Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Want to Go Pro?

Everyone enjoys looking at pictures and I am rather certain that it's safe to say most adults have used a camera at some time or another in their life. It is fun and it's often a hobby or something we simply do without thinking much about it when a special occasion happens.

If you truly enjoy photography and are looking for a new (or first!) career, however, there are a number of jobs in the field for which you may want to consider seeking training.

The first thing that comes to mind for most people is the career of a newspaper photographer. This takes some steel nerves sometimes although it's a good field to find a niche in. You will most likely at certain times be photographing sights that are not pleasant such as the aftermath of fires, disasters, and accidents. You also need to take into consideration that news happens at all times of the day and night and if it's not national news where the picture will come in over the AP wire, you will need to wake up to photograph big local stories.

Another job for which photographers are needed is wedding photography. Unlike working with the newspaper, for this branch of photography you will be photographing happy events with smiling people for the most part and it is a lot less stressful than newspaper work.

I would not recommend it as a career because of the uncertainty, but as a freelance photographer (stringer) you would be submitting your photographs to magazines and other publications and hoping for sales. It can provide decent supplemental income for good photographers but it is too risky to plan to make it your sole source of income.

That said, some periodicals have in-house photographers so don't automatically give up the idea of working for a magazine; it is just the freelance photographers with the uncertainty.

Some other photography careers include studio work (even many stores are now hiring in-store photographers); taking pictures of homes that come on the market for real estate companies; and many times insurance companies need to hire photographers to take pictures of accident sites. Keep in mind, though, that for that kind of work, you can be given a call at any time of day or night.

Many manufacturers need pictures of their products so that the public knows what it is they sell. Magazine and cookbook publishers need people to photograph the finished dishes after they have been prepared for articles or books that include pictures.

I opened by mentioning training and that is always a good step so that you know and understand all aspects of the career but if you have already been taking excellent pictures of all kinds, consider putting a portfolio together. If you feel that you know what is necessary for great pictures and can use various cameras including digital, you might want to try submitting your portfolio to places looking for a photographer.

To create a portfolio, be sure that you take all genres of pictures so that you can show them to a potential employer. If you know what kind of photographer they want to hire, show those types of pictures.

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