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Photojournalist

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Everyday is different!
  • Flexible: This is not a 9 to 5 job. You set your destiny. You are your own boss.
  • Creative and inspirational
  • Tell a story through pictures
$34,070
The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities
  • Market and advertise services to attract clients
  • Analyze and plan the composition of photographs
  • Use various photographic techniques and lighting equipment
  • Capture subjects in commercial-quality photographs
  • Enhance the subject’s appearance with natural or artificial light
  • Use photo-enhancing software
  • Maintain a digital portfolio to demonstrate their work
  • Archive and manage imagery     
Skills Needed
  • Artistic and creative ability
  • Technical ability with a wide range of photographic equipment and technology
  • A keen eye for detail
  • Good communication and people skills
  • Good time management skills with the ability to meet tight deadlines
Different Types of Photographers
  • Product photographers takes pictures of products for marketing collateral and a company’s website. With more and more companies selling their products online, there is more need of product photographers.
  • Portrait photographers take pictures of individuals or groups of people and usually work in their own studios. Photographers who specialize in weddings, religious ceremonies, or school photographs may work on location.
  • Commercial and industrial photographers take pictures of various subjects, such as buildings, models, merchandise, artifacts, and landscapes. These photographs, which frequently are taken on location, are used for a variety of purposes, including magazine covers and images to supplement analyses of engineering projects.
  • Aerial photographers travel in planes or helicopters to capture photographs of buildings and landscapes. They often use cameras with gyrostabilizers to counteract the movement of the aircraft and ensure high-quality images.
  • Scientific photographers focus on the accurate visual representation of subjects and therefore limit the use of image manipulation software to clarify an image. Scientific photographs record scientific or medical data or phenomena. Scientific photographers who take pictures of objects too small to be seen with the naked eye use microscopes to photograph their subjects.
  • News photographers, also called photojournalists, photograph people, places, and events for newspapers, journals, magazines, or television. In addition to taking still photos, photojournalists often work with digital video.
  • Fine-arts photographers sell their photographs as artwork. In addition to having technical knowledge of subjects such as lighting and the use of lenses, fine arts photographers need artistic talent and creativity. Most use traditional film instead of digital cameras.
Different Types of Organizations
  • Freelance/Independent
  • Magazine
  • In-house company: e-commerce company who needs product shots
Expectations/Sacrifices Necessary
  • Will probably have to do unpaid work until you create a portfolio of work.
  • Long hours and weekends
  • You have to drum up your own business unless you work in-house for a company.
Current Industry Trends

Some photographers use drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, to capture shots. The drones are equipped with an integrated camera to capture 360° imagery of buildings, landscapes, scenery, or events.

