Name: Orlando Marques
Years Of Experience: 15
Occupation: Chair, Program Co-ordinator, Professional Photography prog- ram at the International Academy Of Design And Technology
Q: How did you get started in your industry?
A: I loved to paint and draw, and really enjoyed art classes in high school. Around the same time I started to become aware of photographic images and how they were used to sell products, especially in fashion magazines. I then decided to enroll and complete a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Stills Photography at Ryerson University. After graduation, I created photos for editorial, commercial and corporate clients in the fashion, advertising, public relations, and travel industries. My fine art photography was also collected, and sold by gallery representation and exhibitions. I also started to do small workshops on photography, and really enjoyed teaching and passing on knowledge, which led me to my present position.
Q: Describe the ideal qualities a person should have to succeed in your industry?
A: A great passion for the art of photography, someone who thinks visually, but most importantly someone who has original and creative ideas, and can easily adapt to change.
Q: What kind of background, either educational or other, best suits someone starting out in your industry?
A: Someone who has a strong work ethic, and a desire for further knowledge of both the artistic and technical requirements of photography. Schooling is always a great way to start the process of learning the medium of photography. Digital technology has made photography very accessible — but it takes a great deal of learning and understanding to truly see light and hence, capture time.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: When I started freelancing, I loved the creation of images, and that no two days were ever alike. I also loved that my camera introduced me to many different people and took me to many places around the globe. Now as the chair of the professional photography program, teaching and interacting with the students and their work is truly satisfying. It’s exciting seeing their vision evolve in style and technique but seeing them succeed is the best reward of all.
Q: What are the most challenging aspects of your industry?
A: Keeping up to date on all the technological changes, both in hardware and software, and developing a distinct personal photographic style.
Q: For newcomers to the industry, what tips would you offer them on getting started in their career?
A: Make pictures, don’t take them. A professional creates and makes a true photograph, and a novice knows no more then how to grab it, sometimes getting it but most of the time losing it.
Although school is not for everyone I believe if you truly want to be a professional photographer then study is imperative for most people. There is a great deal more to photography, analogue or digital, than just pressing the shutter. What makes a professional are qualities such as having a creative and innovative vision, but also running a business and building a solid client base. Knowing how to do both may take the investment of study, or at the very least mentoring and or apprenticing, with other professional photographers.