If you want to turn your knowledge of photography and passion and skill in taking pictures into a financially viable career, you can consider becoming a commercial photographer. In this profession, you will have the opportunity to take pictures of various subjects to be used for commercial purposes by clients.
This means that you can shoot homes and landscapes for a real estate company’s housing campaign, get images of a new gadget for a company launch in another and take pictures of food for restaurants to put in their menus and advertising efforts the next.
You may also be asked to take pictures of various items that will be featured in magazines and other media outlets. The overall aim of a commercial photographer is to get pictures that will make money for their clients.
As a commercial photographer, you could be working in a studio or on location depending on the subject you will be taking pictures of. You could be working on your own or collaborating with other professionals like art directors, makeup artists and graphic designers.
If you are a salaried photographer employed by an advertising agency or any company that provides photography services then you’re going to be following a work schedule during regular business hours. If you are self-employed then you have more flexibility over your schedule.
While possessing a state-of-the-art camera is going to be extremely helpful, you’re going to need more than the latest and complete equipment to continually succeed in this profession. You need to be creative and have a good eye for the different components that make a great photograph like colors, light and distance.
You also need to know how to expertly manipulate your camera to get richer and meaningful shots. In addition, you also need to have business savvy, especially if you are running your own photography company. This means providing excellent customer service skills, keeping books organized and knowing how to market your services.
Why Become A Commercial Photographer
For those who are passionate about photography, a career as a commercial photographer provides the chance to do what you love to do and earn a good living from it at the same time. Those who don’t want to be confined to very rigid work times can work freelance and have more control over their projects if they go into this profession.
Commercial photographers receive good pay and even have the opportunity to be much sought-after in the field because of the uniqueness of their photographs.
Commercial Photographer Work Environment
Commercial photographers may be employed by advertising agencies or they may opt to work freelance. Local and international travel is a regular part of the job since the locations where they will be holding the photo shoots can be found in different places. Freelance commercial photographers work more flexible hours than salaried photographers.
Commercial Photographer Salary
The U.S. Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wages of photographers, commercial photographers included, is $37,190. Photographers working in the District of Columbia received the highest pay at $66,130 followed by those in California which got $53,280 yearly.
Photographers working in New York had a mean annual wage of $49,480. Those who are based in Minnesota is the fourth highest paid at $48,760 while those working in New Mexico rounded up the top five of the highest paid photographers with a mean annual wage of $44,720.
Commercial Photographer Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that there will still be demand for photographers but this will be tempered by the increasing number of hobbyists and amateur photographers who go into the field because digital cameras have become more affordable.
In the decade covering 2012 to 2022, the employment rate of photographers is projected by the agency to grow four percent, a rate that is slower than the average for all job types. Companies will still continue to hire commercial photographers because they will need them to create compelling ad copies in billboards, websites and magazines.
Commercial Photographer Degree
Many commercial photographers enter the profession with a bachelor’s degree in the field because the training provides them with an in-depth understanding of photography and the equipment used. Taking classes also gives them the opportunity to start forming their portfolios which is what potential employers and clients want to see to gauge their abilities.
Commercial photographers who aim to run their own photography services firm one day would do well to get accounting and business classes as well.