and just being out of the nest. My parents were always there to help and happy to do so, but I am so grateful for getting out of my home town and learning to make friends in a place where I had no one.
This brings me to my last point, the friendships I made during college are some that I will treasure forever. Nostalgia right now is high in my mind, but meeting up with my old friends and roommates was a treat, and knowing it has been ten years and we all still love each other is beautiful.
I’m proud of myself for getting a four year degree, I’m proud of being a Badger, and I don’t think you can ever waste your money on a good education and life experience. If you are on the fence, please reach out, would love to hear your thoughts.