Photography has always been an important industry and with the rise of the internet, the need for high-quality photos for many purposes has never been higher. That’s why photography as a career is still a very popular option – but do you need to have formal training or are there other routes into it?
The formal training route
While having a post-secondary education isn’t a requirement to become a photographer, many do choose to attend college and university to study the craft and take a bachelor’s degree to improve their employment prospects. There are also lots of courses available through community colleges, vocational and technical institutes and even through trade schools to help start your education.
Careers such as photojournalism or scientific or industrial photography do often require a college degree in photography or a field related to it. So, a degree in biology or chemistry might be useful for a scientific photographer or a journalism degree for a photojournalist.
But that’s not to say that if you don’t have formal education, you can’t’ become a photographer – look at the example of Bryant Eslava if you need inspiration. When he was just 19 years old he was already a photography star with a widely followed Tumblr photo blog, Bryant is only now looking to add formal training to his natural talent and real-world experience.
The most important thing for a photographer is to take photos and you can do that with a good quality smartphone these days. Start building a portfolio and find what you love to photograph – the more you can specialise, the more you will stand out. Make contacts in the industry and see if you can get the chance to shadow or assist a more experienced photographer.
Other ways to make money from photography
With the internet, you don’t need to be a classic type of photographer to make money either. Gone are the days where you had to specialise in something and sell your services through a studio or agency. You can easily make money online from photography.
Stock photos are in huge demand due to the need for quality images alongside web content. From mock-ups of products and flat lay shots to photos of almost anything in life – if you can take interesting and high-quality shots, you can sell them to big stock photo sites and make some money from it. Or eventually, you can even set up your own online shop to sell your photos, charging per shot or a monthly subscription.
Be the photographer you want
The great thing about the modern photography industry is that there is room for everyone and countless different ways to make it into a career. You can go through formal education and look at jobs like photojournalism or you can get loads of hands-on experience and go into portrait or wildlife photography. You can start your own blog and create a following for what you do or you can create quality stock images and supply others with the photos that they need.