how do i become a military photographer

Discussion in 'Education' started by mandy_p, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. hi, my name is mandy p. i am 16 years old and i want to become a photographer
    for the military. i have no idea how to. i never hear any thing about it and i
    can never find any information on the internet. i want to know what kind of
    education you need and how many years? what branches are better? are there
    different types of ways to do it? how much does it pay? do you have to go
    through boot camp and training? will i be garenteed a spot as a photographer or
    will i have to work my way up through the ranks before i even get to touch a
    camera? i really need help.
     
  2. i am no expert mandy, but i would have to say there is no set course on becoming a military photographer ...

    your best bet for finding out detailed information is to contact the military directly - the army, navy, or whatever the branch is - an ask them how they do it

    the ads and flyers i have seen for the military are very well done, so i imagine they either have a very, very skilled bunch of media-producers on their staff - or they work with a company and have already awarded that company the contract ...

    as a secondary suggestion, you can find a way to quench your thirst and get some experience by going to a "war re-enactment" in your area ... you can contact them or probably just show up and take pictures to get a feeling for how it is and get some pictures for your own use as well
     
  3. Hi Mandy,

    For the best answer, you would need to talk to a recruiter, or a guidance counselor at your school. I know that there was an Army job as a photographer/photojournalist, and I am pretty sure that the other branches have them also. Like all Army positions, yes you do have to go through BootCamp, then the Advanced Individual Training would consist of teaching you about photography.

    Hope this helps,

    Emmett
     
  4. You have to join the Military. I know the Navy has one of the best photography training courses around. You would be surprised at how many photographers earned their skills through the Miltary. Some Soldiers use their skills while they are in the Miltary, while others use them after their tour of duty is over.
     
  5. Take a look at this thread.

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00KhKt

    I think it will answer many of your questions.

    Good luck!
     
  6. thank you for the responses. what is the civilian potographer? do i still get asigned to one group? or am i just a walk on photographer?
     
  7. dlw

    dlw

    Mandy, be sure to read the thread referenced by Jonathan. It has a lot of good information. One thing I might add is if you're really want to become a military photographer, get it in writing. I was in the Air Force for 20 years. I knew a few recruiters and know some of the things they told prospective recruits was pure BS in order to get them to sign on the dotted line. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Air Force, but recruiters have a lot of pressure to meet their goals. If you want to be a military photographer, or anything else, don't let the recrutiers talk you into joining in an open career field. Sign up with a guarenteed career field (MOS,AFSC). If you go in without a guarenteed job, you will be put into whatever career field they want to put you into. The Air Force Specialty Code for still photographers is 3VOx2. Good Luck!
     
  8. Mandy,

    At your age why not try some of the following...

    Join your State National Guard or the Reserves first. It's unlikely that you could train as a photographer in either of those organizations, but there is lots of leaway where you could shoot photos during training in a military setting, practice your skills, and build your portfolio. All while staying in school.

    As well, with the reserves, you also have the opportunity of going overseas, which would increase your range of subject matter. In the National Guard you can photograph the troops in action during assistance to the civil power (think Katrina aftermath).

    Find out before making a full commitment to the regular forces if actually being in the military is something you like or are interested in, as opposed to capturing their realities as a photographer.

    Who knows, maybe in time you can become an accredited photographer who could be embedded with combat units during deployments.

    Good luck in whatever your choice is.

    Ian
     
  9. I enlisted in the US Army in November of 1961. I qualified for, and was guaranteed training at the Signal Corps Photo School in Ft. Monmouth, NJ. I did receive the training and graduated 2nd in the class.

    After training, I was sent to a unit that wa actually only a holding unit for overseas replacements. I was then sent to a unit in Germany that was authorized photo people but they already had four more than they needed so I was a personnel clerk for a while. Finally, I was sent to an active unit that had a portable darkroom mounted on the back of a 2 1/2 ton truck.

    I should mention hre that we spent a few days in photo school learning the mechanics of this darkoom on wheels, then were told that this phase of our training was only a formality, as this lab was already obsolete and inadequate for any kind of volume production, such as aerial surveillance.

    Guess what we processed a lot of in this mobile lab.

    The military, any branch, is the military. Getting the training is no guarantee that you will get to use it.

    Bear in mind also, that the pics you see in the papers and on the news, like in past wars, is mostly done by civilian journalists, not military photographers.

    The job of a military photographer is primarily documentation of the day to day activities of the unit. It is a record of the present condition of the equipment, facilities and personnel of the branch you are in.

    A good friend of mine was a Navy photographer. He was stationed on an aircraft carrier shooting every takeoff and landing of every aircraft on board. Day after day after month after month.

    I only mentioned graduating 2nd to illustrate that one's expertise is not necessarily influential regarding one's eventual duty assignment.

    On the other hand, the schooling in all branches is excellent and the opportunities that are available nowadays for post service education are excellent.

    In the meantime, get yourself a decent camera, enroll in a course or two and shoot, shoot, shoot!
     
  10. I believe the U.S. military's joint photo school is currently located at Fort Meade here in Maryland about 20 minutes from my house. From what I've heard the program is excellent. They train not only stilll photographers but videographers as well, and for all branches of the service. Some of the newspaper photographers I have worked with started off as military photographers and were quite good. I would follow the advice of those who have actuallly served (I have not) as to how to be sure you actually get assigned to the duty you've signed up for and been trained for.
     
  11. Just saw this thread, I was trained as a Still Photo Specialist, MOS 84B. I enlisted at the end of 1978, went through Basic training, and then 7 months of photo school. I spent 4 years in Munich Germany and loved it. If you are already taking photos, you are well on the way. Back then there were people with no experience at all being trained from scratch. Today's miliitary photographer duties might be combined with the journalist field. Get it all in writing, choice of training and duty station
     
  12. Just saw this thread, I was trained as a Still Photo Specialist, MOS 84B. I enlisted at the end of 1978, went through Basic training, and then 7 months of photo school. I spent 4 years in Munich Germany and loved it. If you are already taking photos, you are well on the way. Back then there were people with no experience at all being trained from scratch. Today's miliitary photographer duties might be combined with the journalist field. Get it all in writing, choice of training and duty station
    00bD4g-512461584.jpg
     
  13. At East German Border witn Nikon 2000mm F11 lens
    00bD51-512463584.jpg
     

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