11 fascinating career paths for photographers

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When we think of a professional photographer, we usually think of a portrait or wedding photographer with a big camera and a long lens. But do you know that there are many interesting opportunities for new photographers in different fields?

Here we give you some ideas for offbeat photography careers, from forensics to fine art and fashion.

1. Scientific photography

If you trotted around with a magnifying glass or enjoyed looking at things with a microscope as a kid, this is for you. As a science photographer, you can document all things intriguing, from powerful fossils to invisible amoebae, using technologies such as photomicrography, thermal imaging, infrared and ultraviolet photography.

Your workplace may be a medical facility, research laboratory, or military unit. To access this exciting job, you can start with a bachelor’s degree in science or arts.

2. Forensic photography

A hardcore Sherlock Holmes fan? Look no further than forensic photography to satisfy your curiosity about solving crimes. Although you’re not actively looking, it’s as close as you can get as a photographer.

A forensic photographer carefully records the crime scene and all relevant evidence. So your forensic photos need to be well lit, clear and razor sharp to be presented as evidence at trial.

To succeed as a forensic photographer, you need the utmost attention to detail. You can’t afford to make mistakes because the quality of your photographs can make or break a deal.

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3. Fine art photography

Not into all that gore and grim? Art photography is at the other end of the spectrum. You can photograph all the beautiful things and make the world a better place.

Art photographers use their imagination, innovative techniques and editing software to create artistic images. It is different from other types of photography, where the main objective is to tell a story or document an event.

It may sound like a dream job, but it’s hard to make a full-time career out of it. You must be willing to work hard and develop a unique artistic vision to succeed as a fine art photographer.

4. Photojournalism

Remember Steven McCurry Afghan girl photograph? It’s one of the finest examples of a photojournalistic image that tells a powerful story that changed the world. As a photojournalist, you can tell compelling stories about social issues like war, poverty, human rights, and environmental issues.

To succeed in a role as a photojournalist, you must care deeply about social issues and respect different cultures. It is also crucial that you learn to keep your cool in stressful situations.

5. Astrophotography

Astrophotography involves taking pictures of the night sky and deep sky objects, often using a telescope and other equipment. With astrophotography, you have to learn the tricks of the trade with rigorous practice. You can watch YouTube videos and take online courses to learn more.

Astrophotographers usually work freelance, selling their photos to magazines and agencies. Additionally, astrophotography is a subset of scientific photography, so it is possible to get full-time employment in government and space agencies if you are highly qualified.

6. Fashion photography

Fashion photography is one of the highest paying professions in photography, and it’s relatively easy to get into. In this role, you will take photos of clothing, shoes and other accessories with or without a model. With experience, you can move into an art director role and earn more.

A solid grounding in photography and lighting concepts, along with a sense of style, creativity and interpersonal skills, can make you a top fashion photographer.

7. Real estate photography

There is a massive demand for this type of photography due to the housing bubble in many cities. Real estate photographers take pictures of houses, apartments, and other buildings to list for sale on housing websites. You may need special equipment like drones to capture the environment and experience features like Matterport to create virtual reality tours.


If you want to be a real estate photographer, find out about different equipment by renting it. In addition, knowledge of interior design and aesthetics can be useful for this role.

8. Conservation Photography

Do you like wide open spaces and don’t hesitate to get your hands or feet dirty to showcase the diversity of flora and fauna? Then conservation photography can be a rewarding career for you. Conservation photography is a type of photojournalism, and you tell stories about the environment, animals, and plants.

To get started, learn about your subjects in nature, such as fungi, insects, and wildlife. You have to learn different techniques to capture each subject. If you practice and hone your skills enough, you might one day end up working for big names like National Geographic and the BBC.

9. Event Photography

An event photographer captures special events and functions such as music festivals, charity events, office parties, etc. Photographing weddings and birthdays is also considered event photography. The advantage of this career path is that you can earn a steady income from it, but you need to plan and prepare ahead of time to be successful.

You will be made for this role if you are a social butterfly who likes to meet new people. Also, it will help if you are quick on your feet.

10. Travel Photography

Do you want to take a long drive with the wind in your face or climb a high mountain and enjoy the solitude? Unfortunately, travel photography is not your ticket to do so.

As a travel photographer, your days can start at dawn and continue late into the night. And carrying all that photography gear can be physically taxing. Also, the travel photography market is very saturated, and unless you are the cream of the crop, it is difficult to make a living taking travel photos.

The good news is that you can join guided tours or present workshops to help other people take great photos. To have successful photo tours, you need to know a thing or two about photography in different weather conditions. Emergency care and first aid skills are also non-negotiable for this position.

11. Stock Photography

You can start taking and uploading stock photos without any experience, but you can only be successful if you know the basics. You can start with stock photography to test the waters and then decide if photography can be a career option for you. Selling stock photos is also great as a side job: you can sell photos of your vacations, dining experiences, hobbies, pets, and more.

As a stock photographer, you are your own boss. You can take your time choosing your subject and shooting style. The best thing about being a stock photographer is that you can be a lifelong learner.

Your photography skills can land you an interesting job

Photography is a dream field to work in – it sits on the border of art and technology and exercises both sides of your brain. While the threat of becoming a starving artist is real, the opportunities for photographers are limitless in today’s age of YouTube and Instagram. You can have a career if you work there.


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