Photography, like the majority of creative professions, is intensely personally rewarding, although it can occasionally fall short when it comes to job security. It requires passion and dedication, not to mention talent and some luck to succeed, but for those fuelled by a creative drive and the desire to experience the world and capture the majesty of a moment, the rewards that the profession has to offer are well worth the challenges.
Naturally, photographers need an eye for images, but they also require a degree of technical know-how. Some artists use a paintbrush, others a pen, but a photographer relies on an arsenal of complex and, occasionally, cumbersome camera equipment.
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Photography Careers in Australia
The size of that arsenal depends on the nature of their specialisation. All the high-tech equipment in the world is useless, however, unless photographers know how to use it. The right moment can come out of nowhere, and disappear just as suddenly, and photographers don’t want to miss it because they were too busy fiddling with their camera settings.
Above all else, a photographer requires patience, as it can take a while for the right moment to present itself. Most photographers will agree that the wait is usually worth it.
Many photographers start off as freelancers, selling their photos to magazines or websites, and marketing themselves online. Over time they may gather enough prestige to be offered a job at a well-known publication like National Geographic.
Photography is a diverse field, and one of the first things aspiring professionals need to do is decide on an area of specialisation. The second thing they need to do is decide on the courses and certificates that will help them reach their dreams.
Here are just a few of the career paths available to aspiring photographers.
Wildlife photography is about seeking out the powerful images that nature can provide. Of course, this implies getting close to nature and being willing to meet it on its own terms. As such, wildlife photographers need to be mobile, and they need to have some knowledge of survival skills, as they’ll occasionally be required to venture into hostile territory. They also require some degree of familiarity with their subject matter, this is especially important if they’re to know the best time or place to observe their subjects, and what constitutes a safe distance.
Their patience and perseverance will be severely put to the test, even more so than in other fields of photography. Nature is not going to take direction from them. They may have found the perfect position to observe a pride of lions, but the lions have no obligation to do anything other than sleep for ten hours.
More than anything else, wildlife photographers need to respect the wild. This means they need to be willing to let matters play out as they will, without interfering. As most professional wildlife photographers will tell you, if you can’t do that, then you don’t deserve to be there.
Travel photographers essentially get paid to travel to exotic locations; kind of like James Bond, except they shoot people with a camera rather than a Walther PPK.
Unlike wildlife photographers, travel photographers need people skills. Whereas animals are unlikely to object to your attention provided you maintain a safe distance, with people there’s a certain degree of etiquette that needs to be maintained.
This is why it’s important for travel photographers to be familiar with the social conventions of the culture they are observing. People in some places may welcome being photographed, but in others it could be considered an invasion of privacy, or perhaps even a criminal offence.
Street photographers seek to capture the magic in the mundane. While travel photographers look to showcase the wonders of distant places, street photographers are more interested in capturing the humdrum of everyday life.
Furthermore, whilst travel photographers prefer to capture the warmth and welcoming nature of people, street photographers seek out any kind of strong reaction, positive or negative. But, that’s not to say they should make a habit of getting in people’s faces, although some street photographers probably consider that an art form.
The point is that street photography truly seeks to capture people in their natural urban habitat, warts and all.
Whether you want to become a freelance sport or travel photographer, or simply want to improve your skills so you can take better holiday snaps, you can find relevant courses on TafeCourses.com.au.
Read our Guide to TAFE courses in Australia.