A photographer is a person who sees this world through the lens of his camera. His job is to capture the surroundings in a unique way. There are many specialties to photography and this is one job that can take you places depending on your specialty, the experience that you carry.

There are many sub paths within photography and so different salary earnings and different levels of qualifications. For a successful career in photography you not only need qualifications but you need to have a creative eye for things, you need to be imaginative and should own a creative viewpoint towards your life.

Photographers can be of different kinds, they are photojournalists, scientific photographers, commercial and industrial photographers, portrait photographers, and freelance artists.

Earning Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the year 2007 photographers earned a yearly salary of $34,000. This includes all the various categories that exist in photography right from freelance artists to portrait photographers. According the California Employment Development Department in 2007 the top 10 % of all photographers earned almost $62,000 while some photographers even made well over $99,000 a year.

Career Opportunities For Photographers

Commercial Photography
Commercial photography has to do with the use of photographs for commercials purposes. One has to do photography of models, artifacts and landscapes, merchandise and buildings to be used in reports, advertisement or media. Photographs of machinery, company officials, products, equipments, official for publicity etc are taken. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2007 they earned in between the salary range of $32,500- $60,000.

Scientific Photography
Scientific photography includes picture for medicine, chemistry, biology, or engineering, these photographs are used for medical or scientific data. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2007 average salary for this type of photography was $60,000. This category of photography offers a promising future and highest prospects for salary.

News Photography
Another name for News photography is photojournalism. This category focuses on the people, sports, places, politics, and communities in the media. Any news worthy event is to be covered by them for all the television, magazines and newspapers. Photographers in this category made an average annual salary of $42,000 in 2007.

Aside from the above mentioned categories, portrait and fine art photography also exist. The portrait photographers click at the weddings, school functions, religious ceremonies and other similar functions. While Fine art photographers click images and then sell it to galleries and art lovers. Maximum numbers of photographers are self employed or work on contractual basis, thus letting them the freedom and flexibility in their careers. In 2007 the Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzed independent photographer’s average annual salary to be $40,000 per year.

Education in the Art of Photography

Unfortunately there is no direct way to attain an educational qualification in photography. Since there are so many categories to this field accordingly there are different paths that one can opt for depending on what is that you are really passionate about.

If news photography interests you then you might want to get a degree in journalism which would be ideal or photojournalism. But the National Press Photographer Association think that it would be better if you have a degree in one of the following subjects international relations, psychology, English, economics, sociology, foreign languages politics, government related studies, or any number of other subjects that will help you better in the field.

This is very true when it come to making a career in this field. No matter what type of photography you want to pursue, choose the field that you are directly related to and along with the bachelor’s degree or master’s degree you can also take up photography related courses that will prove important to build up your career.

Just like for scientific photographers you can opt to do your bachelors in chemistry, medicine, engineering, biology or forensics. In the same way for industrial or commercial photographers, the best option is to do in a related field like engineering landscaping or architecture. A degree related to Fine Arts or Visual Arts will work well for someone who wants to do freelance photography.

These days’ online photography courses are available and they can teach you the required skills in order to earn a living out of your passion for images. You can learn about art appreciation theory, technical proficiency and other such technicalities. An online degree can help you with your research and writing skills, copyrights, enhance your marketing knowledge, business law etc. Thus, preparing you for the shifting technical advancements, that the photographers face.

What lies ahead in the field of photography?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics photographers can see a 10% growth in fields related to photography. For a better shot at their careers, students take up internships, they offer volunteer work to organizations and take up online photography to polish their knowledge on the ever changing technical aspects of this field.

In order to make an ideal photographer, National Press Photographer Association suggests that wish to be out there on the field, urge of storytelling, technical proficiency, keeping up with the ethical standards and the spirit to never give up are very essential. A career in photography can be very fulfilling. Once you are in the field that is your office and your camera is your most important tool with the sky as your limit.