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Career Choices Using Photography and the Skills Needed to Succeed

There are many different jobs which involve photography, including:

Portrait⁄studio⁄wedding - focusing on images of people and selling images to families and individuals
Sports - action photos, from childrens' leagues up to professional and olympic levels
Commercial⁄product photography - every ad has images taken by someone. Jewelry, food, automotive, and fashion photography are some examples
Artistic⁄landscape - scenic or artistically oriented images, often sold as artwork, postcards or tourist items
Architectural - photos of buildings and other constructed items
Forensic - used in policevdetective work. Crime scene and related photography
Journalism - un-staged real-life images for newspaper and magazines
School/event - school pictures, sports teams, church and other groups where high volume is typical
Stock photography - images taken that other people will buy and use for advertising and other purposes

There other other specialties such as astrophtography and microphotography.

Frequently Asked Questions about careers in Photography

1. What skills do I need to be successful as a photographer?

Conceptual- the ability to understand your clients' needs and communicate with them
Technical - the ability to identify, configure and use camera, lighting, and props to make images
Editing - the ability to process captured images and edit them to meet the customers' needs
Marketing - the ability to get your name out and to connect you and your business to your potential customer base
Selling - the ability to earn money from your profession. Includes pricing, negotiating, meeting with customers, producing their final products
Managing - Taking care of the day-to-day needs of a business or professional, including buying things, paying bills, covering insurance, taxes, permits, etc.
Leading - Building and or working in a business environment where you need to create visions, define goals and actions, and implement them to grow the business
Serving - Contacting and growing your customer base, measuring customer satisfaction, resolving customer issues.

You can see that only the Technical and Editing skills fall into traditional Photography⁄Computer skills. However, because photography involves a high degree of interpersonal communication and subjective needs of the customer base, you need to develop and posses good people skills - listening, documenting, creativity, follow-through, etc.

2. What education do I need to be successful in photography?

You will need to learn or be taught the technical aspects of photography - lighting, composition, camera science, image editing and production. Some people can learn this as they go. Others pursue a special degree or certificate from certain schools, or you can get a 4-year degree in arts/photography from a university. To be very well prepared, you should consider a minor in business or marketing or a minor in your chosen specialty field such as criminal justice, sports or journalism. This will give you an edge over any candidates who do not have this education.

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