“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever … It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” - Aaron Siskind
It’s not uncommon to hear of children wanting to become astronauts, doctors, nurses, firemen and doctors, but what about photographers. Do young people want to become photographers?
Thanks to technological advancements, digital photography has made all types of photography accessible to everyone with reputable resources even claiming that amateur photography is on the increase.
Social media, particularly the likes of Instagram, has turned everyone into some or another type of photographer. These days, all it takes is a mobile phone for all types of photos to get attention on the internet. In fact, mobile images have become one of the accepted genres of photography.
In this article, regardless of what types of photos you are interested in, you will receive tips and guidance on how to launch a photography career in one or more of the many genres of photography available today. Let’s take a look at some of the most common photography styles.
There is not much to top the significance of a wedding day. As one of the most important days in a person’s life, it can also be stressful and overwhelming. For most couples the event flies by in a whirlwind, and how do you think they revisit the precious memories of a day where so much effort was involved?
You guessed right, their photographs. If you are interested in becoming this type of photographer, you will be documenting some of the most important history in a family for generations to come.
Of all the types of photos a professional can take, wedding images can be very stressful because so much is on the line and it is usually a large investment for the bride and groom. To get the most out of your subjects, the trick is to be as relaxed as you can as this will relax them, especially as your aim will be to capture the emotion and overall essence of the day.
The wedding photography business is competitive and a photographer’s success is highly dependent on word of mouth recommendations.
As a beginner, your first step is to learn and grow as much as you can. Of all the types of photography, the most important ingredient for any wedding photographer is the confidence that comes from technical proficiency and a passion for what they do. Confidence is key to creating the relaxed atmosphere needed to achieve the best images.
For this type of photographer, it is also worth mentioning how important it is to be prepared.
This means ensuring that you have fully charged gear, backup cameras, flashes, memory cards, and batteries.
Wear comfortable cool clothing and flat shoes. Your clients will appreciate you making the effort to look smart (so leave the old t-shirt and jeans at home) but not as though you are trying to look like a guest either.
Wildlife photography is such a passion that it is almost a calling. It is one of those types of photography where home and work merge into a lifestyle. The types of photos that create careers for wildlife photographers take hours, days, and weeks of dedication to observe the plant and animal kingdom at times of the day when most people are still in bed!
Like so many other genres of photography, taking wildlife pictures requires an absolute passion for the subject matter. Not everyone would be keen to endure harsh and dangerous conditions on a regular basis to turn it into a successful career.
If this sounds like you, make sure that you have all the right equipment needed to take wildlife shots. These will include the right camera bag, telephoto lenses, a good tripod, binoculars, and accessories to keep your equipment clean and dust-free.
Advertise, advertise, advertise.
Of all the genres of photography, good advertising or commercial photography can be a very lucrative career. It is a highly competitive industry and only the highest quality and standards are accepted for these types of photos.
Generally, this type of photographer is dedicated, ambitious, talented, and extremely professional. A few tips to becoming a commercial photographer include the following:
- Build up a world-class portfolio.
- Study the work of successful commercial photographers.
- Be prepared to become familiar with the brand personas of your subject matter.
- Take time to practise different or new techniques and scout locations.
Talent and technique are certainly hallmarks for advertising photography but so is a very high standard of equipment. Advertising, like fashion, is one of those types of photography where you would find medium format cameras and high-quality lights on set.
Strike a pose!
Of all the photography styles, there is no doubt that fashion is synonymous with some of the most famous names in the photography world. Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh, Patrick Demarchelier, and Mario Testino are also famous for the types of photos that have left their mark on the 20th and 21st centuries.
Fashion, like wedding photography, is one of those photography styles where the personality and confidence of the photographer play an important role in relaxing their subjects to ultimately capture the mood and expressions that will sell fabric, designs, and a particular style.
As one of the toughest genres of photography to break into, steps for the beginner fashion photographer to take include the following:
- Create an exquisite portfolio (be ruthless about what you include).
- Work for free or as an assistant and learn from the experts wherever you can.
- Use social media to make your work known.
- Try to exhibit wherever and wherever you can (art galleries, boutiques, cafes, and lifestyle shops).
Make sure that you have a high-quality DSLR camera, a few professional lenses, lighting, and an editing programme.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Portrait photographers are specialists in capturing raw human emotion in a way that tells a story, forever.
As one of the most sought-after genres of photography, there are different categories of portraiture:
- Lifestyle portraits
- Traditional portraits
- Couples, family or group
- Surreal portraits
- Environmental portraits
If you are passionate about portraits, it would be helpful to choose one of these specialties on which to focus as the more skill you have, the better. Some advice to get started in a career in portrait photography include:
- Study every aspect of portrait photography that you can.
- Build a portfolio through photographing friends and family.
- Decide on natural lighting or studio photography.
- Consider opening your own studio.
- Promote your work on social media.
- Ensure that you are relaxed and confident as this directly impacts the emotion you will capture in your subject.
Make sure that you have a high-quality camera, zoom and standard lenses, a tripod, and a camera bag.
Sport is loved by people everywhere. Whether it's basketball, football, tennis, swimming, or golf, individuals love to support their favourite athletes in action. If you are a sports lover with a desire to pursue a career in photography, then why not consider combing the two?
Like the other genres of photography already mentioned, sports photography is competitive. The challenge is that one needs a name to get hired, but this can be achieved. Here are some tips to break into a career in sports photography.
- Know the rules and regulations of the game you are photographing.
- Know the players and the typical characteristics of the players.
- Know where to place yourself to get the best images.
- Volunteer to take pictures at smaller events to build up a portfolio.
- Take a photography course.
- Study the work of successful sports photographers.
- Showcase your work on social media and start an interactive blog for discussion.
- Try to work as an intern for either a print or online publication.
- Become proficient in editing software like Photoshop or Lightroom.
Bear in mind that sports photography requires specific equipment including a high-quality DSLR, fast lenses, a monopod, and a comfortable camera bag.
If you love photography it makes sense that the material that you naturally gravitate towards to photograph will be a reflection of what you love and care about. This is an important aspect to consider and it might be worth asking yourself what you are passionate about if this is not yet obvious through the images you take.
In addition, if you intend to make a career out of photography, you may want to think a bit more strategically about the different genres of photography. This will help you to choose one that is worthy of a long-term and sustainable career.
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