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How to Become a Photographer

By The Arty Teacher - November 6, 1989

What is a Photographer?

A photographer is a creative professional who uses a camera to capture and express artistic visions, emotions, or stories through images.

What Skills does a Photographer need?

To become a photographer, you need an eye for capturing beautiful moments, the ability to use a camera, and the patience to learn about lighting and composition to create stunning images that tell stories through your lens. It’s like freezing time with your camera!

What Qualification does a Photographer Need?

Formal qualifications for becoming a photographer often involve a blend of education, technical skill development, and practical experience. While a formal degree isn’t always mandatory, many photographers pursue a Bachelor’s degree in photography, visual arts, or a related field to gain foundational knowledge in composition, lighting, editing software, and camera techniques. Photography programs often cover topics such as visual storytelling, digital imaging, and business practices. Hands-on experience through internships, assisting established photographers, or personal projects is crucial for skill development and portfolio building. Mastering editing software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, along with a strong understanding of various camera types and photography styles, further enhances one’s capabilities. Additionally, continuously developing a diverse portfolio that showcases technical proficiency, creativity, and a unique style is essential in the competitive field of photography.

Different Types of Photographer

The field of photography includes various specialisations, each focusing on different subjects, styles, and purposes:

  1. Portrait Photographer: Specialises in capturing individuals, often in studio settings, focusing on expressions, emotions, and personality.
  2. Wedding/Event Photographer: Captures moments at weddings, parties, or events, emphasising storytelling, group shots, and candid moments.
  3. Commercial/Advertising Photographer: Creates images for commercial purposes like advertisements, product catalogs, or marketing campaigns, often working with art directors and brands.
  4. Fashion Photographer: Focuses on editorial or commercial fashion photography, collaborating with models, stylists, and designers to create striking visuals for publications or brands.
  5. Landscape/Nature Photographer: Captures natural landscapes, wildlife, or outdoor scenes, emphasizing natural beauty, lighting, and environmental storytelling.
  6. Architectural/Real Estate Photographer: Specialises in photographing buildings, interiors, or real estate properties, showcasing architecture, design, and space.
  7. Fine Art Photographer: Creates images for artistic expression, often exhibited in galleries or museums, focusing on personal vision, concepts, and creative exploration.
  8. Sports Photographer: Captures action-packed moments in sports events, highlighting athleticism, energy, and drama.
  9. Photojournalist: Documents news events, stories, or current affairs through images, emphasising storytelling and capturing moments with journalistic integrity. Learn More.

These specialisations in photography cater to different industries, subjects, and creative styles, requiring specific skill sets, technical expertise, and often a distinct artistic vision.

What Can You do to Build a CV to become a Photographer?

Here are steps you can take now, while in school, to start building a CV for a future career as a photographer:

  1. Learn Photography Basics: Enroll in photography classes or workshops offered at school or in the community to understand camera operation, composition, lighting, and basic editing techniques.
  2. Practice Photography: Experiment with different subjects, styles, and techniques by taking photos regularly. Focus on capturing diverse subjects such as portraits, landscapes, still life, or action shots.
  3. Build a Portfolio: Document and compile your best photographs into a portfolio showcasing your skills, creativity, and artistic vision. Include a variety of subjects and styles to display versatility.
  4. Attend Workshops or Seminars: Participate in photography workshops, exhibitions, or seminars to learn from professionals, explore new techniques, and network with fellow enthusiasts.
  5. Join Photography Clubs or Groups: Engage with photography clubs, online forums, or social media communities to connect with other aspiring photographers, share knowledge, and gain inspiration.
  6. Assist Professional Photographers: Seek opportunities to assist or shadow local photographers during events, photoshoots, or projects to gain hands-on experience and industry insights.
  7. Enter Photography Competitions: Participate in local or online photography contests for students to challenge your skills, gain exposure, and receive feedback on your work.
  8. Learn Editing Software: Familiarise yourself with photo editing software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop through tutorials to enhance and refine your images.
  9. Experiment and Develop Your Style: Explore different photography styles, techniques, and themes to develop your unique artistic vision and signature style.

By actively engaging in these activities, you can develop your photography skills, gain practical experience, and start building a strong foundation for a future career as a photographer.

Learn more about Art Careers.

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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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