Photography as an Alternate Career: Turning Passion into Profession

Posted on May 24, 2012 in Alternative Careers

By Madhav Gupta:

We all love taking pictures! We take them here there everywhere, let it be youth or the senior members of the family, everybody is fond of clicking pictures. The main credit goes to the smartphones which make us look smart. And the digital cameras which led to the end of film cameras and made taking pictures a much easier as well as a costless job.

However, people limit photography only to their hobbies and not many take it as a profession. But the scenario is changing. Taking pictures is not mere an act it’s an art of story-telling. Photography has a part to play in almost everything let it be magazines, online marketing, social networking, posters, journalism and street hoardings etc.
Photography offers a number of opportunities and the range of the fields that you can venture into. Mentioned below are the different career options possible within the realm of photography.

1. Wedding Photography is the highly money making genre of Photography and largely accepted by Photographers. A wedding photographer can easily earn 50-60k for a whole wedding. And as you get more experienced, 1-1.5Lakhs would be a normal charge (that would include video too). But it is the toughest field because you are capturing somebody’s most precious moments and you have to be highly cautious of the changing conditions.
2. Product Photography is taking pictures of items and products produced or sold by the company for the purpose of advertising and selling. It can include food, merchandise, electronics, and automobiles and are highly in demand.
3. Portrait Photography is capturing moments with main focus on people. A good portrait photographer can do very well as a Wedding Photographer.
4. Event Photography is covering pictures from social events to celeb parties. Photographers of this genre can freelance with magazines and newspapers. They have a growing demand in online media e.g., etc need lot of event photographers.
5. Fashion Photography is indulging in the field where one works with the models, fashion houses and designer houses. This is another money making field of photography. A respected photographer can charge 40-50k for a photo shoot of individual models.
6. Photo Journalist provides the press with pictures that are relevant to the daily news and events. This kind of photography is best done instinctively. Hence, you need to be spontaneous and know what kind of a picture would best illustrate your article. If you are adventurous and willing to work under difficult conditions when needed, then this field is probably for you.
7. Fine Art Photography click photographs which are sold as an art form. To be a fine art photographer, you have to be very creative and expressive.
8. Photo Essay is presenting a story with the help of series of photographs. You can cover any topic let it be social cause, travel, food etc. A photograph speaks for itself and helps people see. Although, there is not much money in this field, you can work with few magazines like, Forbes life, Fountain Ink, etc.
9. Travel Photographers can narrate a story and give audience a genuine and firsthand experience with the help of photographs. The travel photographers can work with various travel magazines like Outlook traveller, lonely planet etc. They can even work in promote with the hotels and government agencies in promotion. If you live to travel, this is the field for you.
10. Wildlife Photography in this field you cover the nature and animal kingdom in their most habitual conditions. The photographs of sceneries, landscapes, waterfalls and sunsets etc. form a part of wildlife photography.
11. Industrial Photography click photographs of machinery, merchandise, industrial layout, workers at work etc. to be used for company publications and for the purposes of advertising and selling.
12. Forensic Photography taking pictures at crime scenes from all possible angles with great emphasis on details in order to help the police or detective agencies.
13. Scientific Photography is used for scientific publications and research reports. The areas that it covers are biology, medicine, chemistry and engineering. You have to have both interest and knowledge to be a part of this field.
Do I need a formal course to become a Photographer?

Most of the photographers are basically self-trained, but in last one decade there are lot of institutes started in India which have started a detailed course on the art of taking pictures and have produced brilliant photographers. They are:-

1. Lights and Life Academy, Ooty
2. National Institute of Design
3. Bharatiya Vidya Peeth, Pune
4. Delhi School of Photography
5. AAFT (Asian Academy of Film & Televion), Noida
6. Udaan Photography, Mumbai
7. FX School of Photography, Mumbai
8. Film and Television Institute of India, Law College Road, Pune -411004 (Photography as a subsidiary subject)
9. Fergusson College, Pune (B.A. Degree Course in photography)

Criteria for Admission

You can get admission in most of the institutes after School (10+2) via a written exam followed by an Interview. Although getting admission in college is quite easy as compared to other streams. But you need to get in the best and they have a detailed and difficult procedure.

You can get admission in private photography colleges by just paying the course fee as they don’t have much of admission criteria. And there are lot of other schools which taken weekend classes, so you can join them along with your primary college.

How do I publish my work?

Few years back people would open a photography website (that would incur good amount of money) or a photo blog and show their work. But nowadays the best mediums are Social networking sites like facebook, twitter etc which are free of cost and you getter a better reach via your friends, e.g. Hari Menon, Audi Photography, Himanshu Khagta etc. did well thanks to facebook.


With the media industry developing at the rate of 400% per year, there are lot of opportunities coming up for the young photographers. Photographs are required in each and every field let it is politics, tourism, catering business, fashion houses, police, journalism etc. They all have an important dependency on photographers.


Photography as a profession is still developing in India, so there is a not a fixed pay-package for photographers in start up. But it’s only till the time you get established. Once you have a good name in this field you can earn handsomely. One can start as an assistant to senior photographers in which you’d be paid Rs 3500 to Rs 6000. Once you are established, you would be paid as per the assignment. The range can be from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000. Fields like commercial photography pay higher compared to the other fields. Beginnings can be made at Rs. 15,000 which may grow over a period of time.

So, if you have passion for photography and want people to see, how you see thing, Photography is the best job. It’s a highly interesting and courageous job. Although, you may not have a smooth start, if you work dedicatedly and creatively, you will do better than the cattle breed.