Professional photography is a competitive field. A search for local photographers will yield hundreds if not thousands of results, all vying for the attention of the same pool of clients. Sure, it is possible to distinguish yourself through aggressive networking or by labeling yourself a portrait, landscape, or wildlife photographer. In many places, however, this does surprisingly little to shorten your list of competitors. A more fruitful strategy is to seek work in an entirely different field, one in which your skills as a photographer will be viewed as a highly desirable asset.
Here are five fields that make great photography careers:
Even if they’re running their own business, successful photographers generally spend a majority of their time in marketing and other aspects of business operations. Most of the time, there is higher income potential—and more stability—for photographers who involve themselves in the marketing efforts of other corporations.
Entering a marketing position opens the possibility of contributing your own images to replace stock photos. This allows you to direct the look and feel of your company’s brand in a way that draws from the artistic aesthetic you’ve developed. Photographers make strong marketing candidates because they understand composition and are excellent visual storytellers. Photographers are generally not afraid to step outside the box when it comes to creating photos, copy, or making business decisions.
Darkrooms are as archaic as typewriters these days. As digital photography continues to dominate the market, photographers are finding work as skilled digital technicians responsible for post-production retouching. Publishing houses, magazines, and design studios all need employees who have a balanced sense of technical and artistic principles. Photographers have a good grasp of color, lighting, and composition, as well as imaging software and equipment. This makes them more marketable than other professionals who may know how to run post-production programs, but who do not have any training in the arts.
Non-profit organizations rely on effective communications strategies to raise money and build membership. Photographers play an important role in this work, as they have the skills and training to effectively communicate an organization’s mission in images. Whether through blogging, drafting media releases, or developing brochures and other promotional materials, professional photographers can make a huge impact on the success of non-profit foundations.
4. Web Design
The Internet is jam-packed with dull sites that seem to recycle the same bland design elements. Working as a web designer provides an opportunity to make the Internet a richer, more sophisticated place while flexing your creativity. By taking custom photographs for clients’ sites, you can offer a unique service that will set you and your customers apart from the rest.
Photographers who want to maximize their time behind the lens can do so by teaching at public schools, universities, or community art centers. Many will find that working in an educational capacity allows them to continually expose themselves to new industry trends and techniques.
Working with an ever-changing group of students also creates opportunities for inspiration derived from their fresh ideas, questions, and perspectives. Of all the opportunities listed here, becoming a teacher requires the most specialized training. Those who wish to work with university-level students will need to earn an advanced photography degree.
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