Most people are aware of photography as an art and as a potential career. Studying at one of the California photography schools to earn a degree or other qualification can open many doors into a media career. As well as working for newspapers or magazines, it is also possible to begin a career in television or alternatively move into portrait photography working with people or animals. Regardless of the style of photography or career you want to pursue, as a photographer you should possess creativity, an eye for detail and a high-level of comfort with technology.

Most photographers use digital cameras because of the ease of storage and manipulation. The quality of the photographs taken by digital cameras has increased dramatically over the last five years, making them more accepted by professional photographers. However, some photographers still use film cameras either when a particular subject or assignment demands it or simply because they prefer the more traditional technology.

Digital cameras do give the added benefit of being able to manipulate or touch up the image once the photograph has been taken, something that is impossible with other cameras. These images can then be easily stored, emailed or displayed on the Internet.

Employment and Earnings Statistics

There are nearly 150,000 photographers in the US. The majority are self-employed and sell their photographs to interested third parties. Most freelance photographers tend to concentrate on particular contracts that they might have with one or more newspapers or other publications.

Earnings can vary widely from one photographer to another. On average, though, the employed photographer earns a median of $29,130 per year (May 2010, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor). While it is possible to earn more than this by freelancing, being a salaried earner cuts the costs of having to purchase and maintain all of your own equipment.

Current Requirements for Photographers

Photography is a very attractive profession. Many consider it to be more of an art than a career, but winning highly paid contracts is still important for making a living.

Of course, another important factor is the introduction and increasingly widespread use of digital cameras. As digital photography increases in popularity and decreases in cost, more and more people enter the photography profession because there are fewer barriers to entry. As a result, many contracts may be filled by amateur photographers in the future.

Despite this, photographers that have earned a certificate, diploma or degree in photography do stand a greater chance of employment. Completing some form of formal education demonstrates a level of commitment, dedication, and knowledge that is looked highly upon by employers and clients.

The Best Course of Education

While digital photography has opened the door to more photographers, it has also increased the amount of technical knowledge required to produce high quality photography. A program in photography will help students hone their artistic skills and teach them how to achieve the best results from both film and digital cameras.

Freelance workers, on the other hand, generally only require a good portfolio. This portfolio is a compilation of the photographer’s best work and enables clients to see the quality and style of the photography prior to committing to a project. There is no need for the prints to have been published previously.

View a list of schools in California offering Photography programs >>

Considering Becoming a Freelance Photographer

Businesses are always looking for ways to save money without sacrificing profits. One of the most popular and viable ways to do this is to outsource tasks to companies or individuals that work on a contract basis. As newspaper and magazine sales slow in favor of online publications, more and more businesses are looking for the service of a reliable and talented freelancer.

Freelancing offers excellent opportunities but one should always consider the costs involved in running your own business. Being a freelance photographer necessitates the purchase of a camera and all the other equipment necessary such as film, photo paper and chemicals for developing the photographs. It also requires general business knowledge as well as advertising and marketing skills.

Photography Program Details

A degree is obviously the most in-depth route for starting a photographic career. Most photography degree programs will cover techniques, equipment, composition and style. Because of the tendency towards digital photography, the use of computer software may also form a big part of any photography degree.

A degree will also help you to build your all-important portfolio. If you are armed with both a college degree and a high-quality portfolio it will much easier to land your dream job. Your degree will also teach you to promote yourself, how to handle clients, and the basics of advertising and marketing as well. This is all essential information if you wish to pursue a career as a professional photographer.

View a list of schools in California offering Photography programs >>