Specialty Photographers  

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a professional landscape photographer using a camera and tripod Photographers take photographs to record an event, to tell a story, or for artistic purposes.  Photographers can specialize in commercial photography, in which their photographs are used for business purposes, or can specialize in artistic photography, in which their photography is displayed and sold in art galleries, at craft and photography shows, or on the Internet.  Some photographers participate in both kinds of photography.  In addition to finding a subject to photograph, photographers must arrange it to produce the desired effect through the use of artificial and/or natural light, angles, background treatment, and photographic enhancing tools.

Educational requirements of a photographer depend upon the type of photography.  Artistic photographers, while they can certainly benefit from photography programs and coursework at colleges and universities, don't necessarily need formal education to be successful.  However, employers who hire photojournalists or commercial photographers in specific niches, such as industrial or scientific photographers, prefer those with degrees in photography, as well as experience in the specialty.

The work environment of a photographer depends upon what is being photographed.  Some photographers spend the majority of their time out-of-doors, while others photograph products in studios or in the settings in which they are being used.  Some photographers spend time in darkrooms, though that is becoming less common as digital photography becomes more popular.

sports photographer photographing a surfing contest in Hawaii In addition to understanding equipment, processes, and techniques, photographers should be artistic, have good eyesight and fine-motor skills, and should be flexible enough to be comfortable working with a wide variety of clients, in a wide variety of settings.  Photographers must know how to use computer software programs that allow them to edit images, and should also have some Web and Internet savvy so they can promote their work.  Good business sense is integral to photographers who are self-employed.

Photography is a creative field in which competition is fierce, which means that only the most talented and skilled become recognized.  Those with commercial specialties, such as scientific photography, pet photography, or school photography, have the best chances of success.

Specialty Photographers in each State and the District of Columbia


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About Photographers' Job Responsibilities, Educational Requirements, and Working Conditions