Clicking pictures which millions of people see, appreciate and share, travelling around the world with a camera in hand, enjoying scenic views and working with the most influential and popular people, who wouldn’t enjoy a career like this. Photography is one of those fields that often starts as a hobby, and eventually turns into a full-fledged career. So if you are someone looking to take photography as a serious career, then this ‘Comprehensive Guide on Career in Photography’ is just for you.
Why Career in Photography?
Well, before rushing any forward, the first thing to ask is why photography when there are millions of other opportunities. As it turns out to be, this question should be answered as much as by me as by you. What do you expect from a career in photography? Do you really love to capture moments, peoples, places or other things or is it just another short term fascination? Think properly and get to a conclusion.
However, it’s my duty to tell you why should you consider taking up photography by enlisting some of the benefits that this job has to offer.
1. Travel Opportunities
Photography is one of those jobs that involves a lot of travelling, be it domestic or international. So if you are someone who enjoys travelling then this is a plus point for you. However, the extent and location of your travelling depends heavily on which type of photographer you are. We will talk about the different types of photographers later in this post.
2. Handsome Compensation
Photographers are mostly paid handsomely because of the intricacies and technicality involved in the process.
3. Chance to Meet Public Figures
It is not hard to conclude that photographers are in direct contact with some of the most powerful political figures, and influential celebrities. This enlarges their network of people and gives them a good social status.
4. Opportunities for Growth
Photographers have a good deal of career growth opportunity. In case, you are bored with what you are doing you can switch to any other type of photography and explore it.
How to Become a Photographer?
Photography starts as a passion, becomes a hobby and eventually learn and grow along the way. With the booming media industry, it is not the degree but the hours spent behind the camera which makes a great photographer. From getting the technique right to learning the angles, vision and the light, photography is what an image a person sees before capturing the vision.
During colleges, candidates will be provided with assignments which can help the aspirant understand the working of a camera better. From outdoor shooting to indoor, the working of the aperture in a camera, to portrait shots and the list is endless. The assignments can add great value to the candidates’ portfolio which can help aspirants in search of a job in the field.
Here are the following ways how you can pursue photography as a career:
Learn the Basics
Like any other career, the first you need to do to make a career in photography is to learn the basics of the art. There are various nuances which you should know. The photography industry moves fast, with new camera technology evolving, improvements in editing software being made and a lot of other things being changed.
It might be the case that you are already an amateur photographer and know some of the basics. But it is always good to learn from experts. So you can enroll yourself in a photography school. You can get a degree in photography (Bachelor’s or Master’s), or pursue diploma courses, the duration of which may vary between 3 months and 1 year.
You can check out the list of the best institutes for photography mentioned below in the article.
Don’t ignore the Technical Aspect
Photography is an art and like any other thing, involves a lot of technical aspects as well and you just can’t ignore them.
For example, learning merely to handle the camera is not enough, you should also learn about the technical aspects like:
- Rule of Thirds: The frame is divided into nine equal rectangles, three horizontal and three vertical across the frame. The general idea of the rule of third is to understand the framing of a photograph that is being clicked. The grid can help the aspirant to get all the important features in a frame and nail the composition.
- Shutter speed: The shutter speed is the unit of measurement which determines how long the shutter of the camera remains open while the picture is being clicked. Shutter speed goes hand in hand with the aperture. The shutter speed is all based on motion.
- Aperture: The aperture is the unit of measurement that defines the opening of a lens to control the amount of light entering the digital sensor of a camera. The aperture is measured in F-stop.
Not only this, you also need to learn the various editing software needed to make a photo more appealing. So get a hang of Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and other industry grade software and equipment.
Remember Internships are Important
After understanding the basics and the working of a camera, candidates are advised to take up internships. This can allow the aspirants to explore the outside world and gain knowledge from professionals in the field. The internship can not only help the aspirant grow, but also meet people who can come handy in the future.
Competitions also provide you with a great platform to showcase your talent and the skills you have acquired. They give you a chance to get your work evaluated and critiqued by a panel of judges with the requisite knowledge of the field, and inculcating their suggestions not only improves your work, but also motivates you to outdo yourself in the next task.
These internships and competitions can help you get a full time job with reputed professionals. In photography,it is hard to grow only on yourself. Most people start working as an assistant to established photographers, learn from them and then make their way up.
Choose Your Niche
To become a professional photographer, it is important to experiment with different genres that allow you to gain knowledge about different areas of photography. For instance, covering a social event will give you exposure to candid photography, while working with models will give you exposure to fashion photography. So, venturing out into various domains will help you understand your areas of strength, and help you build up your expertise in the areas of your choosing. In the long run, you will be able to carve a niche in your chosen area of photography
Having a specific niche helps you to grow faster and gain expertise in a particular field. Each niche has different focuses, different style of working, and different requirement of equipment. Therefore explore as much as possible, particularly through internships and choose the one which aligns with your interest.
