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What jobs can you get with a photography major?

I'm strongly considering doing a photography major, but other than working as a freelance photographer or working for a magazine company, I don't know of many jobs that are specifically for photographers. #photography #majors #job

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David’s Answer

Well, this is a big question. I'll begin by suggesting that a degree in photography is not a prerequisite to being a working photographer. Photography jobs require that you, the photographer, be able to produce the images your client is paying for. You will need to have a complete understanding of how cameras work and how to use them to make compelling images. You need to build a portfolio of your very best images that illustrate your ability to see and capture great photographs. As to what jobs are available; what interests you? Sports, photojournalism, weddings, advertising, etc, etc. A Google search will give you lots of ideas.

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Mark’s Answer

Hi Brianna--

Wow! Photography skills can be used in so many industries and places. Not all the jobs are glamorous or require you to use your artistic skills, but here are a few that I can think of offhand:

• On set photographer - Most productions have a photographer on site during the making of motion pictures and TV shows

• Crime/Law Enforcement photographer - There is always a need for photographs of crime scenes and their details and evidence

• Weddings/Portraits - This, of course is a common one we think of--and you can specialize in a sub-genre like kids, pets, studio, outdoor, etc.

• Product photography - Every company that makes goods needs photographic representation of what they sell. So do catalogs and websites!

• Real Estate - A special eye (and need for special lenses) to represent what a house, building or suite looks like. New requirements for drone shots, video, 360 degree and 'whatever comes next'

• Medical - A constant need for good photographs of our bodies inside and out. Normal and diseased, autopsy photos, shots for education

• Insurance - Companies use adjusters to go on the scene--they need photographs to decide on claims and to use as evidence as to their decisions

• Underwater photography - As specialized skill that can be used in many of the genres above

• Arial photography - Whether it is you that is airborne, or skills with a drone, this special skill can also be applied to many of the needs above

That is just a few things that I can think of off the top of my head—there are many more.

Good luck in your search!


Mark recommends the following next steps:

Start with a simple Google search "jobs for photographers" and go from there—your results will give you a pathway to look for more

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Dennis’s Answer

In four decades as a professional photographer doing assignments for magazines and corporate publications, no one ever asked if I had studied photography or had a degree of any kind. I do have a college degree in social sciences and geography and I consider that degree was more useful than any photography degree. Photography is a skill that can be self-taught and attending some workshops and/or a few photo classes in a community college can be helpful in building a portfolio of your work, which is how you will ultimately be judged as a professional. Photography is furthermore fundamentally a business, a very competitive one, and your money would be better spent taking business courses. If you are not business savvy you won't last long before you have to find another line of work.

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Christopher’s Answer

You are correct. Virtually all jobs are now freelance work in photography industry. If your school teaches craft and technique (lighting, studio lighting, editing, image sequencing, etc) I would take those courses and then cross train in something else.

The first non-freelance job in photography I got was not until over 10 years of freelancing and only 15-20% of it is photography and the rest is curriculum design, graphic design, website management, and language audio recording, all things I picked up/learned while freelancing.