Photographers use a combination of technical expertise, creativity, and composition skills to produce and preserve images that visually tell a story or record events. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for photographers is expected to increase about 13% from 2010 to 2020 or slightly above average. As of 2010, the average wage for photographers was approximately $30,000 per year and roughly 60% were self-employed. Wages range widely based on experience, specialty, part-time work or full-time employment, and geographic area.
Photographers may specialize in a variety of areas including:
- Portrait photographers. These photographers take pictures of individuals or groups of people and usually work in their own studios. Photographers who specialize in weddings, religious ceremonies, or school photographs often work on location.
- Commercial and industrial photographers take pictures of subjects, such as buildings, models, merchandise, artifacts, and landscapes. These photographs are used for a variety of purposes, including magazine covers and images to supplement analysis of engineering projects. These photographs are frequently taken on location.
- Aerial photographers use planes or helicopters to capture photographs of buildings and landscapes.
- Scientific photographers focus on the accurate visual representation of subjects and limit the use of image manipulation software for clarifying an image. Scientific photographs record scientific or medical data or phenomena. Scientific photographers typically use microscopes to photograph subjects.
- News photographers or photojournalists. These photographers focus on people, places, and events for television, newspapers, or magazines. Photojournalists often work with digital video in addition to still photos. These occupations can be dangerous, especially if a photographer is in a war zone or other dangerous environment.
- Fine arts photographers sell photography as art. Their work is often found at craft shows or on display in local businesses, restaurants, or government buildings. Fine arts photographers typically use traditional silver-halide film, not digital cameras and many have their own studios.
Photographers understand that much of the time, many pictures are taken to get one perfect shot. This is especially true when shooting people, animals, or anything in motion.
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