Photography Career FAQ
How Many Career Possibilities Exist for a Skilled Photographer?
Almost too many to count. That's because the need for professional images extends into a surprising number of different cultural and economic sectors. In fact, many photographers aren't even aware of some of the most interesting and lucrative freelance and employment niches that exist for talented people in this field.
So, as you look ahead at your own career prospects, consider these possibilities:
Every company requires some form of marketing. And that often requires images to help communicate an intended message or to show the company and its products or services off in a way that instills trust and provokes curiosity.
When you think about it, the variety of industries that utilize visual advertising is truly staggering. But within that vast landscape, a photographer can specialize in one or more areas like:
- Food—From recipe blogs and cookbooks to culinary magazines and restaurant promotions, a lot of demand exists for people who can make food and drink look truly appetizing in still images.
- Fashion—You might think of Vogue and similar publications, but a person who enjoys shooting models and the latest styles can also pursue work directly with clothing designers and manufacturers, catalog providers, event promoters, or talent agencies.
- Real estate—Taking great images of building exteriors or interiors can be particularly tricky. So people who understand how to light and photograph architectural environments are often needed by design studios, high-end real estate firms, and trade magazines.
- Stock art—Many organizations rely on the digital libraries of stock photo agencies in order to get the images they need. But those agencies constantly need to add new photos in order to keep their collections fresh.
Most of us have experience getting our pictures taken for school, graduation, or as part of a professional family portrait. But, these days, many photographers are branching out, finding success by pushing the envelope and redefining the ways that we visually document the biggest moments of our lives. A few examples include:
- Engagements and weddings—Photo shoots of brides and grooms and their accompanying friends and family are getting ever more creative. From outrageous locations and props to funny photo compositions, a lot of people are looking for photographers who offer something a little different from traditional approaches.
- Post-wedding antics—A particularly fun and interesting photography niche involves former brides choosing to "trash" their wedding dresses. They get professionally photographed wearing their gowns in mud or other settings designed to sully or ruin them.
- Maternity photos—Many women enjoy having their journeys through pregnancy artfully captured by photographers they can trust.
- Baby photos—Unique photos of newborns and children's first years are becoming more and more popular. Creative settings and poses are becoming increasingly mainstream, like "cake smash" photos, where a baby is photographed in all of the glorious, messy stages of destroying a cake.
We all want to know what's happening. And we often like to see it documented in pictures. In fact, a series of images can sometimes tell a story much better than the written word. That's why a dedicated photojournalist can have a lot of options for what to cover, such as:
- Current events
- Human interest stories
- Entertainment and celebrity culture
- Nature and the environment
Sectors such as construction, manufacturing, refining, and natural resource extraction often require photographers who specialize in documenting large-scale projects over time. They also sometimes need people who can take sharp aerial images of land or infrastructure.
Forensic and Scientific Imaging
In these fields, the emphasis is on creating images for utilitarian purposes. For instance, accident and crime scene investigators often rely on photos that accurately capture the condition, size, and location of victims, objects, and their surrounding environments. That way, they can precisely reconstruct what happened and use the visual information as evidence in court.
In science, photographic specialists use different kinds of cameras and equipment to do things like record experiments and analyze parts of the world that we can't see with the naked eye. For example, they might use special imaging devices that capture thermal signatures or the infrared or ultraviolet light spectrums. They sometimes even use cameras attached to microscopes.
What Do Photographers Like Most About Their Careers?
With such a diverse field, everybody has different reasons for why they enjoying being part of it. But a few common ones include:
- The chance to be self-employed or to make extra income if they hold other jobs
- Opportunities to travel to interesting locations for different assignments
- The fun and challenge of combining creativity with technical skill
- Seeing the world in new ways and sharing that with other people through their photos
- The chance to specialize in a particular niche
- Being able to keep learning and using new technologies such as digital enhancement software
How Much Can I Earn?
The sky is the limit. By working hard, honing your craft, and connecting with lots of different people, you have the chance to generate plenty of opportunities. That said, the median wage of photographers across Canada was $21.98 per hour in 2014-2015. Many earned as much as $41.03 or more. And, in some regions, the pay went as high as $55.38 or more.*
How Should I Proceed?
Start getting a firm grasp on basics like photo composition, camera functions, and image processing. One of the best ways to do that is going through a formal program. So why not look into the photography schools on this page? They are ready to answer any other questions you might have. All it takes is a quick information request to move forward, which you can easily do right now!
* Government of Canada, Job Bank, website last accessed on January 24, 2017.