Gaining work experience while you study

02 May 2024

Fashion photography student taking photo in studio
Fashion Photography student taking photo in studio
Type: Text
Category: Studying

This article was written by Commercial Photography BA(Hons) student Holly.

Work experience is a daunting but rewarding experience. Having work experience while at university lets you test and develop the skills you are learning and it allows you to gain some insight into into the world you plan to join once you graduate.

At Falmouth, opportunities to work with industry professionals do not fall short. You might expect a not-so-active experience, being in a small town in Cornwall, however Falmouth University offers a range of opportunities to work with different photographers on-campus (I study Commercial Photography) and it offers support to build connections outside of the course too. Studying at Falmouth has given me opportunities to assist photographers and work on commissioned shoots in the industry, which has given me great insight on what to expect when I graduate from Falmouth.

Falmouth offers great opportunities as part of your studies. With the lecturers being professionals from industry, they offer good advice based on their first-hand experiences and, with their connections in the industry, we've had the chance to meet many photographers that have travelled to Cornwall. The sessions with these guest photographers are always fun and eye-opening experiences - we not only get a talk with them about their work, processes & experiences, but this normally leads to a collaborative shoot with a fun brief given in groups and a chance to get physical advice and development of shooting skills, with industry professionals on hand to help! Having full days to work with these photographers has allowed me to develop my skills specifically in the studio, through receiving a lot of help from these photographers in setting up lighting and designing sets etc. This industry collaboration is one of the best features of my course, as it also allows you to build contacts and understand the industry more in-depth. It also gives you the chance to work with these familiar faces outside the classroom at a later stage.

Work experience modules are another thing that Falmouth has provided, to push us to work in the real world. This is a great module to challenge yourself and it gives you an opportunity to work with real life clients and/or photographers outside of your studies on-campus. This module pushed me to step out of my comfort zone, as I had dreamt of the chance to work on a commissioned shoot - needing to do this for my course gave me that nudge to reach out to photographers and make this dream a reality. The openings that followed this were amazing and I have built strong contacts, who I plan on working with in the future. This module has been a great incentive for me to start looking for work now, rather than waiting until the end of university.

Having even a small job within the industry builds so much confidence and provides insight into the photography industry - it is a gate way to work more and more outside of the module, to build these connection networks and prepare for after graduation.

Being so far down in the South West of England, it is easy to presume that the chances of work in your chosen industry are limited, however I believe Falmouth has proven otherwise, as it provides amazing support for students and it understands and emphasises the importance of getting you involved in your chosen industry before you graduate.

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