Everything You Need to Know About the Different Types of Photography Careers in the UK
Photography is a much sought-after skill and critical to many industries. We live in a visual world, where every image counts and is highly valued.
Being a professional photographer is an incredibly versatile and diverse career path with many options to suit your interests. From fashion websites to PR campaigns; from conception to upload, photography is an art form that is key to a company’s development.
Each photography career requires different sets of abilities, but what’s important is your technical adroitness and unique artistic flair.
We have compiled some examples of photography careers and how to kickstart your journey.
The first step is identifying the difference between commercial photography and editorial photography. These are two distinct styles of photography which branch off within industries.
See also our guide on how to break into the photography business.
What is Commercial Photography?
Commercial photography is based on sales. It involves taking photos to promote a product or business, such as adverts and posters. It can be a highly lucrative market with a wide field of interests and specialisations. From taking images of phones to lawn-mowers, commercial photographers are in constant demand and there is plenty of room for alternative styles. Another area of commercial photography is promoting a location, for example, images for a restaurant or new building. This requires a photographer to be on site and have experience with architectural images, which are different from those of product.
What is Editorial Photography?
Editorial photography is considered the most artistic. It means creating a story that reflects or interprets the world around us. It is not based on selling as much as commercial photography, but about provoking emotion and thought. To put it simply, editorial photographs are more like illustrations. As we will explain, editorial fashion photography is about conveying the feeling and atmosphere of the brand in an unusual narrative. Editorial photography is also used in photojournalism to give further impact to the story or when direct images are not available. These images need to have real integrity to be considered ethically proper to publish.
What is Fashion Photography?
Fashion photographers at the height of their careers are considered as famous as the designers and supermodels. They work closely with the designers to cultivate a story about the brand for customers in print and online. There is also an opportunity to globe-trot to be on set; which is why fashion photography has a glamorous edge compared to the other pathways. The role varies depending on what area of fashion you are situated in. For high-end editorial and couture, a fashion photographer may have more artistic independence to present clothes in a unique way, therefore, building a reputation for their style. Retail photographers are more focused on sales and meeting key targets set out by the company. The rapidly growing E-commerce industry is a great starting point for a new fashion photographer, who can develop their portfolio with emerging designers and brands.
What is Landscape Photography?
Landscape photography, as perhaps self-explanatory, is about capturing the beauty of nature and the outdoors. A form of editorial photography, it can convey your connection as a photographer to the surrounding world. It doesn’t have to be just vast horizons you take images of, but urban environments and everyday occurrences. This line of work requires a high level of technical knowledge about lighting, temperature and other unpredictable elements. Landscape photography is highly valuable to travel and tourism sectors. Scientific photographers are also required for research projects. Urban and building photography can be pitched for commercial purposes or for architectural planning.
What is Studio Photography?
A lot of commercial photography, especially for products, are done in studios where you can control the environment and get the highest quality of images. Portrait photography is another area in the studio, where you take professional shots of people. This can range from family photos or special events such as graduation. Being a studio photographer requires managing a set of sensitive equipment and interpersonal skills when working with a team to get the best outcomes.
What is Lifestyle Photography?
Part studio, part onsite, lifestyle photography is about capturing people in real-life situations. From weddings to perfect homelife, lifestyle photos convey the essence of spontaneous emotions and rare moments. With the approach of a ‘fly on the wall’ observer, the photographer stays in the background but still controls elements such as lighting and props. The aim is to get the most natural pose and facial expression from the subjects; which is why lifestyle photography techniques are sometimes preferred to traditional portrait photography.
How To Get Photography Jobs
A photography career begins with formal training at a photography school or photography degree within a fine arts or design college. During this time, you would begin a portfolio of different commercial and editorial styles to show clients when applying for jobs. One way of beginning your career is to become a freelance photographer and take on work experience or part-time jobs with the aim to keep building up your portfolio for full-time positions. Look for opportunities to become an assistant in studios to portrait photographers or ask to follow a wedding photographer. The bigger and more diverse your portfolio is, the more likely you will be hired.
How To Start A Photography Blog
A great way to get your portfolio noticed is to start a photography blog or a professional social media account (Instagram); or both. This way your style and photography skill can be easily shared and even scouted by other companies. You will also be able to build a network where you learn from other photographers and meet potential clients, or even start your own business. Some investment in the best camera equipment and editing software is required to start. With the competitive field of online presence, only the highest quality of images is noticed. Begin by doing research on what blogs are out there, why they are popular or interesting to you. It is important to decide what kind of angle you want to take so you won’t be swallowed up by the competition. It’s also crucial to keep your work up to date and consistent in quality.