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If I choose to be a photographer and later on decide I don't want to do that anymore, what other careers can I pursue that relate to being a photographer?

I don't know exactly what career I want, so I want to know all the careers that relate to photographing. #photography #digital-media


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Dennis’s Answer

It will be interesting to see how this question is answered by others in the photo industry. What used to be quite lucrative, such as stock photography, is not so much any more after the digital revolution. I have done assignment photography for business and travel magazines back in the film days; licensed stock travel photography though my own boutique agency and through international agencies such as Alamy and Getty, etc; been a stock photo agent for a few Chinese photographers mostly licensing images for textbooks; have operated a photo tour business since 1981 where I led several international tours and had other pro photographers lead a few as well; and I'm now marketing my travel images as prints, etc, through an online company at Fine Art America, and I have a women's fashion collection, featuring my artistic travel images, of bags and clothing for VIDA, both of which are not very profitable. I also once taught photography at a community college and a workshop for a photo magazine and have written a few articles on travel and for photo magazines. Interesting to do, but all not very profitable.


I've always tried to have as many diverse income streams as possible. That said, I think it's never been as difficult as it is now to generate income because the industry is more competitive than ever and there are many more photographers willing to work for less than ever before. In areas like retouching that Alex mentions above, many photographers like his sister-in-law now do their own Photoshopping and there are retouching companies in countries such as India that will do the work really super cheap. I've also had several encounters with lawyers in the photographic field who were representing textbook publishers that were cheating photographers out of licensing fees, but can't say how successful these lawyers are at making a living doing copyright law. I've always been on the winning side in these suits, but I suspect the lawyers made out much better in the settlements than us photographers.


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Jim’s Answer

Retoucher, Photo Editor, Photo Stylist, Set Lighting for photography.. There are several I position I can think of, the problem with Photography as a career right now is there are so many people out there that are "photographers" that don't know shutter speed from aperture but are running buisnesses and running clients thin.. Some clients care about quality, some just care about price, but some are looking for both and unfortunately there are people that fit all that now with absolutely no professional training other than taking photos of their own kids. I'm self taught, but I started with film 19 years ago and wrapped my head around it as much as I could shooting as much as I could. Business knowledge (pricing, costs, overheads, etc) is just as useful to be a photographer as it to be able to shoot. If you are charging $20 for a session and $2.50 for an 8x10 you might be wildly successful but you're always going to be in the red shooting in a hole.


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Christopher’s Answer

Another: Take Business Courses, here. This is my single biggest failing as a semi-successful professional photographer (I pay the bills, but I wouldn't say that's easy - photographer bills tend to be higher because of additional technology needs). This is also the advice every successful commercial photographer I know has given at the beginning of their courses.


Photojournalism is a bit different: It depends on what you want to do with it. Many fantastic photographs are made by people everyday, and they count as photojournalism images. Many of those photographers have a complete lack of understanding of what or who they are photographing. One of my mentors was a 40 year national geographic staff photographer - he, and his peers, all lament the utter lack of history, politics, art, etc. in large swaths of today's new crop of photographers. I would say learning research skills would be of tremendous help.


If every War Photographer's goal is to take a photograph that stops future wars (or, at least realistically speaking, makes them less horrendous) then who has a better shot at making a compelling, empathy driven photo that is worth looking at over and over and over again. Think of the photo of Phan Thi Kim Phuc, the "napalm girl" in the Vietnam War photographs. Now think - how many photographs from the past decade will be permanently engraved in a society/culture's conscious? There are not many, and it's not possible without enough well-rounded knowledge to elicit empathy through your photograph.


For myself, photography has led to: communications consulting, branding/marketing, graphic design, social media influencing, web developer, video production, and audio production.


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Alex’s Answer

Hi Mara. Photography can lead you into a wide range of other careers. For example, my sister-in-law was a working fashion photographer for a number of years but she also took work as a photo retoucher. That means she would digitally clean up and process images taken on other photo shoots to correct colors, add effects and even clean up blemishes on the models. She also taught photography for a number of years and even did some graphic design. If you hone your Photoshop skills you'll be in a good place to find all sorts of work in that arena.


More importantly its critical that you remember that EVERY career path is open to you no matter what you choose first. If you want to do photography and act, or get a CPA certification and pursue law you can do any and all of it at the same time. Just be sure that when you are focusing on something, give it your undivided attention. I hope that helps.


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Bob’s Answer

I always recommend that someone takes business courses (if not actually minor in business) when they are thinking about photography as a career. This is an area that many photographers lack in formal training. Business classes are almost a must when in college for photography. Other directly related fields include graphic design, public relations (adults are very visual), advertising, and even real estate (always need images for property)


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Rohit’s Answer

you can try fields like editing, direction, styling


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