Photography as a career
Pictures are a powerful medium. They can inform, amuse, shock or amaze and if presented in the right manner, they can be beautiful and creative. Are you creative and imaginative? Do you have an eye for aesthetic detail and composition? Do you enjoy presenting things visually and communicating ideas to others through photographs? Is photography more than a hobby to you and do you feel a ripple of excitement when you imagine displaying your art to others? If your answer to all these questions is yes, then this passion can offer you a lot as a profession.
Sometimes back, the idea of being a professional photographer might not have appealed to many but today lots 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 lead to this change. Many imagine the lifestyle of a photographer to be exotic wherein they meet the rich and the famous and travel first class around the world at someone else’s expense. Well this can prove to be true for you if you are talented and hard working and you understand that there is no formal career structure in photography. There is a chance that you might be clicking pictures at the play school in your locality, but you could also be clicking photographs at the Cannes red carpet.
Photography offers a number of opportunities and the range of the fields that you can venture into. Mentioned below are the different career options possible within the realm of photography.
Press Photographers or Photo Journalists provide the press with pictures that are relevant to the daily news and events. This kind of photography is best done instinctively. Hence, you need to be spontaneous and know what kind of a picture would best illustrate your article. If you are adventurous and willing to work under difficult conditions when needed, then this field is probably for you.
Fashion Photography is the field where one works for fashion houses, designers or individual models. To be a part of this glamorous world, you must have knowledge about latest fashion trends and you should be willing to be experimental and creative.
Portrait Photographers are people-oriented photographers who click snaps of individuals. The subjects range from children to pets, functions to social events etc. You can also specialize as wedding photographers.
Industrial Photographers click photographs of machinery, merchandise, industrial layout, workers at work etc. to be used for company publications and for the purposes of advertising and selling.
Wildlife Photographers capture the animal kingdom and plant life in its most natural and habitual form. This kind of photography is a part of Nature photography which also covers landscapes and scenery. If you love nature and have the ability to capture the perfect sunsets and waterfalls in your camera then this is definitely an option that you could consider.
Feature Photographers narrate an entire story through the medium of photographs. Hence to be a feature photographer, you have to have extensive knowledge of the subject that you are dealing with and you should be willing to work at any given time and place.
Forensic Photographers click photographs at crime scenes from all possible angles with great emphasis on details in order to help the police or detective agencies.
Fine Art Photographers click photographs which are sold as an art form. To be a fine art photographer, you have to be very creative and expressive.
Freelancing is the most popular option in this profession. To be working as a freelancer, you need to have great management skills and the ability to work independently. You might not know where the next job is coming from and their will be the hassles of keeping accounts. But, you can be your own boss and find, shoot and sell your own photographs.
Scientific Photography is used for scientific publications and research reports. The areas that it covers are biology, medicine, chemistry and engineering. You have to have both interest and knowledge to be a part of this field.
Personal Attributes and Skills
To be a photographer, you have to have both creativity and technical knowledge. You must have that extra quality and interest in visuals, colour, light etc. The field of photography is constantly changing with the advancement of technology and hence you have to be fast-paced and willing to learn throughout your career.
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. You would rather begin by working in a studio. One can start as an assistant to senior photographers in which you’d be paid Rs 3500 to Rs 6000. Once you are established, you would be 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.
Eligibility: You can start right after you finish with your schooling [10+2] or you can take up photography after your graduation in any subject.
Where to study?
A number of institutes and universities offer certificate and diploma courses in photography. Some also offer it as three year integrated courses and subsidiary subjects. Provided below is a list of these institutes.
- Degree courses in Photography (B.A. 3 year integrated)
- Utkal University, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa
- Pune University, Fergusson College, Poona
- Diploma Courses (one year)
- Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi-221002.
- Ravishankar University , Raipur-492010.
- Sri Venkateshwara University, Tirupati517502.
- Other institutions are:
- International school of photography
C-7/143, Safdarjung Development Area, Hauz Khas, New Delhi – 110016
- Academy of Photography, Kolkata
- Film and Television Institute of India, Law College Road, Pune -411004 (Photography as a subsidiary subject)
- Film and Television Institute of Tamil Nadu, Chennai -600113 (Photography as a subsidiary subject)
- Fergussen college, Pune( B.A. Degree Course in photography)
- India International Photographic Council, 12, Modern School, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi- 110001
- MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia, Jamianagar, New Delhi -110025 (Photography as a subsidiary subject)
- National Institute of Design, Allahabad-211002, UP
- Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, E.M. Bye Pass Road, Kolkata – 700094 (Photography as a subsidiary subject)
- Southern Film Institute, Thiruvallam, Thiruvananthapuram (1 year certificate course)
- St. Xavier’s Institute of Communication, St. Xaviers college, Fort, Mumbai-400001
- The Film and TV Institute of Tamil Nadu, Chennai – 600113
So, if you can communicate in visual terms and can use your skills and talent to satisfy your clients on the basis of their individual needs, photography can be an exciting and rewarding career for you.