I graduated with a B.F.A. concentrating in Commercial photography with some extra credits taken in Digital Cinema and Graphic design. I was in college for 5 years and took around 220 credits. During my last couple semesters of school, I began reaching out to various commercial photo studios around different cities I would be willing to live. I was hoping to make a connection that would allow me to begin working in the field shortly after graduation. Fortunately, the first area I decided to begin my search, I was successful and met a few individuals based in Minneapolis Minnesota (Where I currently reside).
The scary part of this situation was, studios only wanted to hire people on a contract/freelance basis. I was worried about picking up everything and moving out of state on a chance that I may not have enough work to keep me afloat whilst I was there.
I moved to the Twin Cities and began working freelance wherever there was work. I worked my ass off at various studios sometimes several weeks in a row without a day off. I did some shooting but was mostly assisting and working as a lighting specialist. I wanted to show everyone that I was a hard worker and that I deserved a full-time staff position (if one became available). My ultimate goal was to find a steady job in the commercial photography world that provided steady work and a nice benefits package.
The other harsh reality of my job experience is the area that I live. Things get a little slow when there is three feet of snow on the ground. Studio work is great but a lot of what I did at the time was on location and outside. Winter can definitely be a slow season depending on the client’s needs. (Clients usually have Christmas spring and summer photo requirements most of which are photographed during the summer time)
I have recently been picked up full time by a commercial studio that shoots all over the world and has a huge list of clients. We have done location shoots for Cabelas, fashion shoots for Allure magazine out of New York, and many other fun and exciting clients/projects. I have to say, all the time I spent broke and looking for work definitely paid off in the end. Persistence is key. Keep moving forward or you get left behind. I welcome students to follow my story and use it as an avenue to reach out if they need anything or have questions about photography or post-graduation stuff, whatever it may be.
See more of Bruce’s work at the following web site:
– or follow him on Instagram at Bschlehuber
Learn about NMU’s Photography Program at the following web site: