I bet you can remember cracking a pretty big smile when you visited Walt Disney World for the first time as a kid. If I recall correctly, there’s not much that compares to the magic of Mickey Mouse. Perhaps now you still occasionally flip through old photo albums and stumble upon quality relics like big ol’ Goofy with you on his lap. If it weren’t for the photographers in the park, these memories might not have been captured and could have easily slipped away. Photographers are able to capture fleeting moments and emotions through the pictures they shoot.
Photography Career Guide Overview
- What a Photographer Does
- A Typical Day for a Photographer
- Salary and Career Progression for a Photographer
- Best Locations for Photographers
- Pros and Cons of Being a Photographer
- What You Need to Know for a Career in Photography
- Photography Resources
- Careers Related to Photography
- Companies with Jobs and Internships in Photography
What a Photographer Does
A photographer is a person who takes photographs. Some photographers explore subjects like landscapes and portraits. Other photographers specialize in subjects unique to photography, including street photography, documentary photography, wedding photography, and commercial photography.
A Typical Day for a Photographer
A typical day for a photographer can range a lot but generally involves taking pictures in a studio or at an event and editing the pictures. Here are some things you might encounter:
- shooting photos at a studio, sometimes for hours at a time
- picking up and carrying around gear like cameras and multiple lenses
- traveling between photo shoot locations
- setting up lights
- editing image files and burning CDs
- meeting with a director to discuss an upcoming shoot
- talking with clients and your rep on the phone
- purchasing additional memory cards, filters, and other equipment
Salary and Career Progression for a Photographer
The average yearly salary for a photographer is $17,000-$86,000, which is a pretty large range. Where your salary falls in that range depends on how long you’ve been in the industry or what type of photography you do (fashion and commercial generally make more than news and sport). Beyond that you can consider becoming a Commercial Photographer ($21,000-$83,000), a Graphic Artist/Designer ($23,000-$57,000), or a Freelance Photographer ($18,000-$201,000).
Best Locations for Photographers
Here are some hot spots for photographers:
- Chicago, Illinois
- Orlando, Florida
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Miami, Florida
- New York, New York
- Los Angeles, California
Pros and Cons of Being a Photographer
- You can turn a hobby into a career
- Some travel if you’d like
- Flexibility across industries
- Demanding clients
- Exhausting long shoots
- Until you’re established pay can be low
What You Need to Know for a Career in Photography
Photography is generally self-taught, although there are a few degree programs. To be a photographer you’ll need to have both business technical knowledge and creativity. To get your pictures to look the best you’ll need to know about specific cameras, lighting, and digital imaging. It’s a good idea to try to get some hands-on experience with an established photographer. You could also do a local workshop to get experience. Either way you’ll want to showcase your work in albums online. By doing this you put your name out there, and you can get feedback on your work.
If photography still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.
Blogs and Websites
Careers Related to Photography
Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Photography
Check out the latest job and internship postings in photography.