4 Career Paths for Professional Photographers



Photography is an artistic medium unlike any other, and it continues to expand and thrive in the 21st century, shape-shifting in some ways and remaining consistent in others. On the one hand, the ubiquity of camera phones and the easy application of filters to digital images has made taking relatively attractive pictures (and sharing them with an online audience) easier than ever before. On the other, the vast overload of this type of image has made truly professional photography stick out like never before, as photographers with a true grasp on composition and color (and a knowledge of equipment beyond an iPhone) are in greater demand than ever. Photography is one of the few passions that translates easily into a profitable career. But there are many different lanes in which photographers can choose to work. Here are just five of the many career paths open to professional photographers.

Editorial Photography

If you grew up fascinated with the images that accompanied articles in magazines and newspapers, you might thrive in a career as an editorial photographer. The job description is simple: you’ll partner with the writer of a story and capture images that pair with his or her subject matter. People with a broad range of interests might like this career path, as you could find yourself shooting a campaign rally one week and a Buddhist retreat the next. The requirements: willingness to travel on a moment’s notice for extended periods of time, and an eye for striking images that coincide with particular themes.

Fashion Photography

High fashion is an exciting and fast-paced world, and photographers play as big a role as models and designers in determining what becomes the hot new thing. Fashion photography requires a great degree of technical knowledge – you’ll need to understand lighting and composition, and be able to coordinate with designers to best capture their intention.

Medical and Scientific Photography

Believe it or not, medical and scientific photographers are among the highest-paid. This is because they use highly specialized equipment, far beyond that of the average shutterbug. If you’re a science-minded person who doesn’t mind getting technical, and you can handle a bit of gore, you could be perfect for a career as a medical photographer.

Sports Photographer

Sports photographers have one of the best jobs on the field! They get to capture images that could go on to become iconic. It’s the photographers that are responsible for the term “photo finish.” As a sports photog, your goal is to capture that perfect moment, and it can be a matter of milliseconds. This is a great career for people with good reflexes and an understanding of the sporting world.


Sara Albach