Photographic Technology Career and Salary Facts

Photographers may work in fine arts photography, portrait photography, scientific photography or photojournalism. Keep reading to learn more about careers involving photographic technology, the training needed to pursue them and the salary you could earn. Schools offering Digital Media Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does A Photographic Technology Professional Do?

When you study photographic technology, you can work as a photographer in a multitude of settings. If fine arts is your interest, you might pursue artistic photography, in which you take creative pictures to sell or exhibit. For a potentially steadier source of income, you may work as a portrait photographer, which would involve taking photos at weddings, graduation ceremonies and many other special events. You may also take school portraits or work in a studio, taking staged photographs of individuals or families.

Another option is to specialize in photography for business or science. As a commercial photographer, you might take pictures that are used in advertisements, websites or catalogs. Industrial photographers take pictures of company employees, machines or tools for record-keeping or other business-related purposes. If you'd prefer to contribute to science, you can work as a scientific photographer; this field requires a knowledge of science and can involve specialized equipment that is used to capture microscopic images or to record experiments.

Another career option involving photographic technology is photojournalism. As a photojournalist, you'll tell stories and report on news through your photography. This career often involves extensive travel as you go anywhere the stories are, from music festivals to warzones. If you enjoy the outdoors but prefer a potentially more peaceful setting, you may consider specializing in nature photography, which involves taking pictures of landscapes and wildlife, or aerial photography, which involves capturing images from airplanes or helicopters.

What Might I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), photographers earned an annual mean wage of $40,280, as of May 2015. That figure included all types of photographers, including portrait photographers, photojournalists and aerial photographers. The highest wages could be found in the District of Columbia, where the annual mean wage was $61,510. Other top-paying states included New York, Rhode Island and California.

What Degree Programs Are Available?

Photographic technology is most often available as an associate's degree field. This type of program provides you with the technical training in photographic technology that will enable you to start your career. You may study framing, lighting and digital photograph editing. You may also learn about drawing and design concepts in order to develop your overall esthetic as a photographer. Additional coursework may cover the history of the medium.

Most programs also include hands-on training in various career paths. For example, you may take a class in portrait studio photography or photojournalism. This often involves getting out of the classroom and taking photographs in a live setting. Should you choose to continue your formal education, you can earn a bachelor's or master's degree in photography. A master's degree is generally considered the terminal degree in the photography field.

What Are Some Alternative Related Careers?

Whereas photographers create and edit still images, cinematographers and videographers work with moving pictures. Cinematographers help to create videos for entertainment, such as movies or cartoons. They might also film acted commercials. Videographers, on the other hand, capture events like weddings on film. They might also work on corporate documentaries. Photographic technology professionals also share similar skills with graphic designers. However, where photographers will use computer software to touch up an image, a graphic designer works with a variety of elements. They may set up the layout for print or online pages containing images, text, headings, and logos.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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