Photographers may specialize in one field of photography or they may generalize in a combination of two or more types of photography. Prior to selecting the photography school you are going to attend. Narrow down the specific fields of photography you are most interested in. The differences between photographer specialties are in the subject matter, work conditions and in the type of equipment used and required for design and composition of the photograph.
Photographer fields of study for you to consider:
Wedding and Portrait Photographers pose their subjects and carefully set up lighting and use flash units to enhance the images.
- Fine arts photographers sell their images as fine artwork. In addition to technical proficiency, fine arts photographers need artistic talent and creativity.
- Commercial Photographers shoot scenic photography for advertising, stock image and print sales. They also photograph products like food and merchandise or buildings and architecture.
- News Photographers typically work on location at news-worthy events. They take pictures that enhance stories used by the news media.
- Industrial Photographers shoot photos of machinery, employees working, equipment, products, and company officials. The images are typically done on location and used for the analysis of engineering projects, publicity, or company records.
- Medical Photographers specialize in more technical forms of photography, such as Ophthalmic, Surgical or Pathological photography.
- Freelance Photographers line up their own work and projects. Then they sell their photography directly to clients. They must be highly motivated to become successful.
Which field should you pursue? Ask yourself, why do I want to be a professional photographer, for the love or the money? Most of us do it for the love of photography. If you do it for the love of photography, consider combining your passion for photography with other interests like chemistry, medicine, news, special events etc. Important things to consider when choosing a specialized area of photography:
- Working Conditions- If you want to work indoors in an air conditioned office or outdoors in the elements and on the move.
- Salary Range- The compensation you can expect from each field of photography varies greatly. Research pay ranges before you select your field of study.
- Educational Requirements- In some fields of photography like portrait and fine art, talent and experience are enough for motivated individuals. However additional education in areas such as engineering, medicine, biology, or chemistry are required for other fields.
- Advancement Opportunities- Opportunities for advancement at a small photography studio are limited. Photographers in other industries such as media, medical and scientific photography can find room for moving up.
Careers in traditional photography like the media positions are highly competitive, since salaried jobs are extremely desirable. Some of the less crowded fields in the photography profession are the aerial, industrial and scientific fields of photography. In addition to photography skills, these jobs require college degrees and specialized technical training. When you carefully consider all of the factors, I'm confident you will choose the right career path.