Photographers use their technical expertise and creativity to produce photographic images, either to tell a story or to record a live event. Some photographers are paid for photo shoots and travel quite extensively. Others work in studios, either as employees or as owner-employees. Technically skilled photographers may also work in a variety of medical or scientific environments, recording images for reports and studies. The advantages to working as a photographer are not necessarily lucrative, but they can be rewarding all the same.
Opportunities to be Creative
Photography provides an outlet for your creative nature, and successful photographers get paid for doing what they love. Good photographers can bring forth beauty from the most mundane objects, helping people to see things around them as more than they appear to be. Their work may grace the pages of magazines or be hung in commercial galleries. Creating exceptional photography can be lucrative for some; several notable photographers earn millions annually.
Generalize or Specialize
As a photographer, you may generalize or focus only on specific types of photography. Some photographers specialize in advertising photography, for example, while others work as photojournalists or in photographic studios. Other photographers work as freelancers for many employers, taking sports photos for one employer while snapping wedding photos for another. Versatile photographers with good equipment and the right work ethic may find themselves with an always interesting work life and a diverse clientele.
Travel is mandatory for some photographers. Catalog photographers, for instance, may be asked to photograph people and objects in many locations, both at home and abroad. Travel photographers must travel to the locations they're hired to photograph, which may land them in exotic or isolated sites. Photojournalists also may travel quite extensively to many parts of the world on behalf of large media and news organizations.
By creating high quality or memorable photographs, photographers ensure some measure of immortality. Photographs are timeless objects, with photography from the 1840s or even earlier still appreciated in the 21st century. When photographers do what they love, creating photography likely to last for generations, they may also experience high levels of job satisfaction.
The Business of Photography
For many photographers, photography is, by necessity, a business through which they support themselves. And while it's true that professional photographers can make top wages, others earn more middling or average salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, photographers earned a 2012 median salary of $28,490 yearly. If you're serious about earning a living as a photographer, says PhotographyTips.com, be serious as well about the business. Well-paid photographers work to develop their business skills along with their creative and photographic skills
2016 Salary Information for Photographers
Photographers earned a median annual salary of $34,070 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, photographers earned a 25th percentile salary of $23,480, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $52,220, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 147,300 people were employed in the U.S. as photographers.