Play a key role in shaping the way we see the world by starting an exciting career as a photographer. Practical and creative, a photography course builds the technical skills you need to communicate a clear artistic vision, and will help you build the portfolio you need to start a career with a competitive edge.
With over two billion smartphones in use in the world, everyone might feel like a photographer – but only a tiny minority turn it into a career. By studying a photography course, you’ll build the critical insights and practical skills needed to stand out in the competitive commercial world, and develop the confidence and courage to express your creative work.
You can study a photography course as certificate or diploma course or as part of a bachelor’s degree in art or design. After completing your studies, you’ll seek employment as a photographer, photography assistant, or photo editor, and may work in-house for a range of creative and other firms, or strike out on your own with an independent photography business.
In high demand to provide services to a range of creative and commercial clients, photographers can shoot everything from products, to people, to properties and more, depending on the client’s needs. You may choose to specialise your practise and focus on a particular area like food photography, news photography, wedding photography or location photography.
What do photographers do?
Photographers shoot still images according to design briefs from clients. Your work will change depending on the nature of your employment and the clients you’re working for, but you can generally expect to perform tasks like:
- Consulting with and interviewing clients and stakeholders, to determine the objectives and constraints of a photographic design brief;
- Researching and analysing assignment requirements and selecting appropriate cameras, lighting, film and filters;
- Reviewing references and researching creative elements;
- Providing informed advice on use of composition, light, colour, colours and trends in photography to clients and stakeholders;
- Coaching and advising photo subjects in order to achieve desired photo composition;
- Transporting and setting up camera equipment;
- Measuring light levels and determining exposure and use of light filters;
- Adjusting camera angle, aperture setting, zoom and composition to determine best photo composition;
- Downloading, storing and managing digital photo archives;
- Mixing photo chemicals, processing film and developing prints for film photos;
- Manipulating images using analogue and digital tools, including using programs like Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop to refine images;
- Working closely with clients, suppliers and other key stakeholders to deliver photos to clients;
- Advising clients on printing, framing and storing photos;
- Managing the execution of photography projects, including managing staff, budgets and other resources;
- Marketing and advertising your services;
- Invoicing, managing accounts, procuring and paying contractors and suppliers; and
- Reviewing and evaluating a photography project.
Is photography right for you?
You’ll thrive working as a photographer if you:
- Are creative
- Can express yourself well
- Can work independently
- Are proactive and enterprising
- Have excellent organisational and project management skills
- Have strong communication and interpersonal skills
- Are curious
- Enjoy problem-solving
- Can make sound decisions
- Like taking responsibility
- Are a good listener
While photography is a relatively small profession in Australia, with just over 13,000 people employed as photographers, the Australian Government’s Job Outlook reports that employment opportunities in the role have grown steadily over the last five years, and predicts that growth to continue until at least 2020, where the industry will employ approximately 14,800 people. Rates of unemployment in the photography profession are slightly lower than the national average unemployment rate, indicating the relative security of the profession.
PayScale reports that photographers may expect to earn a salary between $40,000 and $80,000 per year, with an average industry salary of approximately $54,000 per year. Experience doesn’t necessarily allow photographers to earn more, with entry-level photographers reporting to PayScale similar salaries as photographers with more experience; however, PayScale notes skills in photo editing and using the Adobe software suite have the potential to increase photographers’ earning capacity. PayScale states that photographers with skills in photo editing earn on average approximately $65,000 per year.