Focus your keen eye on a career as a photographer
Like many other fields, technology is changing photography at a fast pace. Today, cameras do much of the actual work of photography automatically. For example, it's less important today to understand the adjustment of your aperture and shutter speed than it was in the past. There are also changes to ancillary technology, such as scanners and CDs, which are allowing photographers to work quicker, be more detailed and experiment with their medium.
On the other hand, a photographer is expected to understand much more about technology than he or she ever has in the past. For example, it helps to have a solid awareness of graphics programs such as Adobe PhotoShop.
Before you choose a photography school, there are a number of important questions you need to ask yourself, such as:
- How much hands-on experience does the program include?
- What are the teachers like and how do their skills and specializations match up with your needs?
- Will I be learning the skills and technology I need to get ahead in my career?
It's a good idea to consult with a professional photographer, preferably one you know and respect, about the photography school you're interested in. He or she will be able to give you insight into the courses offered and how they will apply to the working world.
The best photography programs combine elements of practical technique and artistic composition. To really get the most out of photography school you want to look for a program that focuses on your weaknesses. For example, if you love artistic photography, it might actually benefit you more to choose a program that emphasizes the technical aspects of the trade.
If you're interested in specializing in digital or traditional photography, you may have to choose your school with this in mind. For example, if you choose to specialize in digital photography, you'll want your school to teach you about how light sensors for digital cameras are fundamentally different from traditional cameras. However, no matter what format you choose to use, the principles of composition will remain the same - a good photograph is a good photograph, regardless of whether it's digital or not.
Tip: The best photography schools will be interested in helping you get a career in the industry. They will have a guidance program in place that will help you find the job you want.
To make a career out of photography, you'll need a "good eye" combined with technical expertise. Job growth is expected in the photography profession over the next several years, but there will also be a lot of competition. There are many who recognize the expanding job market, especially in multimedia production.
Photographers held nearly 150,000 jobs last year, and the majority were self employed. Most salaried photographers work in commercial photography studios, with limited creative potential. Another significant group was employed by the media - news photography and also documentary photography are both growing industries.