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Hi Kelly,

I’ve been a huge fan of your work since I was in high school. I’m currently in my final year of completing a photography degree but feel that lately I have been enjoying (and getting more work opportunities in) illustration. You seem to have been able to combine both aspect very beautifully and made a real career out it. Most people in my class are certain they’re going to be commercially based or more exhibition based photographers, and I feel that I don’t fit in with either. Because of this I’m unsure how to proceed career wise after I graduate. Do you have any advice on the kind of people to approach and market myself towards? What did you do when you first started up your own brand/business? - Nana

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Thanks for your question Nana! I think it is quite safe for me to say that nearly all the people in your class will probably change their minds about their direction once they graduate, and it is not important for you to lock in one thing for the rest of your life. I am still constantly changing my mind, making new plans, changing plans, achieving some goals and shelving others. It is 100% ok for you to not know where you want to go with your career just yet, things always change.

If you are not sure what you want to do it is tricky to decide on who you need to approach and market yourself towards. The people you approach will ultimately need to relate to your career goals or personal interests somehow, so first you need to think about those interests. An idea could be to write down a list of all the things you love, and then from there write another list of jobs that relate to those things. Something from these lists might stand out and you will have a starting point. It is important to remember that sometimes you may be interested in one thing, but there are many ways to get there - for example you may want to be a stylist and may not have experience, but you could work at a magazine doing something different just to get in to the right environment with styling goals in mind.

When I graduated I was set on being a fashion photographer - I was working retail to start and I did shoots with my friends, harassed magazines like crazy and made a list of all the magazines I wanted to do shoots for. I think it is important to have a dream client list and keep them in mind. I did many crappy shoots and then aligned with a modelling agency doing test shoots, at this point I got a little bit of a leg up and the association with them helped me build my folio and get some real work. Once I started getting that work I realised maybe I wasn't the best photographer and maybe it wasn't something I actually enjoyed doing full time. It was during this time that I started to draw again and was encouraged to have my first exhibition by a friend, it was only after that exhibition that I considered illustration as a real career option - this was three years after I graduated university.

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Photographer - Jo Duck