Photography Genres and Professions

If you’re thinking about becoming a photography professional, you’re going to need to take some photography courses and learn the basics.  However, there’s more to it than just knowing how to get the best exposures and how to light an area.  There are a number of different areas of photography, and you do need to study different areas in order to be able to get the best photos possible.  Taking a picture of a house is very different from taking a picture of a person, and both of these can be different than taking a very close up picture of a gemstone.

Say, for example, that you want to take photos of wildlife up close for magazines like the National Geographic or books on animals.  You don’t just go out into the jungle and start snapping pictures after getting a photography degree.  Instead, you’ll need to take some courses in zoology and wildlife.  These courses won’t be needed for those who want to take pictures of models or do bridal photography.

The Major Areas of Photography

Portraits – Those who want to take portraits will need to learn about lighting, framing, and how to photograph people.  Those who are more interested in portrait work may want to study makeup and fashion to learn how people, color, and light work together.

Advertising – Those interested in doing photography for advertising and marketing will want to take marketing courses to learn what photographs grab people’s attention and sell products.  They will also learn how to properly light items to make them look the most attractive.

Fashion – Fashion photographers may take pictures of people, but they’re not interested in what the person looks like as much as in what they are wearing.  They may also take pictures of clothing on dummies.  They need to take some basic fashion courses to learn about different materials and how those materials photograph.

Feature – Feature photographers work for newspapers, magazines, and in other areas where they can tell a story with their photos.  A features photographer may need different supplemental courses depending on what it is they want to photograph, but many also take journalism courses.

Editorial – These photographers also work for magazines and newspapers.  They want to take the perfect photo to accompany a story.  As such, they may actually take some writing courses themselves in addition to journalism classes.

Travel – Travel photographers may also work for magazines and papers.  They need to know how to shoot landscapes.  They should take additional courses in geography, geology, and ecology so that they can better identify the best areas to photograph.

Wildlife – If you want to photograph wildlife, you’ll need to take some courses that focus on animals, their habitats, and how to deal with them.  Wildlife photographers need to know where to find their subjects and how to approach them.

Aerial – Aerial photographers, as you’d image, have to take flying lessons and know how to handle airplanes.

Sports/Action – These photographers may take advanced courses in photography and photo-manipulation.  They also take courses in sports and recreation.

Astrophotography – Those who work with NASA and other space agencies doing astrophotography are going to need to take astronomy and learn how the advanced computer-aided photography systems function.

Macrophotography–Macrophotography is the study of taking photos of small objects.  There are specific courses in macrophotography that you’ll need to take to learn how to effectively do this.

Microphotography – Microphotography takes photography even farther than macrophotography—it involves taking photos of microscopic things through powerful magnification devices.  Microphotographers are usually medical experts who have taken courses in biology and chemistry.

Underwater Photography – If you want to take professional photos underwater, you’ll need to take courses in marine biology and learn how to scuba dive.

Photography Professions

Wedding Photographer – These freelance photographers often work for themselves, and some may only take a few photography courses instead of getting a full degree.  They often only work on weekends and can set their own schedules.

Wildlife Photographer – These photographers get to work outdoors a lot, and many work directly with animals.  Some are freelance, while others work for publications, zoos, or wildlife departments.

Family Photographer – Family photographers often have jobs at professional studios.  Unlike some photography jobs, they’re usually full-time employees and get a regular salary and benefits.

Medical Photographer – These photographers spend much of their days in the lab taking photos of tiny viruses, cells, and other objects.  They often make $50,000 a year or more and rarely have to interact with customers like other photographers do.

Stock Photographer – Stock photographers create stock photographs that are used in publications and online.  They work with professional models in a studio or on location.  One bonus is that they will often see their work online, although they’re often not credited for it.

Freelance Photographer – Freelancers can do many different types of photography.  Some snap pictures for local papers or publications, while others take pictures for websites.  While they do set their own schedules and work for themselves, the downside is that they don’t always have steady work.

Food Photographer – These photographers work for restaurants and take photos of food for their menus.  They often get to eat some of that food, too, although it’s usually not the food that has been under the hot lights all day.

School Photographer – For those who love working with kids, a job as a school photographer may be perfect.  They travel to different schools and may have time to do other types of photography in-between jobs.

Photojournalist – Photojournalists can sell their photos to multiple magazines and newspapers if they freelance, or they can work with one publication as a staff photographer.  They get to be creative and work out how to best tell a story through their work.

Real Estate Photographer – These photographers can find steady work with a real estate agent and get to look at dozens of homes every week.  One perk is that they may be able to snatch a house off the market before anyone else gets a chance to look at it.

Event Photographer – These photographers are hired to take pictures of parties, red carpet premieres, and charity events.  They get to attend these events for free, and although they’re working, they do get to enjoy some of the event perks like food and meeting celebrities.

Crime Scene Photographer – For those who love watching the CSI shows, working as a crime scene photographer is a dream come true.  These professionals will cross-train in criminal justice courses and even some medical courses in addition to learning how to photograph everything in detail.