Photography is a vast field with numerous specializations and sub-specializations. As a result, there are a number of career options for photography graduates. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 136,300 photographers employed in the as of 2012.1
Here are the areas of specialization where photography services are needed based on current market trends:
Commercial photography: Many photography students choose a career in commercial photography, as corporations continue to need compelling images to include in marketing materials to sell their products. On the other hand, fashion photography remains to be one of the most competitive genre in commercial photography because it has the greatest exposure to media and thus fame.
Portraiture: In today’s society where photos are just as essential to creating first impressions on the internet as celebrating milestones, demand exists for portrait photographers. Projecting the right image is no only crucial to corporations and entertainment professionals, but it is also important to developing one’s personal brand. For instance, there has been an increase in demand for boudoir photography for women (and recently, men) to project an image different from their daily lives. Moreover, the American wedding industry is worth $51 billion (as of 2013) and it is suggested that couples allocate 10 – 12 percent of their wedding budget to photography and videography. These figures seem to suggest a bright future for portrait photographers.
While these specializations tend to dominate the industry, it does not mean that there are no career prospects for photographers in other areas of specializations.
Continuous technological improvements in photography require photographers to be digitally savvy. Photographers with expertise in digital photo editing and cinematography may find themselves providing services in these niche areas.
The key to developing a career as a photographer involve keeping up and being able to capitalize on market trends, uncovering hidden opportunities through your network and learning how to differentiate in a highly competitive industry. Photography is as much of an art and science as it is a business. In addition to photography and art courses, students should take business and entrepreneurial classes to learn how to market their skills and manage their career as a business.
Doing what you love may not always bring the amount of money you desire, but it will your life less stressful if you are able to manage their careers effectively.
Grose, Jessica (2013). The $51 Billion Wedding Industry Toasts Post-DOMA Bump, Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved from: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-28/the-51-billion-wedding-industry-toasts-a-post-doma-bump
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Photographers. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/photographers.htm