What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were young...
  • Taking photos!
  • Making videos
2016 Employment
147,300
2026 Projected Employment
139,000
Education and Training Needed
  • A high school diploma or GED is enough to get hired as a Photographer, but having a few college credits under your belt can’t hurt
  • O*Net Online states that 14% of Photographers have a post-secondary certificate. 27% have “some college, no degree” while 18% are high school grads with no college
  • Many Photographers study their art at postsecondary institutions, while others jump in and gain practical experience as they take self-study courses or read books and watch YouTube tutorials about the subject
    • Note, specific Photographer jobs, such as Photojournalism, may require a degree to be eligible for entry-level jobs
    • A la carte online classes such as those offered at CreativeLive and Udemy can help you learn new tricks at a fraction of the cost of a university course
  • If you’re planning to work as a freelance or independent Photographer, formal education won’t be as important as having a stellar portfolio and strong marketing skills to advertise your business
    • Solopreneurs should consider learning about advertising and marketing their services
  • Some Photographers edit their images using various software programs such as Photoshop, Affinity Photo, CyberLink PhotoDirector 365, Luminar AI, inPixio Photo Studio 11, Pixlr X / Pixlr E, and others.
Things to do during high school/college
  • Take high school classes related to photography, art, and film
    • Marketing, accounting, and business courses can come in handy for self-employed workers
  • Sign up for community college or online courses that focus on the practical and creative skills you need to develop
  • Adorama’s 10 Best Free Online Photography Courses features some great options for free training
  • Volunteer at school or with local organizations who might need photography services
  • Ask local Photographers if you can shadow or assist them
  • Offer to photography events for free to gain experience, and don’t forget to practice with friends, family, and pets!
  • Get outside and practice as much as possible, experimenting with the various settings on your camera under different weather and lighting conditions
  • Space permitting, set up a mini-studio in your living quarters, stocked with the basic gear you’ll need. When possible, save money by purchasing good quality second-hand items online
  • Join local and online photography groups to exchange ideas, make friends, and stay inspired
  • Don’t wait to start your professional portfolio featuring your best work. You don’t need clients to build a great portfolio!
  • Check out Chegg’s 2022 Photography Internships to find paid and unpaid opportunities. Indeed.com also lists internship openings, so sign up for alerts
  • Check out photography books and magazines from local libraries and photocopy articles that are useful
  • Read online articles and watch YouTube tutorials to learn the latest tips and trends
  • If you plan to use photo editing software, decide which effects you want and which programs are most suitable  
How to land your 1st job
  • If you’ll be working for yourself, then you must learn to land clients, not employers
    • Having a smart website, savvy advertising campaign, and strong word of mouth is a good start for landing great-paying gigs
    • Setting up a Google Business account is a good idea to garner customer reviews
  • If you’re looking for a full- or part-time job working for an employer, you’ll need a strong portfolio of work backed by as much practical experience as possible
  • Hop on the job portals such as ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Flexjobs, and Glassdoor, then screen job postings for the exact qualifications listed. If you’re not a match, just move to the next posting
  • If you continue to see jobs that you’re missing qualifications for, take time to get up to speed then go back to the job boards
  • Get on LinkedIn and let your network know you’re open for business or looking for work
  • Contact potential references to see if they’re willing to recommend you or write letters of reference
  • When possible, complete an internship because it can greatly boost your odds of getting hired
  • If you have stock images to sell, don’t spend all day posting to Instagram. Shift over to sites like Getty Images, Shutterstock, or even Etsy to sell your work online
  • Consider building a profile on freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr
  • A picture’s worth 1,000 words so let yours do the talking! Take time to create a stunning online portfolio to serve as a virtual calling card. Add details about how and where you took the photos
  • For interview purposes, it may be helpful to create a physical print portfolio book, too
What it really takes to make it and succeed
  • Perseverance.
  • Hustling! It’s all about who you know.
  • Constantly learning. Technology changes all the time. You need to be up to date with all the new tools and equipment.  
Recommended Resources

Websites

  • American Society of Media Photographers
  • American Society of Photographers
  • KelbyOne
  • National Press Photographers Association
  • North American Nature Photography Association
  • Professional Photographers of America
  • Society of Professional Journalists
  • University Photographers’ Association of America
  • CreativeLive offers free online seminars and classes.
  • Photographer’s Connection
  • Click it Up a Notch
  • Digital Photography School

Books

  • Digital Photography Complete Course: Learn Everything You Need to Know in 20 Weeks, by David Taylor
  • National Geographic Photo Basics: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Great Photography, by Joel Sartore and Heather Perry
  • Start Your Own Photography Business, by Entrepreneur Media and Jason R. Rich
  • The Art of Photography: A Personal Approach to Artistic Expression, by Bruce Barnbaum
  • The Photographer's Guide to Posing: Techniques to Flatter Everyone, by Lindsay Adler

Business and Marketing

  • MailChimp: With MailChimp you can create email marketing campaigns and send up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers free of charge.
  • JotForm: If you want to be able to let your clients complete their registration for sessions online, you should look at JotForm. They have templates that you can customize or you can create your own. Clients can complete the forms and send them over to you completely online.
  • StudioCloud: StudioCloud is a free online software that can help you organize your business. Part of the free features are scheduling appointments, event reminders, generating invoices, and a lot more.
  • Defrozo: Defrozo is a new platform that allows photographers to create a website, manage their workflow, create galleries for clients, and more from one account.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest is very popular with photographers. Many have created boards showcasing their images and provided links to galleries and have used it not only to display the image, but to drive traffic to their websites.It’s not only a place to find inspiration, but you can use it as a marketing tool for your own business.
  • Squarespace: Easy to build website to showcase your work.
Words of Advice

“As an artist and photographer, it’s very common to get rejected. But don’t let that bring you down… It’s not a personal rejection, it may be that you are not the right fit for a specific client. So my last three points of advice to you guys are don’t be afraid to ask questions and reach out to people that are more established than you are. You never know, it may turn into a job, or assisting another established photographer on a shoot, or just learning something from them and their years of experience. Another thing is to keep on being curious, keep on wanting to learn and to hone your craft, because the learning never ends. New technology comes out, new cameras come out, styles are always evolving, and you just have to change with the times. Lastly, the most important thing is to keep on shooting.” Alicia Cho, Food and Product Photographer, Alicia Cho Photography

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