Photography is a hobby among millions of Americans, ever increasing with the rise of digital photographer. What if you feel that you want photography to be more than just a hobby; what if you want to make it your career?
Although many schools offer majors and minors if photography, a degree is not required to be a sucessful photographer. Classes will help you, but holding a degree will mean nothing if you don’t have photographic talent, and regularly practice that talent. Clients don’t look at your wall for a framed degree, they look for a great framed picture.
Naturally, must people think that a photographer’s main job is to make pictures. This is not true; snapping pictures is just the most visible, easiest, and simplest part of the job. After a picture is taken,cthe photographer will spend hours archiving and retouching their pictures, and even more time trying to market and sell them. This is how you will try to land a photo in a magazine or other publication. Your chances of shooting a cover page will rely on more than talent; it often happens through “who you know.” It is valuable to develop relationships and network with editors and staff members at magazines and publications in order to get your work in. If you develop relationships where editors will ask you for photographs, make sure that you are readily available, and open to work irregular hours or travel on short notice.
Another way to freelance is by operating a local photography studio, one that specializes in weddings, family portraits, and other services for people rather than publications. As with all freelancing photography, shooting pictures will be the simplest part. Be ready to put your administrative skills and business acumen to work as you do your own marketing, advertising, networking, budgeting, and client meetings. The most talented photogapher in the world won’t be able to make a career out of his passion unless he can make himself into his business.
While shouldering all of these responsibilities can be daunting and exhausting, being your own business comes with perks. You are able to be your own boss, set your own schedule, and you won’t have to take on assignments and work that you aren’t interested in. However, unless you’re shooting the cover of Vogue or running a firmly established studio, it isn’t wise to be choosy about assignments. As a free lance photographer, you most likely won’t have an established salary, but a salary that is determined by what work that you find. There can be a lot of work at one time, and a dry spell at another.
If you are interested in the career, make sure that you absolutely want to be a photographer. If you perceive your entire world through a camera lens, the joy of working behind the camera will eclipse the responsibilities and burdens of being a professional photographer.
The U.S. bureau of Labor expects photography jobs to grow at the average national rate through 2018. Like everything else I’ve profiled, it is a career that attracts considerable competition.
An annual salary for a photographer is very hard to determine. Not only will it vary between experience levels and location, but always between different types of photographers like staff photographers and free lance photographers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor estimates the number to be $35,640.
Great interview with a professional photograher from artofmanliness.com:
College board profile:
List of the top 100 photography blogs, and other great online rescoures:
MyWebume.com, a great way to start marketing yourself: