Having a camera does not make you a photographer, like having a goldfish pet makes you a marine biologist. So how do you pass the camera owner to the photographer or even a professional photographer? This article will illustrate how to become a photographer.
A career as a photographer can be an exciting avenue for creative expression, as photographers have the opportunity to work in many environments and meet diverse people.
However, it is also a technically demanding, so those interested in becoming photographers should consider the training they will need before committing to this career.
We have packaged all the necessary information you need to know how to become a photographer in terms of schools, cost, average salaries and projected job growth rates.
Table of contents
- What Do Photographers Do?
- Is Photography A Promising Career?
- Do Photographers Need A Degree?
- What Is Kind Of Training Required To Become A Photographer?
- How Do I Find A Job As A Photographer?
- What Does Photography School Cost?
- How Much Do Photographers Earn?
- Can I become a photographer without a degree?
- Can I Take A Photography Degree Online?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Conclusion – Never Stop Shooting
- Editor’s Recommendations
What Do Photographers Do?
Most photographers work independently and must market their services to potential clients. Some photographers document special events such as weddings or photograph people, families or children.
Photojournalists work for newspapers and magazines, while fine art photographers can sell their work in art galleries, art exhibitions or online.
At the most basic level, photographers use cameras to capture images. However, there are several types of photography, including scientific and aerial photography, and photographers can work in various settings, from photographic studios to newspaper publishing companies.
Some photographers work in the field; others are for study. While some photographers work full time, many work part-time, and their workload may vary depending on the season.
Is Photography A Promising Career?
Professional photography is an excellent career choice for anyone who wants to be paid to use their creative talents. It is one of the few fields where age and university degrees are not as important as a good eye, a quality product, and self-discipline.
Photography is a competitive field, so be prepared to start small. Then perfect your job and create a portfolio of your best work.
Do Photographers Need A Degree?
Many photographers begin to work as photographer’s assistants. Some may have a certificate in photography or even a high school diploma.
They can gain a competitive advantage with more education because many employers prefer applicants who have been formally trained instead of fans who may not be as well informed in many of the technical and creative aspects of the career.
Photographers who work in photojournalism or as scientific or industrial photographers generally need a degree. Some photographers are also voluntarily certified as certified professional photographers through Professional Photographers of America. Photographers capture professional quality photographs.
Most use digital cameras instead of film cameras. Because digital cameras are electronic, photos can be stored and transported on portable memory devices and edited using computer software.
Photographers can use various editing techniques, such as cropping or enlarging the image, or applying filters to make the photo lighter, darker or sharper.
What Is Kind Of Training Required To Become A Photographer?
Photographers acquire their technical and artistic skills in a variety of ways. Some teach themselves; others attend courses or graduate in photography.
Photo courses are offered at colleges and community colleges, and photographers can build their skills in one class each without graduating.
Students can take a course in the basics of photography and work with the settings of digital and film cameras. In general, classes are also offered on various types of photography, such as wildlife photography, portrait, and landscape photography.
Many colleges offer undergraduate and graduate degree courses in photography, usually to a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), or Ph.D. to lead. A student in Photography BFA programs learns about art history and theory, the history of photography, art theory, and photo theory.
They will also spend a lot of time in studio classes where they can practice the skills they learn. As darkroom photography students learn how to develop prints, they also learn how to use powerful photo editing software to create digital images.
Some colleges offer degree programs in photojournalism and documentary photography. These programs may lead to a bachelor’s or master’s degrees and include journalism and photography studies.
Students will learn the journalism ethics, news writing and reporting, message editing and videography of news, and photographic skills such as lighting and editing.
Since so many photographers are self-employed, it may be vital for them to acquire both the manual and business management skills.
To run a successful business, you need to know how to legally start a business, handle taxes, set costs for their services, and market themselves.
How Do I Find A Job As A Photographer?
Self-employed photographers can start by accepting small jobs or working as an assistant to an established photographer. It’s essential to build a strong portfolio to attract potential customers.
Photographers should take every opportunity to add new, high-quality work to their portfolio. Knowing how to market yourself and your business is also very important.
Some photographers hire a representative to help them find work in their industry. Many different types of photographers, including product, fashion, documentary and art photographers, engage with agents to connect them with buyers and customers who may not be able to reach them independently.
Even photographers using representatives, however, should continue to expand their portfolio and market themselves.
What Does Photography School Cost?
According to the College Board, a two-year associate’s degree in photography costs about $3,000 a year, or $6,000. For example, Lebanon College, New Hampshire, offers an associate’s degree in photography for $4,100 a year, or $175 per credit.
How Much Do Photographers Earn?
As with many professions, salaries for photographers can vary according to industry and location. Some photographers earn less than $20,000 a year, others nearly $70,000 a year.
