Today a camera in your pocket is the norm, but it takes a skilled photographer, with technical knowledge and artistic vision, to capture poetry in a visual image. These professional artists use technical equipment and software to create quality photographs. Expertise with digital cameras and photo-editing software is a must, whether they shoot weddings, portraits, or breaking news stories. About 60% of photographers are self-employed. These photographers often need to advertise and attract new clients. This makes networking and maintaining an online portfolio essential for marketing their work. Independent photographers are also responsible for record keeping as well as purchasing and maintaining equipment. Photographers work in news, portrait studios, and commercial studios. They may specialize, for example, in scientific, aerial, or industrial photography. Working for a news outlet can mean long and irregular hours, exposure to dangerous surroundings, and frequent travel. Most photographers stand or walk for long periods while carrying heavy equipment. Many positions require only the skill and expertise needed to capture the images an employer wants, although a bachelor's degree in photography or a related field may be required for work in photojournalism, or specialized fields. While a career in photography takes commitment to the craft and artistic discipline... it's worth it to get the perfect shot.

A program that focuses on the principles and techniques of communicating information, ideas, moods, and feelings through the creation of images on photographic film, plates, and digital images and that may prepare individuals to be professional photographic artists. Includes instruction in camera and equipment operation and maintenance, film and plate developing, light and composition, films and printing media, color and special effects, photographic art, photographic history, use of computer applications to record or enhance images and applications to the photography of various subjects.

Photographers use cameras to capture still images.

We live in a visual world where photographic content is always visible and available. Nearly all of the images we see outside of social media were taken by a photographer!

There are many different kinds of photographers, and most have a particular subject that makes up the bulk of their professional portfolio. Some types of photography may require a different set of equipment - a wildlife photographer will get more use out of a telephoto lens than a food photographer, while an events photographer may have different focus needs than a real estate photographer. Almost every industry relies on visual content for publicity and media presence, and photographers can be found in nearly every sector. A wedding photographer's day to day may look very different than a forensic photographer's, and their work tends to reflect this. Whether a photographer is capturing images of a historic moment or taking precisely framed photos of products in a studio, their vision should be clear - after all, their vision is what everyone will see.

Traditional photography involves capturing a light imprint of a real-life image on film, which can be developed in specific chemical solutions to appear on paper. Now, most photography outside of the art world is digital; digital cameras capture a raw image onto a storage card that can be uploaded to a computer and modified there. Both types of photography have their own benefits; digital photos can be viewed immediately after they are taken, which can make it easier to get precise shots, and while analog photography can be expensive and labor intensive, many devotees favor it for the unique effects it can produce.

Photography work may include...

  • Using a variety of lenses for different effects
  • Adjusting focus, exposure, and depth of field
  • Cropping, editing, or retouching photographs manually or using software
  • Capturing moments for art, media, hobby, commercial, or editorial use
  • Controlling the light source or flash bulb for each shot

Many photographers work as freelancers, which means building a client base is essential for finding and booking gigs. It's common for photography businesses and studios to employ multiple photographers, who may work together or take on clients independently. Certain types of businesses do hire photographers as full-time employees, such as large retailers with dedicated studio space who constantly need product photos. Photojournalists for publications may also be able to find staff jobs, but such roles can be very competitive.

There are many ways to kickstart a career in photography, but the most important thing is having a camera and knowing how to use it. Some photographers go to school for this purpose, and photography courses are offered at most colleges and universities. Getting a photography degree can be useful for building these skills and having access to resources, and assignments can make for some interesting portfolio content. Regardless of background, it's common for aspiring professional photographers to offer sessions at lower rates to people they know while they are still getting the hang of things. These types of photo sessions can be integral to a professional's photography portfolio, as can word of mouth recommendation from subjects who are pleased with their images. Some start out as photographer's assistants and learn tricks of the trade from a mentor figure; others learn independently as hobbyists and pitch themselves as photographers based on their portfolio of images. A stunning portfolio with a clear visual style is the key to booking photography gigs; a photographer who can demonstrate technical skill and a good eye is one everyone wants to hire.

If you're intensely visual and love being behind the camera, it might be time to find your niche and start an exciting career as some kind of photographer.

American Society of Media Photographers is the premier trade association for the world's most respected photographers.

Professional Photographers of America is the world's largest nonprofit photography association organized for professional photographers, by professional photographers.

American Photographic Artists is a leading national organization run by and for professional photographers.

The National Press Photographers Association is dedicated to the advancement of visual journalism in all news media and works to promote its role as a vital public service.

International Center of Photography is the world's leading organization dedicated to photography and visual culture.

North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) promotes the art and science of nature photography as a medium of communication, nature appreciation, and environmental protection.

University Photographers' Association of America is an international organization of college and university photographers concerned with the application and practice of photography as it relates to the higher education setting.