Although there are still opportunities for skilled Professional Photographers, it is important to realize that competition for these positions is keen.
Professional Photographers need to purchase their own equipment, which can be costly. They will need a good digital SLR camera and a variety of lenses, filters and other accessories. They also a variety of light sources. A computer and a good professional quality printer are needed in order to store, exhibit, and hopefully sell, their own creations. Professional photo printers and supplies can be very costly so one can always use a commercial lab for printing. Learning the basics photography, including darkroom processing with a traditional film camera is often recommended to better understand the art and science of photography.
If you are self employed you will probably need to work long, often irregular, hours. Other Professional Photographers work a forty hour week or as needed. Travel is often part of a Photographers life.
If you choose a career as a Professional Photographer, you may work in a variety of special fields. You may work for films, newspapers, and magazines. You may be employed in the modeling industry, advertising, pharmaceuticals, and in the military. You may be a sports photographer or work in private practice which usually involves wedding photographs, passport pictures, and portraits etc. The greatest demand for Professional Photographers is in the fields of medicine, science, and technology. These photographers need special training and knowledge.
Although some Professional Photographers, such as those employed by government, receive paid benefits. Many others must pay for these benefits out of their earnings.
If you wish to become a Professional Photography, along with the skill and knowledge associated with your craft, you need other skills as well. You must be patient, exacting, creative, dedicated, and determined. You must have good manual dexterity and an eye for color, shape, depth, and texture. You must have good communication skills, and good computer skills.
Although Professional Photographers do not need any specific academic education, a well-rounded education is essential if you are going to be able to relate to, and cope with, all the people and situations you will encounter.
Start by getting your high school diploma or GED. Take courses in science, history, art, design, English, computers, and any available courses in photography.
If you hope to someday own your own business, you should take some courses in business practices.
You should then complete courses in photography and digital image processing from your local college or technical school. You should only consider courses that are at least two years in length. Research some of the famous photographers that you admire. Study their works, and if possible, contact them and get their advice on the best professional path to follow.
Get all the education you can possibly afford. Photography can be related to all aspects of life, so the more you learn, the better your work will be. Remember that if you wish to specialize taking medical, scientific, or technological photographs, you will require extra training in these areas.
It may be wise to start off your career having another secure part-time job which will support you while you indulge your passion.
If you become a full-time Professional Photographer, your life will be challenging, demanding, and always satisfying. You may, at times, be required to live in unpleasant, even dangerous conditions, especially if you are a photographer in the military. Train well so that you can combine a natural artistic talent with knowledge, skill, and experience, and you will be successful.