How to get a career in photography
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How to get a career in photography

Photographers are needed for many different purposes, for the needs of corporations and individuals alike. If you’ve decided you want a career in photography, you’re going to need a specific set of skills and experience above anything else. To help you out, here’s a guide on how to get a rewarding and successful career as a photographer.

Photographer: the role, responsibilities and necessary skills

Salary range: £14,000 to £50,000

Average salary: £20,010

Some (of the many) types of photographer/specialisms

      • Fashion
      • Corporate
      • Wildlife/pet photography
      • Fine art
      • Micro photographer
      • Family/baby photographer
      • Advertising
      • Editorial
      • General practice – such as weddings and portraits
      • Event: weddings, parties etc.
      • Sports
      • Photo journalist
      • Food photographer
      • Crime scene/forensic photographer

Qualification requirements**

    • Non-essential: Degree or professional qualification, though of course this is preferred
    • Non-essential: Postgraduate course to specialise

Skills requirements and experience

    • You’re likely to be working freelance and independently a lot of the time so make sure you’re comfortable and confident working by yourself
    • Knowledge of cameras
    • Knowledge of specialist photography equipment
    • Teamwork
    • The ability to get the most out of people
    • The ability to use Photoshop and other photo editing software

Job duties (varies depending on the agency)

  • Working with clients to determine what photos they need and how they want to use them
  • Setting up location/environment with props, scenes and environments
  • Setting up lighting and other technical equipment, including cameras, lenses and software
  • Considering the composition and qualities of the photos you take
  • Image editing
  • Processing and printing photographs
  • Creating finished products for sale, such as framed prints and albums

(This information was compiled using information from Payscale, the National Careers Service and Prospects)

How to get into Photography

Degrees

An undergraduate or postgraduate degree in photography helps you acquire the practical skills needed for a thriving career.

Portfolio and experience

Whether you choose the self-taught route or a formal qualification, you need to have gained experience in the field and an impressive portfolio to back up your work.

For work experience, approach local photographers you admire, and ask if you can shadow them or volunteer and help. Hands-on experience is essential, so when you approach make it clear how enthusiastic you are and how ready you are to learn.

You need a portfolio that’s relevant, current and attractive. Be sure to showcase your work in hard copy so you can take it with you to interviews and talk through the thought processes behind your decisions. It’s also useful to have a digital version of your portfolio and host it online, allowing you to send potential employers links to your work whenever necessary.

*Salary information taken from www.payscale.com, from National Salary, without bonuses

**Information taken from nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk

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