For those crave autonomy, flexibility, and, above all, creativity, a career in photography may seem ideal. If you have an artistic eye, technical skills, and the ability to tell a story visually, you might be naturally drawn to photography. In these days of affordable digital cameras and editing equipment, formal career training may not always be necessary for you to get started. However, in this rapidly changing field in which business and marketing skills, as well as the ability to work in a multimedia environment, are all becoming increasingly important, photography degrees provide excellent career training that could give you an edge in this competitive field.
Photography Careers: Behind the Lens
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of those working in photography today are self employed--that''s a much higher proportion than in most other industries. That number is also expected to grow, as most media outlets are scaling back their employment of salaried photographers, and instead are hiring freelancers to provide still photography and video. Photojournalism, also called news photography, is just one way in which photographers may earn a living. Many work as portrait photographers, using studio tools to craft the ideal shot. Some photographers capture special events, such as weddings, religious ceremonies, or graduation photos.
Fine art photographers create artwork with their photography and sell their pieces. Still other photographers work in various scientific or commercial industries, recording data for analysis. According to the National Press Photographers Association, a professional organization for photojournalists, the photography profession is changing rapidly, which is why formal career training may be a practical way to begin. As print media outlets gradually decline in circulation, most are moving their efforts to the Internet, which requires a much more rapid updating process and a variety of media including streaming video. Photojournalism applicants will be required to have a larger set of skills and will need to be able to tell a story visually in multiple ways, with a more rapid production time.
The Value of Photography Degrees
Because photography is an ever-evolving field that requires practitioners to constantly update their skills and equipment, formal degrees may be advantageous. Photography courses progressively challenge students, not only artistically by also technically. Meanwhile, exposure to instructors and peers in the field provides valuable insights and important connections. If self-employment interests you, online degrees might just provide the right mix of formal career training and autonomy. You can explore ideas while constantly improving your skills at a pace that makes you comfortable.
In addition to formal photography career training, which covers aspects of visual design and technical skills, courses in business and marketing can be very useful. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that photography jobs will grow by 10 percent through 2016--about as fast as average. Median annual earnings for salaried photographers in 2006 were $26,170. More than financial compensation, however, photography careers provide a creative outlet and freedom that may be invaluable.