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Photography: Prepare for a Career in a Diverse Field

Learning to be a good photographer can be a snap. From 1836 when French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took the world's first photo to today's digital SLRs or cell phone cameras, the secret to taking good images lies in knowing your equipment and developing an artistic eye. Online photography schools can offer expert training, whether you want to work in wedding photography or be a commercial photographer, photojournalist, freelance photographer, and more.

From Wedding Photography to Photojournalist: Photography Career Fields

Not everyone will become an Alfred Eisenstaed, Ansel Adams, or Annie Leibovitz, but fortunately, the broad range of careers in photography offers an incredible opportunity for you to earn a living while standing behind the lens. Here are but a few niches within the photography professions where you might find yourself a rewarding career.

  • Photojournalism. News reporters capture the drama, heartbreak, delight, and triumph of daily life for newspapers, magazines, online media, and internal publications in business, technology, health care, sports, education, the government, and more.
  • Commercial Photography. Think of the excitement of working for an agency that produces images for advertising, public relations, catalogues, online merchants, retail stores and chains, or fashion companies. One day you might complete a series of shots for a highway billboard, shift to a glamour fashion shoot on a runway, and complete your day by taking photos of company executives at a shareholders meeting.
  • Science or Industrial Photography. Organizations across the business sector need trained photographers to illustrate reports, training manuals, systems designs, and work-flows. You might shoot images for manufacturers, medical laboratories, or scientific book publishers.
  • Freelance or Portrait Photographer. You can build a healthy clientele taking holiday pictures of families and children, shooting yearbook pictures for a graduating class, or capturing a bride and groom as they take their first kiss as husband and wife.
  • Photo Laboratory Technician. Here, you can work behind the scenes, in a photo lab that still uses enlargers and chemicals, or on a desktop photo-editing system, altering, cropping, and adjusting the size and quality of images for use in print, online, or broadcast media.
  • Fine Arts Photographer. You can print and exhibit your photos for art shows, crafts fairs, museum exhibitions, and more.

Learning Your Photography Skills and Finding Your Niche

Online certificate and college degree programs in photography can school you on the history of the photographic arts, the development and use of traditional as well as digital cameras and lenses, and both traditional darkroom techniques and desktop image editing software.

You can also receive instruction in the selection and use of filters, lenses, lighting, backdrops, tripods, light meters, and other essential tools of the photography trade. You might take an internship with a professional studio or media organization. Other photographers enter the field by working as a photographer's assistant, helping an established photographer with transporting gear, working with clients, setting up lighting, and posing shots.

Many programs foster your development of a print and digital photography portfolio of work to show employers or individuals seeking your services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of all working photographers in the country are self-employed, making them one of the largest group of professionals who are their own bosses.

If you have the eye and the desire, there are many ways to find success in the diverse photographic field.

Explore Schools Offering Photography Programs