What Can I Do With a Photography Degree?
by Taylor Slattery | March 24, 2023
When you think of a professional photographer, what comes to mind? The answer is different for everybody. Depending on our interests, we’re exposed to professional photographers in different contexts. If you’re a sports fan, maybe someone sitting court-side with a massive telephoto lens came to mind. For others, it might be a fashion photographer shooting models for editorial use or a photojournalist on-location documenting historical events as they unfold.
Photography is everywhere, and a photography degree opens you up to a world of possibilities in terms of professional employment. In one form or another, photography is connected to every industry you can imagine. For those looking to enter the field, this means a nearly limitless number of different directions you can take to shape your career in whichever way you’d like.
Commercial photography gigs exist wherever goods or services are sold. Whether it’s headshots and facility overviews for corporate websites, or photographs of food or products for advertising, every business needs professional-level photography in one form or another. With over 4 million new businesses being started every year in the United States alone, this need isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Additionally, with prosumer-grade cameras becoming increasingly capable in terms of performance, while also becoming more affordable, the competition is steep in both the business and photography worlds alike. A photography degree is a powerful means of instilling trust in clients or potential employers and distinguishing yourself from the competition.
Another great avenue to pursue for those with a photography degree is building your own business. Event and portrait photography are staples of this approach, with events that occur year-round like weddings providing a tried and true system for building your business, but that’s not to say this is the only route available. Just about everything you can imagine needs professional photography, meaning you can readily find ways to connect your business to other areas of interest or talents you already have.
Say you’re interested in sports. While some of those photographers you see on the court or field are working for specific publications, many are working on a freelance basis. Documenting local sports across its various levels, whether professional, collegiate, or high school can be a great way to start building a business around your interests and attract clients within your targeted field.
The same could be said about any other interest. Maybe you love traveling—you could aim to build a business working with any of the various companies attached to this industry, such as national tourism agencies, travel apps, cruise lines, or hotels. Or maybe you’re an outdoorsy type of person—connecting your professional life to your hobbies by photographing sporting goods for outdoor lifestyle brands, landscapes for preservation efforts, or even shooting for publications like National Geographic would provide a great excuse to get outside and explore.
When it comes to building a photography business of your own, for those looking to tailor their careers to their lifestyles or passions, look at the ways in which photography is being used in the areas you’re interested in. Think about how you can position yourself to provide value to the companies in this space.
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.
Are you interested in stretching your photography skills? Sessions College offers a wide range of online photography courses as well as digital photography degree and certificate programs. Contact Admissions for more information.