Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How 'bout a JOB as a photographer?

Every so often in the forums we'll see a post that goes something like this:
I am currently enrolled in college for photography. When I get out I don't want to go into business, I just want to find a job. What's the outlook like?

My first answer is do some very basic, simple research. I know that's asking a bit much from some, so I did a little of  my own today.
I simply went to and in the Job Title/Keyword box I typed "Photographer."
 I set no paramaters or limits. Just a job in the USA with the word photographer either in the title. Guess what? There are 2,515 jobs in the US for a photographer or photographer assistant or similar.
Not one of those was within 300 miles of my door step. I might want to mention that many of them were minimum wage jobs for Picture Me! Portrait studios, Teddy Bear Portrait Studios, Sears and the like. Probably not worth getting a degree for, because they are NOT going to allow you the freedom to use your newly acquired skills. It's all set up for you, what you REALLY need to be is a salesman. Well, that and REALLY fast from start to finish.

Then just to compare I put a few other words in that Job Title/Keyword box. For an accountant there are 32,256 jobs nationwide. When I put Social Worker in there I got 26,720. Administrative Assistant 70,074. If I look at only the lowest of those numbers compared to photographer jobs the ratio is roughly 10:1. WOW.

According to THIS website's fun and interesting statistics for college students there are 1,750,000 college graduates per year. Let's apply that ratio to those graduates. That would guestimate (in no real scientific form) that there are 175,000 graduates in the photography field.

WHOA! That's some stiff competition for those 2,515 JOBS. Even after all of the minimum wage jobs are filled there are still 172,485 left out there looking for work or... well... something.

I am not trying to discourage you from looking for a photography JOB, but you probably should be a bit realistic about it. The jobs are few and far between. And the ones that pay more than minimum wage are even fewer.
There are still companies that hire a photographer to do their merchandising/website/catalog work if that is what you are interested in. There are still some that hire for high fashion, landscape, sports, etc. There are still a few staff positions at the newspapers as photographers. However, this is field is moving to a more freelance and self employed state of mind. Keep that in mind when you fill out your student loan applications!

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