With all the changes in photography over past few years, traditional film-based photography skills, while not completely outdated, have taken second place to the digital revolution. New digital photography software has made it possible for artists to take pictures in any location and immediately upload them to a computer system, where more software makes it possible to manipulate the photos in an almost infinite number of ways.
Colleges now offer degrees specifically designed to build skills in digital photography that include courses in computer management of photography files as well as use of the equipment involved in taking good pictures, composition and lighting, and other effects.
How Much Do Digital Photographers Make?
Photographers do not earn as much as the median salary for all jobs, with recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data stating that median hourly rate for photographers was $14.00. However, this includes all photographers working in all conditions, and many of these employees may be only part-time or performing photography as a second job.
Photographers who have steady jobs with newspapers, for example, may earn more for their work than those who freelance. Photographers who have their own portrait studios may earn good salaries by targeting certain populations at certain times, such as bridal parties or other special events.
What Is Involved in Getting A Digital Photography Degree?
Technically, a degree is not required to be a photographer. A certain amount of artistic ability and study is necessary to make good photographs however, but these skills can often be acquired through practice.
Photographers who really want to advance their careers may choose to get a post-secondary degree in digital photography. This is usually a two-year degree path through a vocational school or a junior college, but some schools offer four-year degrees. A typical two-year digital photography curriculum includes courses in the history of photography, commercial photography principles, and imaging and studio practices, as well as business courses, lighting classes, and communication courses. A typical four-year curriculum adds the basic core classes common to all bachelor’s degrees as well as more extensive coursework in digital production and computer software as well as more art classes.
What Is the Job Outlook for Digital Photographers?
Photographers are expected to enjoy an overall job growth rate of 13 percent, about as fast as all occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth in this field is slowed somewhat due to the relative ease of taking digital photographs for the amateur.
Photography is a field in which a person can work as much or a little as he or she desires. If you seek a job with a media outlet, for example, you will probably have more or less regular assignments. On the other hand, if you choose to freelance, you can probably set your own hours but you will need to be active to discover photography opportunities. In fact, many freelancers actually work more hours than photographers who have “regular” jobs.
Digital photography also allows a great deal of photographic work to be done at home or in an office. Once the pictures are taken, the photographer’s job of “developing” the pictures and putting them into an acceptable media format begins. Many photographers offer digital “album” services that allow customers to view their pictures online, pick out their favorites, and have them downloaded into a format to share among family and friends. Wedding photographers, for example, often prepare online “albums” for purchase by the bride and groom that they can then share with their guests. Other digital photographers prepare slide shows for use at parties and other events with special effects and music to enhance the video presentation.
Digital photography can be an exciting and rewarding career for many people as a full or part time career, plus the skills learned may even save you a few bucks down the road!