Innovators Guide



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Photographer Job Outlook

Employment is expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations. Photographers can expect keen competition for job openings because the work is attractive to many people.

Employment change. Employment of photographers is expected to grow 12 percent over the 2008-18 period, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for portrait photographers should increase as the population grows. Moreover, growth of Internet versions of magazines, journals, and newspapers will require increasing numbers of commercial photographers to provide digital images. The Internet and improved data management programs also should make it easier for freelancers to market directly to their customers, increasing opportunities for self-employment and decreasing reliance on stock photo agencies.

Job growth, however, will be constrained somewhat by the widespread use of digital photography and the falling price of digital equipment. Improvements in digital technology reduce barriers of entry into this profession and allow more individual consumers and businesses to produce, store, and access photographic images on their own. News and commercial photographers may be the most adversely affected by this increase in amateur photographers and non-copyrighted photos. Declines in the newspaper industry also will reduce demand for news photographers to provide still images for print.

Job prospects. Photographers can expect keen competition for job openings because the work is attractive to many people. The number of individuals interested in positions as commercial and news photographers is usually much greater than the number of openings. Salaried jobs in particular may be difficult to find as more companies contract with freelancers rather than hire their own photographers. Those who succeed in landing a salaried job or attracting enough work to earn a living by freelancing are likely to be adept at operating a business and to be among the most creative. They will be able to find and exploit the new opportunities available from rapidly changing technologies. Related work experience, job-related training, or some unique skill or talent—such as a background in computers or electronics or knowledge of a second language—also improve a photographer's job prospects.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition

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Photographer Income     Photographer Training

 

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