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Career in India        

Education in India, Career in India: Photography

Looking for a Career Options in the Field of Photography ? This section features Photography as a career options, elaborated with reference to the job profile, personality traits required, the courses and training involved, premier institutions and future prospects.

Photography is a unique and creative medium of self-expression. It is an art form requiring aesthetic sense as well as technical expertise. A hobby that can be made profitable by going professional by the talented.

If you want to be a part of this extremely creative profession, all you need is a keen eye for aesthetic detail and for what is "photo-worthy"; a thorough knowledge of cameras and the technicalities involved in taking pictures, of light, distance and perspective; a sensitive and introspective nature; and, most importantly, the guts to take up as a profession, what most of the time remains a hobby. Seems like a tall order? Not really, for those committed to creating magic with their cameras, it should be as much part of the job as the indispensable camera.

Photographers, like artists, have a wide variety of choices as far as subjects are concerned. The choices, in fact, are as varied and diverse as life itself. From photojournalism (which deals with lending a visual touch to news reporting) to wild life photography, fashion photography, photo portraits, still-life photography and mood photography, there's a comprehensive list of options to choose from. so all you wannabe shutterbugs out there who want to add your name to that list, get clicking!

Personality Traits

It's a profession as well as an art form. For photography as a career, one must have that extra quality, an interest in visuals, an attentiveness to colour, shape and shadow, an interest in light, in observing how colours look on certain days Establishing oneself as a professional photographer is no cakewalk, which is why, perhaps unfortunately, many talented photographers remain amateurs. The climb is hard and long, and the financial returns, not very satisfactory in the beginning. Only those with tenacity and a never-say-die attitude, coupled with a real love of the medium hold on. They go on to become household names like Raghu Rai and Dayanita Singh.


There are two routes into this career. The formal and the experiential. A course or formal training in the subject opens options for working with magazines or newspapers. With a regular income, there is always an opportunity to experiment with a wide range of subjects. The second is to learn as an apprentice to a professional photographer, which can involve learning the basic jobs before getting to know the real techniques of the profession . Photography is more craft learnt through practise and training of the eye. Technical training and information cannot make you 'see' things unless you have that inner ability, an intelligent, curious and perceptive mind.

Most BFA or Applied Art Courses impart specialised training in photography. Design Courses at National Institute of Design have photography as a subject. Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi and Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia offer basic courses in Photography. After Class XII, one can join as an apprentice with a photography unit. Graduation could be pursued through correspondence.

Alternative One can join a graduate course in Applied Art. (Look up art schools in the section on art for list of institutions). The commercial photographers generally begin by working in a studio to work for the ordinary customer. Beginnings can be made with Rs.15,000 which may grow in leaps with expert perfection. Agencies and newspapers normally pay for each assignment


Please click here for the list of the Photography Institutes in India.

Placements And Prospects

One of the most exciting aspects of photography is the variety of jobs available in the field, ranging from highly specialized, technical work to jobs that require creativity and Visual literacy. Photographers can start working as assistants to senior photographers, in which capacity they are paid around Rs. 3,500 - 6,000.

Photographers work with magazine and newspaper publishers, with commercial photographers or work in their own studio. Freelancing has been the most popular career choice among photographers.

Special areas of work: Photographers have used their skills in the following areas:

  1. Photojournalism - Photojournalists work for newspapers and news magazines who commission them to provide photographs of newsworthy events, things and situations. Photojournalists combine an ability to find and record dramatic action with photographic talent. The job requires agility and may often be carried on in hazardous situations. A high level of observation and alertness is required in the field.

  2. Commercial photography - This branch involves photographing for several commercial segments such as merchandise , exteriors and interiors, machinery and fashions to be used in advertising and selling. A great variety of cameras, lights, props are used in commercial photography.

  3. Advertising - In advertising, the challenge is in striking a balance between creativity and the client's demands for conveying the desired message. The job offers tremendous scope for experimentation and creative skills.

  4. Fashion - Fashion photography is one of the most lucrative forms of photography. Fashion photographers cater to a variety of clients, fashion houses, designers, portfolios for models, fashion journals and newspapers. They are required to have an eye for detail and knowledge of fashion . Fashion photographers are aware of styles, moods and fashion trends. The job is in the studio as well as on locations.

  5. Food display- Food photographers work for food manufactures, hotels and restaurants, exporters, dairy and ice-cream companies. Photographs are shot either in a studio with an attached kitchen or in hotels for exclusive shots.

  6. Industrial photography - Industrial photographers photograph workers on the job, machinery, industrial layout, prominent places in the industry etc. These photographs are used in company publications or for ad campaigns. Industrial photography demands knowledge of the industry as well as its equipment.

  7. Wildlife photography - Wildlife photographers have interest in nature, wildlife, birds, and their habitats, keen observation,patience, an eye for interesting details and love for adventure. Animals, natural habitats and surrounding are photographed. Wildlife photographers have to wait for hours to catch the animals in the right mood and pose.The work is carried on in sanctuaries, forests and reserves. The task being challenging is very remunerative.

  8. Aerial photography - Aerial photographs of places, buildings, landscapes, terrain which cannot be reached with ease, particularly during natural disasters, war and other similar situations are taken from aircraft in flight. These are used for news, business, industrial, scientific or military purposes.

  9. Scientific photography - Photographic illustrations and documentation are used for scientific publications and research reports. The chief areas scientific photographers cover are engineering, aerodynamics, medicine, biology and chemistry. Medical journals and books carry photographs taken by specialists in this field who have both knowledge and interest.

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