For many, photography is an enjoyable hobby. For others, especially those with unparalleled talent behind the lens, photography is a lasting career. Some photographers are self-taught, while the more ambitious may pursue photography coursework or degrees at colleges and universities. Regardless of background, expertise with a camera can lead to work in many fields.
Photojournalists gather news via the camera lens. They document community happenings and illustrate stories for newspapers, magazines and websites. Beyond capturing images, photojournalists also gather details about the images they produce. They must report the names of the individuals who appear in photos, for example. Photojournalists are often in the middle of the action, such as at sports events or natural disasters. The work requires technical and news reporting skills, strong communications abilities and the ability to meet deadlines.
Police departments employ photographers to take crime scene photos. These photographers document evidence, often using infrared cameras and other technology to help them in their work. In some cases, photographers document scenes even when there are no signs of crime, such as auto accident sites and fire damage. Forensic photographers may spend a portion of their work time testifying in court about what they observed at a crime scene. Forensic photographers must gain training and certification, which requires them to complete an exam.
Art photographers sell their work in art studios, museums and shops. Some sell mass-market prints and posters. Art photography may include still life photography, which captures inanimate objects for use as scenery and in architecture. Art photographers also snap photos for the food industry, where creative, appealing and artistic images are favored. Food photographers often do work for marketing companies, advertising firms, food publications and restaurants.
Event photographers work for clients to document special occasions. Event photographers are hired by trade associations, fashion designers, and the hosts of birthday parties, baby showers and bar mitzvahs. The most common type of event photographer may be the wedding photographer. These individuals charge a set fee for taking photographs of newly married couples. Wedding photographers often take engagement photos and photos during weddings that depict the groom and bride, other wedding participants and guests.
Photographers may establish careers in portrait photography. Portrait photographers often work from studios, where clients are photographed. Families hire portrait photographers to take family photos, and some parents hire them to take portraits of children, including high school students looking for senior photos to accompany graduation invitations. Some clients turn to portrait photographers to document engagements and other notable events. Portrait photographers also contract with schools to take photos for school yearbooks. The photographers earn income by selling copies of students’ photos to their parents.
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images