The Life of a Photographer
They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Wherever we look around us, we see pictures on billboards, on the internet, in magazines, in newspapers, on food boxes, on leaflets, in brochures…if you think about it, there are photographs practically anywhere you look in the modern world! That is itself gives an indication to the immense need for photographers. If you are into communicating yourself visually, if you have an eye for detail, if you are into aesthetics, if you enjoy playing with color combination, if you tend to look at visuals differently from others, if you feel excited showing this difference to others…this profession is for you.
Whatever the exact nature of work that a photographer chooses, it is ultimately making images that can be appreciated by others, in very simple terms. Today, getting into photography is easier and more structured than it was say 20 years ago in India. Not only are there more institutes to study the subject today, the market itself has grown thanks to the rise of mass communication as a whole. The life of a photographer could range from shooting wild life in Africa, or shooting red carpet images at a film festival, or hobnobbing with the whose who of the fashion industry, or shooting weddings and events. What you exactly end up with is a matter of choice, and hard work.
- The Work
Being a photographer can mean working in a range of industries from weddings, events, advertising, automative, interiors and many more…
- 1. Advertising Photography – Advertising photography is a highly rewarding career option, both in terms of creativity and monetary returns. Ad photographers usually work closely with art directors of ad companies, bringing their ideas into a visual reality.
- 2. Fashion Photography – Those with an eye for fine detail and an outgoing personality would do well in the fashion industry. The job of a fashion photographer primarily involves conveying the fashion designers’ creations visually. The photographer would need to understand the thought process involved in the fashion creation, and use appropriate locations, styling and props to add to the feel of the creation.
- 3. Wildlife Photography – If you are inclined towards wildlife, it could be a rewarding career to become a wildlife photographer, although we should mention that this could be tricky to get into as it requires a dedicated approach to wildlife itself, apart from photography skills. Once you have a good portfolio, you could approach wildlife magazines and stock photo agencies to begin a career. It is of course a highly specialized field with an equally rewarding career.
- 4. Industrial Photography – Industrial photography is a highly lucrative field, where photographers shoot the core industrial practices of a company. It could be automobile factories, steel plants, corporate offices and such. Basically documenting the work that goes behind the scenes in an industry. These images are usually used in company catalogs, web sites and advertising material.
- 5. Wedding & Events Photography – Shooting wedding and events is probably the most widely practiced form of photography. We truly believe there is something for everyone here. Just as wedding budgets vary from end to end with the nature and status of the families involved, wedding photography can be candid images, posed studio like portraiture, photojournalistic stories of the couple…the ideas limited only to your creativity, time and budget. This is definitely one of the most lucrative career option for a photographer.
- 6. Product Photography – In today’s online market place, you can buy almost any product on online stores. All of these need to be photographed of course, and this has opened up a huge requirement of product imaging. While some companies hire staff photographers on salary basis, others outsource complete projects to freelancers.
- The skillets that you need
A photographer needs to be a mix of intense creativity as well as sound technical knowledge. It is great to have immense visual imagination, but of little use as a photographer if you cannot bring your idea into reality in a photograph. This is where a sound technical education in the field is of help. Also, the industry is under a constant change with new gear hitting the market every year. It is for a photographer to stay abreast of market trends, and stay tuned into the latest developements. This is something you need to get used to as a part of your career – the learning never really ends!
- The Money!
- Photography can be a highly rewarding career in terms of money. Today, opportunities are many more compared to a decade or two ago. You can expect a starting salary of 3-4 lakhs per annum, which is higher than most other careers. This also means you can make the money spent on your course really quickly. Add to that the odd freelance shoots, and the only thing that can limit your immediate growth is your portfolio, and your marketing skills, both of which you should be ready with before you enter the industry. Again, a good course at a reputed institute helps here. Once you are established in the industry, freelancing is usually the choice. Freelance photographers charge between 10000-30000 rupees per assignment, and thats an average! Further in your career, when you hit the top of the industry, leading names in the industry charge a lakh per day or more!
- Eligibility: There is no real educational minimum requirement to be a photographer. However, some photography institutes may require a 10+2 certificate while others may enroll you nevertheless.
- Where you can study
- KAPA – If you are looking to study photography in the south, there is probably no better institute than KAPA, located in the heart of Chennai city at Luz Corner. KAPA is the vision of leading celebrity and fashion photographer Karthik Srinivasan, and is probably the only institute in the country where a photographer currently at the top of his career is mentoring students at the same time.
- Students get to not just witness the top models and actors being photographed by Karthik, but they also participate in some of the shoots, in batches. Once they pass out of the academy, they remain in touch to be a part of shoots across the country and abroad…visit http://kapa.co.in/ to know more.