Photography Career Profiles

In the photography industry, there are many different careers to go into, the most popular being landscape, commercial, portrait and event photography. There is a number of opportunities that could come from this course, from going on to an apprenticeship to gaining a job for a company, or even becoming a freelance photographer.

Career Profile 1: Music Photographer

A music photographer shoots live concerts, musician portraits and band promo photographs. To do this job, a person must require certain technical skills such as being able to use a professional camera with confidence, this is due to when shooting live concerts, they much be able to adapt to change the camera setting very quickly as there is usually a lot going on at a concert, including the frequent changing of lighting and the fact the the musician/band may move around a lot and stand still. Having the skill to be able to know your camera and its setting very well and being able to adapt to the chaining situations require a lot of attention and quick thinking. The person will also have to know a lot about editing their images due to again, the changing of lighting and also when doing a promo shoot for a band/musician. Bands may want the photographer to edit their image to black and white and may even want to change the lighting and possibly even make adjustments to the band/musicians themselves (e.g. making them have no blemishes); this is very common nowadays because most portraits of famous musicians have been tweaked using different editing software’s. Music photographs also require some personal skills such as they will have to be confident to talk to the musicians so they know exactly what is required of them. Another personal skill they will have to require is the ability to talk to other music photographers and music managers so they can get their name out which makes them more approachable and also makes them more likely to get a job in the industry because their name will be out there and people will know about them.

When starting off as a music photography it is their job to go out and look for concerts and bands to photograph, it is quite a difficult career to get in to because you’re most likely to get better and better jobs through experience and a built up portfolio. After their portfolio is built up, then clients would go to the photographer as opposed to the other way round. There are many benefits to this profession such as getting to meet a lot of people and it is also very enjoyable to shoot concerts and bands/musicians, if that is something that you love. It is a given that if you want to be a music photographer you must love music and of course photography so it is the perfect job for someone who wants to interpret both interests and turn it into a career. Although, this career can be very exciting, it also has negative aspects, such as it can be difficult to make a living out of it, most music photographers can work up to 5 or 6 days a week to earn a living off the job. It is also extremely difficult to get into this career as you need to know the right people and you must require a lot of skill and the right characteristics. The music photography industry is also extremely competitive so again it is handy to know the right people.

Qualification aren’t very necessary in this line of work, it is usually all down to experience and a brilliant portfolio. A lot of music photographers start of doing apprenticeships and working there way up in the business and then they start freelancing, most music photographer are freelance. You can however, earn a lot of money in the industry if you put in the time and effort, on average you can get up to £2000 per event and up to around £250 per photograph. From this career, it can be easy to venture in to other careers such as  portrait or fashion photography, as a lot of music photography is shooting people, if a person has the skill they can easily get it to other careers that involve portraiture. Another career music photographers can get into is documentary photography, there have been a few examples of photographers that follow around a certain band of artist and document their life, for example, Mick Rock, famously documented David Bowie and turned his photographs in to a book to show off Bowie’s lifestyle.

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There are many famous photographers in the music industry, for example, Mick Rock, Pennie Smith and Anton Corbijn, here are some examples of their work:

Mick Rock:

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Pennie Smith:

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Anton Corbijn:

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Career Profile 2: Action/Sport Photographer

An action or sport photographer shoots live sports, it is a branch of photojournalism. Most sport photographers shoot images for magazines, newspapers or sporting websites; this type of photography is usually freelance, covering events and then selling your work to the appropriate publications. Bigger sports teams, however, usually employ their own photographer to cover their games/events.

Photographing sports may have a variety of challenges, due to the fact the people you are shooting will be fast moving; this will require high-tech camera equipment with extremely fast shutter speed. Another challenge sport photographers may encounter is the weather conditions, if the weather is poor, it may lead to bad lighting.  There will also be tight deadlines for this type of photography, as the images you may take might have to be edited and ready to be in the next days newspaper or magazine.

An education in photography is not necessary to become a sports photographer, it is important to have a solid portfolio of your experience, and maintaining a strong list of contacts in the field will also be important for your success. Moreover, although having qualifications in photography are not always necessary, it could help you build technical knowledge of the field.

There are personal trait that are also important if you want to go in to this industry, for example it is important to have confidence in both your photography work and when it come to talking to clients and other contacts in the industry. To get into this line of work, the best idea is to start off as an assistant to an experienced photography; this will allow a person to build technical knowledge. Sport photographers can earn up to £50,000 annually, depending on who they work for. An example of famous sport photographers include:

Bob Martin

Michael Clark

Walter Iooss

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