Exploring this Job
Photography is a field that anyone with a camera can explore. To learn more about this career, you can join high school camera clubs, yearbook or newspaper staffs, photography contests, and community hobby groups. You can also seek a part-time or summer job in a photo studio or camera shop, or work as a developer in a laboratory or processing center.
If you are interested in becoming a publicity photographer, volunteer to take photographs for community and nonprofit organizations in your area. This will you give a good introduction to the field, and even allow you the chance to have your work published in press releases and at an organization's Web site. Start a blog that features your photographs. Talk to photographers about their careers. Visit https://www.asmp.org/find-a-photographer and http://aspp.com/find-a-pro/search-pros for lists of media photographers. Finally, consider becoming a high school- or college-level member of American Photographic Artists.
Many photographers rely on public relations work or corporate photography for a large bulk of their assignments. They are often hired by the public relations department of a corporation to take formal portraits of executives or shoot photos to accompany a press release or for use on a Web site or in brochures. Photographers are often hired to document special events such as the opening of a new facility, a community event, or a corporate-sponsored charitable event. Some photographers may be asked to film an event for use in a video or Internet release.
Photography is both an artistic and technical occupation. There are many variables in the process that a knowledgeable photographer can manipulate to produce a clear image or a more abstract work of fine art. First, photographers know how to use cameras and can adjust focus, shutter speeds, aperture, lenses, and filters. They know about the types and speeds of films. Photographers also know about light and shadow, deciding when to use available natural light and when to set up artificial lighting to achieve desired effects.
Most photographers today use digital cameras, rather than traditional silver-halide film cameras (for which film is developed in a laboratory). With this technology, film is replaced by microchips that record pictures in digital format. Pictures can then be downloaded onto a computer's hard drive. Using special software, photographers edit the images on the screen and place them directly onto the layout of a Web site or brochure. Most photographers continually experiment with photographic processes to improve their technical proficiency or to create special effects.
Many times, photographers work with public relations professionals such as designers and writers to create publicity campaigns. Some photographers write for trade and technical journals, teach photography in schools and colleges, act as representatives of photographic equipment manufacturers, sell photographic equipment and supplies, produce documentary films, or do freelance work.