A time where there is possibility of making every dream to into reality, where every hobby can turn out to be a profession and become a source of income, it is vividly felt that “Photography” is one of the same. It is the most booming and successful genre of business in recent times.

There was a time when people hardly knew about photography. And some learnt it as a hobby. Today the perception towards this industry has completely changed. People have started looking it as a business rather than just a hobby to click pictures.

Sometime back, the idea of being a professional photographer might not have appealed to many but today plenty of people want to be photographers. The rise of mass communication and the growing importance of the media and fashion is probably a factor which has led to this change.

It is very important to understand for the budding photographers that, there is no formal career structure in photography. Yet there are formal educational institutions with professional degree or diploma courses of certification, which can give a better picture of the requirements and technicalities of this rapidly changing industry.

With growth and upsurge in mass media and communication, photographers are opened to wide range of opportunities to exhibit their talent and skills. These includes,
• Press Photographers or Photo Journalists
• Fashion Photography
• Portrait Photographers
• Industrial Photographers
• Wildlife Photographers
• Feature Photographers
• Forensic Photographers
• Scientific Photography
• Freelancing

When we say that this genre of business is flourishing, it is very important to know the monetary value for the same. From outside it is felt that, photographers are earning really well. In reality, photography as a field has no particular or fixed career and salary structure. One has to be very brave to start off as a freelancer. One would rather begin by working in a studio. One can start as an assistant to senior photographers in which pay would be Rs 3500 to Rs 6000. Once established, they are paid as per the assignment. The range can be from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000. Fields like commercial photography pay higher compared to the other fields. Beginnings can be made at Rs. 15,000 which may grow over a period of time.

There are few benefits to the freelance photographers when compared to others, with respect to timings of assignments. They could set their own hours and choose to work on assignments that either appealed to their artistic sense, paid more money, or both. Those working for corporations had the same benefits as any employee of that corporation. Most photographers work unsociable and irregular hours, including evenings and weekends. Freelance photographers need to be flexible about when they work.

While we look at the flexibility of this industry, it is important to understand the requirement of the same. Photography is a unique and creative medium of self-expression. It is an art form requiring aesthetic sense as well as technical expertise. A photographer should:
• Be creative, with a good eye for a picture
• Be reliable and able to meet deadlines
• Be passionate, motivated and determined
• Have excellent technical and photographic skills
• Have computer skills, especially with computer programs such as Photoshop, Light Room etc.
• Have good communications skills
• Be confident in organising people
• Be able to listen and interpret the client’s needs
• Be able to focus on getting a good picture no matter what is going on around them
• Have commercial awareness and be good at marketing themselves.

While we see hundreds of upcoming photographers with professional skills, the biggest challenge that these photographers face in their career growth is the changing global need and competition to market oneself in the most unique and creative way and to “think and visualise out of the box”.

Research studies have found that, a passionate cum creative photographer, can change the way the world is viewed. With the development in the technology, it is not far that this industry would soon become the most lucrative and structured industry, zooming all the colours of this world in a gilded frame.

Further Reading

  • Indian Institute of Photography
  • Nikon School of Photography
  • Udaan
  • List of other photography courses
  • ICP
  • Job Description of a photographer
  • Monetary benefits of a photographer
  • eHow article
  • Freelance Photography
  • Photo.Net article
  • Challenges in Photography
  • Another photography article
  • Future of Photography
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