In the Zone System: Photography Careers in Boston

In the Zone System: Photography Careers in Boston

Photography is an art form that produces and preserve images that illustrate a picture, tell a story, or record an event in time. A photographer is the artist and the camera is the instrument from which to create these works of art.

In order to produce commercial-quality photographs, a photographer needs technical expertise, creativity, and the appropriate professional equipment. Producing a successful picture requires choosing the right subject, the correct effect in which to present the subject, and selecting the right cameras and other photographic enhancing tools. A photographer has a myriad of tools to choose from. For example, photographers may enhance the subject's appearance with natural or artificial light, shoot the subject from a non-traditional angle, bring attention to a particular aspect of the subject by blurring the background, or use various optical lenses to produce desired levels of detail at various distances from the subject.

Most photographers use digital cameras instead of traditional silver-halide film cameras, although some photographers use both types, depending on their own preference and the nature of the assignment. Regardless of the type of camera, photographers can also employ an array of other enhancing equipment—from lenses, filters, and tripods to flash attachments and specially constructed lighting equipment.

Types of Photographers

The majority of photographers specialize in areas such as portrait, commercial and industrial, scientific, news, or fine arts photography.

Portrait photographers

Portrait Photographers take pictures of individuals or groups of people. This type of photographers usually work in their own studios and specialize in weddings, religious ceremonies, or school photographs (although some may work on location). Portrait photographers who own and operate their own business have many responsibilities in addition to taking pictures including accounting, sales, and customer service.

Commercial and Industrial photographers

Commercial Photographers take pictures of various subjects, such as buildings, models, merchandise, artifacts, and landscapes. These photographs are then used in a variety of media, including books, reports, advertisements, and catalogs. Industrial photographers, on the other hand, often take pictures of equipment, machinery, products, workers, and company officials.

Scientific photographers

Scientific photographers take images of a variety of subjects to record scientific or medical data or phenomena, using acquired knowledge of scientific procedures. Additional knowledge in areas such as engineering, medicine, biology, or chemistry is usually required.

News photographers

News photographers also called photojournalists, photograph newsworthy people, places, and sporting, political, and community events for newspapers, journals, magazines, or television.

Fine Arts & Fashion photographers

Fine arts photographers sell their photographs as fine artwork. Fashion photography is a genre of photography devoted to displaying clothing and other fashion items. Fashion photography is most often conducted for advertisements or fashion magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, or Allure. Over time, fashion photography has developed its own aesthetic in which the clothes and fashions are enhanced by the presence of exotic locations or accessories. Richard Avedon revolutionized fashion photography — and redefined the role of the fashion photographer — in the post-World War II era with his imaginative images of the modern woman. Today, his work is being exhibited in the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach, FL. After the deaths of Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts, some of today's most famous fashion photographers are Patrick Demarchelier, Steven Meisel, Mario Testino, Peter Lindbergh and Annie Leibovitz

Employment Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most photographers spend only a small portion of their work schedule actually taking photographs. Their most common activities are editing images on a computer—if they use a digital camera—and looking for new business—if they are self-employed. Working conditions for photographers vary considerably. Some photographers may work a 5-day, 40-hour week. News photographers, however, often work long, irregular hours and must be available to work on short notice. Many photographers work part time or on variable schedules.

Education & Training

Employers usually seek applicants with a "good eye," imagination, and creativity, as well as a good technical understanding of photography. Photojournalists or industrial or scientific photographers may need a college degree. Freelance and portrait photographers may need technical proficiency, gained through a degree, training program, or experience.

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