According to the US Labor Office, the average annual photographers’ average wage is $30,490, or $14.66 per hour. The top 10 percent earn $68,930 or $ 33.14 per hour, and the bottom 10 percent earn $18,120 per year or $8.71 per hour.
Salaries, however, vary from industry to industry. In addition, some states and metropolitan areas pay more than others.
Are Photographers In Demand?
According to the US Labor Office, there were 136,300 photographers in 2012. From now on, 5,900 new jobs will be launched by 2023, representing 4% employment growth.
This is slower than the 14 percent growth rate forecast for other jobs. The slow growth rate is the result of several factors. The price of digital cameras has dropped dramatically, and advances in technology make photography more accessible than ever.
As a result, more amateurs and companies feel comfortable producing their photos. A decline in newspapers also reduces the need for news photographers.
Still, portrait photographers are needed for weddings, school photos, and other religious and social events, and companies will continue to hire commercial photographers.
Steps to Becoming a Photographer
Choose the proper education.
There are photo programs that are tailored to each student’s career goals and educational commitment. Photo programs are available from the certificate to the master.
Choose a focus
There are various types of photography specialties to choose from. As a rule, students focus on areas such as portrait photography, advertising photography, science and industry photography, aerial photography, and art photography.
Internships offer students the opportunity to attend photo workshops and fieldwork to explore photography’s technical, creative, and logistical aspects both in-studio and on-site.
Take Exams For Certificates.
Numerous certifications are available to photographers, some of which are offered by the Professional Photographers Association. Examples of certifications are: Certified Professional Photographer, Certified Forensic Photographer and Registered Biological Photographer.
Get a starter job
Most schools have a career center that provides tips for job interviews and helps students write effective resumes and cover letters. Students should use this resource to find a job.
Graduates of a photography degree program are also to have the following skills:
Graduates should have experience in indoor and outdoor lighting, studio lighting techniques, constant light sources and mixed lighting.
You should also know how to deal with a flood, a spot, reflected and diffused light. In addition, students should understand how the time of day affects the morning and, thus, the photographed person or thing.
Concept and problem-solving skills
Professionals with a master’s degree in photography should be able to effectively use concepts such as mood, narrative, and the element of surprise and integrate composition, lighting, and perspective to connect with their audience.
Students should also be able to think critically, solve technical challenges, visualize photos before shooting, and create creative concepts for photos.
Professional photographers must listen to customers and translate their ideas into images. Therefore, they must ask the right questions and communicate their concepts verbally and in writing to demonstrate that they understand the customer’s wishes and explain the feasibility of specific action plans.
Graduates should be able to create and present a portfolio that demonstrates an understanding of art and design concepts and techniques. The portfolio should meet or exceed industry standards. Students should also show an understanding of the trends and practices of photography.
Can I become a photographer without a degree?
You do not need a college degree or certification to be a professional photographer. By “professional,” I mean to work with cameras and take pictures for the income.
Some may require only a high school diploma or equivalent, others may require additional education or an associate or undergraduate degree.
Photographers often start their careers as interns, assistants, or related positions and gain experience as they learn their trade.
You do not need a formal qualification to become a photographer, but a good eye, creativity, and technical skills are essential.
You can study courses at the college or university to gain photography knowledge. Most professional photographers have attended a college or university course to develop their skills.
Can I Take A Photography Degree Online?
Some students would like to take a photo course but may not have the time or ability to commute to a university campus or compulsory timetable due to work and family responsibilities.
Online photography programs allow these students to realize their dream of becoming a photographer. However, there are some essential elements that an online photography degree program should have.
Can School Train You To Become A Photographer?
Photo schools offer an excellent opportunity to improve your skills. You will also receive recognition for your skills, which can be helpful when looking for work.
It’s also one of the most efficient ways to meet like-minded people.
There are many types of schools, graduations, and universities for artists of all kinds. Here are 10 of the best photography schools. Some schools offer a variety of photography classes.
Others are much more limited. What you choose depends on the genres you want to specialize in and how much you want to earn in the long run.
California Institute of the Arts
The California Institute of the Arts, also known as CalArts, is a private art university. It was created by none other than Walt Disney and his brother. It is considered one of the best art universities in the USA.
CalArts offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts (BFA) and a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts (MFA) in Photography and Media. As a student, you are encouraged to experiment with various media. Some may not have anything to do with photography, like puppetry.
The institute’s main objective is to encourage students to become familiar with all art forms.
Vevey School of Photography, Switzerland
Vevey is located in Switzerland and is an art school appreciated by well-known photographers and companies. It offers an International Photography Award with a prize of € 33,000 for the best projects or ideas.
