Who Should Consider Photography as a Career

Photography is not generally something you will succeed in unless you have more than simply a passing interest. Do not be fooled into thinking that simply because digital cameras have made the hobby less expensive and more accessible that anyone can pick up a camera and take professional-grade photographs. If anything, a digital camera makes this harder in some ways. A photography career will take equal amounts of creativity, technical knowledge, and persistence.

Creativity Can Not Be Taught

Creativity is something that cannot directly be taught. People are generally either creative or they aren’t. If you can see the potential shot in everything around you then there is a very real chance you have the level of creativity required. It may be necessary to take photographs of people, landscapes, nature and even food. It is essential that you can create a professional photograph from any one of these photographic subjects.

Technical Knowledge Must Be Taught

Technical knowledge, on the other hand, can be taught. By gaining a degree from a photography school in California you will be taught all of the finer nuances of digital and film cameras. You will be taught about natural and synthetic lighting and conditions. You will essentially be taught how to make the most boring of subjects or difficult of conditions work in your favor. This shouldn’t, however, be confused with creativity. While photographic techniques can be taught, you cannot be shown how to find the best picture.

Persistence Will Pay Off

Persistence is necessary on many different levels. Not only do freelance photographers have to be persistent in marketing themselves and contacting editors, they must also be persistent in their pursuit of high-quality photography. It isn’t always possible to get the shot you want the first time, or the second time or even the hundredth time. Getting the right light and composition for the perfect shot can take minutes, or it can take hours or even days. Persistence and patience are attributes that will pay off above all else.

Getting a Photography Job without a Photography Degree

If you intend to look for a salaried job then you should be aware that some companies look for very specific degrees. Scientific photographers can walk into a job if they have a degree in science and a strong photographic portfolio. In these cases, candidates that can demonstrate this combination are more likely to get the job than a candidate with a photographic degree.


Becoming a freelance photographer is certainly a viable option. Businesses rarely have an ongoing need for photographers but they do have the occasional need. They generally meet these needs through subcontracting photography work to a freelance photographer. You may be surprised at the number of businesses that require the infrequent services of a photographer. Next time you look at a fast food menu or browse through a company brochure think about the photographs you see. A photographer somewhere was paid money to take photographs of burgers and of people on talking on the telephone. Weddings and other events also provide a good source of income for freelance photographers.

Selling Yourself and Your Pictures over the Internet

The Internet is a superb place to sell your photographic wares. In particular there are many stock photography sites that give web designers and advertising/marketing professionals the opportunity to purchase photographs for use on websites or company collateral. These stock photography companies will take a commission each time one of your photographs sells; however, the value of the marketing power that they provide generally far exceeds this fee. You never know who might purchase your photograph and whether they will need more pictures in the future.

A Final Word of Advice for Aspiring Photographers

The best advice that anyone can offer an aspiring photographer is to take photographs. Take as many photographs as you can and of as many different subjects in as many conditions as possible. Not only will this help you to develop style and skill but will also provide you with the photographs you need to compile your portfolio. A strong portfolio is absolutely essential in any photographic job.

Additional Resources

If you are interested in pursuing a career in photography, you may want to view a list of schools in California offering degrees and diplomas in photography.