Build a Strong Portfolio
Doing good work and not telling others is the gravest mistake a photographer can make. It is essentially for you to showcase your brilliant work to the world so that people can know your skills and value.
Having a portfolio of your best works is your USP which can add immense value in the market as the need to professional photographers is rapidly growing. A portfolio, blog or website can easily be turned into your marketing brochure. Making a portfolio communicates your views, abilities, skills, etc., and gives you a professional outlook. When you have your own blog/ website, you can showcase your work to increase your chances of getting noticed. There are a lot of websites and online communities, where you can learn to create your own portfolio, such as Fabrik, Folio, FolioHD, Portfoliobox, SmugMug, format.com, 500px, Paulakluth, ASCD, 1X etc.
How to Know if You Should Take Up Photography as a Career?
This is an important question. How will you know whether you are suitable for photography or not? The answer is by assessing yourself.
When I say assess yourself, I mean you should look if you really have an interest in this field or not. Also, mere interest is not enough. You need more than that. If you are made for this field that you would naturally have an eye for details in pictures be it a model photo shoot or a wildlife related photo or even if its a random photo of you, your friends or your family.
Another way is to look whether you have some of the skills which a photographer should have.
Skills required for Being a Photographer:
- Vision: The first skill a photographer must have is vision. A vision as to what exactly a photographer is clicking. One will have to find ways to make their images creative. Through a vision which one sees, is imprinted through a photograph. The photograph clicked helps you communicate and inform others as to what you have envisioned.
- Communication: What you have clicked, the image should speak for itself. As the saying goes, ‘a picture says a thousand words’, the image needs to stand out and represent itself rather than the photographer having to explain what it is about. The photographer also needs to enhance his communication skills as it is quite essential in relationships with clients. A client and a photographer need to be on the same page as to what is required and what is exactly needed to be done.
- Technical Skills: One needs to fully understand the technical parts of a camera in order to operate smoothly. All the settings, modes need to be fully understood before working. Other than the camera, a photographer needs to understand the working of different lenses, a tripod, covering videos and more. Other than clicking the photograph, one also needs to know how to edit the picture If need be.
One thing to not is that, you must not be perfect in all these from the very beginning. It is no harm if you lack some of them or only have some other skills in rudimentary stage, because that’s what you would learn in the course. However, your skills and interest must map with what photography as a career demands.
Types of Photography Careers
- Wedding Photography : Weddings are all about emotions and first chances. You may get one shot to capture a moment which may never be repeated again. From a mixture of portraits to culture, wedding photography is the element of getting the best shots that you can. From a couples dance to happiness all round, to the lighting, a photographer needs to be at his best.
- Event Photography : This is an extension of wedding photography. Whether your beat is corporate events or wild and crazy rock concerts, event photographers work in a variety of settings. Event photography styles often involve a mixture of photojournalistic documentary work and portraiture.
- Sports: From a fast-paced football match to a middle-stump being bowled off in cricket, sports photography is no child’s play as photography in this beat is all about speed and timing, which means the proper use of shutter speed. Sports has always been thrilling and exciting, where many emotions are captured through the eyes of the lens in a matter of seconds.
- Travel: Love travelling? Whenever you discover someplace new, you do tend to take out your phone or camera to click a picture, so why not make it a career? Travel the world, explore new places, capture what you see through the eyes. From picturesque landscapes to beaches and mountains, to the culture and tradition, travelling is generally an option one doesn’t simply turn down.
- Environment: Nature, wildlife? Sounds risky, but the thrills is what keeps a photographer going. To exploring jungles, forests to clicking a variety of shots in any type of weather, nature is simply exquisite. And wildlife on the other hand, that can get your heart racing. Wildlife photography requires intensive training as other than your photography skills, your survival skills are pretty much needed as well.
- Product photography: From jewellery to food items, all which comes under advertising and promotion, is known as product photography. For restaurants to make their dishes more appetizing or for a jeweller to make his products more appealing, professional photographers are hired. The range is never-ending.
- Photojournalist: The photographer is on the run in this beat as a photojournalist is at the forefront of news. The range in the media is never-ending as it can go from culture to international issues to sports or events, a photographer in this field need to perseverant.
- Fashion: Fashion photography is all about the gilt and glamour, but its one industry which is quite tough to make it into. From cover shots of top magazines to keeping up with the latest styles to trends on the runway, fashion photographers need to have a reputed portfolio if they want to join the fashion industry. To shoots from all around the world like Paris, Milan, New York, photography is all about getting the lighting and angles right.
- Science photography: The new beat which has come into play is science photography. To extreme close-ups of cells to ariel photography of a jungle, the need of photography is now in demand in modern science. From capturing solar eclipses to using photographic imaging technology to capture an image of DNA molecules, photography is required to gather data which can’t be processed to seen by the human eye.