Students can expect to focus on creativity and learn how to use them in the business. You can even pick topics that give you work opportunities.
Goldsmiths, University of London
Tuition: 12,710 GBP
Goldsmiths University is a place where creativity and ideas are promoted. There are 18 academic departments at this university, including Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and more. Goldsmiths is one of the top five universities studying arts and design, communications, and media studies, according to QS World Ranking.
With an MA in Photography & Urban Cultures, you’ll find jobs in urban research, architectural research, human rights, and other related industries.
An MA in Image & Electronic Arts will help you develop your photographic work. You will learn about different media and improve your understanding of electronic art. These include 2D computer animation and web design.
Compared to the first degree, this seems to focus more on improving your photos than on incorporating them into other industries.
Ryerson University – School of Image Arts, Canada
Tuition: $24,792.2 CAD</
Ryerson is located in Toronto and is one of the best schools for art lovers.
The school aims to teach students how to reconcile their creative and photographic knowledge in the modern world. The students have to study for a total of four years.
During this time, they get to know all imaginable aspects of photography. From aesthetics to relevant cultural topics.
After four years you will receive a BFA degree.
Tokyo Zokei University, Japan
Tuition: $985-2,012 USD/Month
Zokei is a private university considered one of the best art schools in Japan.
In Japanese, “zokei” means “formative design.” After graduation, students can expect a deep knowledge of photography and design.
Zokei’s photography professors focus on documentary photography, creative photography and how the modern world is associated with our photographs.
Students are also introduced to workshops, archiving, and other essential aspects of photography.
Spéos Photography School
Spéos is present in both London and Paris and offers a variety of photography classes for all types of photographers. Courses are taught in English and French.
Speos is one of the best photography schools that has worked with renowned organizations like Magnum to offer courses. Speos has more than 30 years’ experience teaching photography and is accredited by the French government.
Spéos offers a one-year intensive course. This gives graduates the title of European Master of Professional Photography. Students can specialize in photojournalism, fashion, and sports photography, to name a few.
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester is located in the United States and is the perfect institute for aspiring photographers who are eager to learn about the scientific side of art.
Unlike most photography programs for students offering more general photography courses, RIT offers a variety of main photography subjects in specific areas of study.
This includes advertising photography, art photography, photojournalism, and even biomedical photo communication, making it a good school of photography where you can get various options.
Nine RIT graduates have won 13 Pulitzer Photojournalism awards. It is also known to have very talented consultants.
Light and Life Academy, Tamil Nadu, India
Tuition: INR 30,000 – INR 45,000
The Light and Life Academy differs in many ways from other photography schools. It strives to balance a well-structured course structure and a voluntary study. Classroom and corridor study; theoretical and practical training.
The photography school focuses on its courses on developing the students’ vision along with their inner vision. The Light and Light Academy is India’s first academy built exclusively for professional photography training.
New York Institute of Photography
Tuition: $1499 per Course
NYIP is one of the top photography schools, both offline and online. Currently, 11 courses are offered. Some of them are photojournalism, travel photography and portrait photography.
Students learn with various digital files, from audio messages to simple text lessons. At the end of each session, they submit a project that a mentor has reviewed. Upon completion of a course, students receive an NYIP Certificate of Completion.
This photography institute offers five online courses – the entire course in professional photography, digital photography: Photoshop for photographers, marketing for photographers, video making & storytelling and the basics of digital photography.
Udemy – Introduction to Photography
Udemy is a website for all types of online lessons. One of Chris Bray’s most popular photography classes is to help beginners feel safer about their approach to photography.
The course is entirely free and includes 2.5 hours of videos. Upon completion of the course, students will receive a certificate of completion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most employers require at least a high school diploma for photography jobs. Some industries, such as photojournalism and science, often require a bachelor’s degree in a discipline related to their industry. Some educational programs offer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in photography.
The fact is that the average photographer does not make a lot of money. Most photographers make about $30,000 a year. Of course, top photographers can make hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Some photographers top one million dollars.
In our opinion, yes – photography is a promising career if you are willing to work hard to make it happen. The good news is: there are many opportunities for photographers out there. The bad news is: it can be tough to find the worthwhile ones. Others might start their own photography business.
Photography and image-making technology are reaching out in many new directions simultaneously and at speed. Digital cameras no longer provide easier ways to make traditional photos.
Conclusion – Never Stop Shooting
Learning to become a photographer is a continuous process – even established professionals find new ways to challenge themselves. Whether growing with new business knowledge or tackling unique photography projects, you are still looking for ways to enhance your skills.
Sometimes, when photography becomes your profession, the initial fire that triggered the journey disappears a bit. Personal photography projects are great ways to rekindle this fire.
Becoming a photographer is a journey full of discoveries, pitfalls, and detours.
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