Photography is a creative activity that renders imagination in a tangible form. It is a unique medium of self-expression. According to Wikipedia, "Photography is the process, activity and art of creating still or moving pictures by recording radiation on a radiation-sensitive medium, such as a photographic film, or an electronic sensor." It requires aesthetic sense as well as technical expertise. Photography though mostly pursued as a hobby can be converted into a profitable profession.

With the boom in adverting industry and media, along with fashion boom, digital photography is becoming a lucrative profession and has great commercial value. It has become a significant part of print as well as electronic media. This field offers a lot of opportunities and scope for those who have an interest as well as aptitude needed for it.

Nature of Work

Those who want to pursue photography as a career have the following options before them:

Photo Journalism
Here images are taken and used to tell news stories. The photo journalist creates a news story with the help of pictures taken during an event like war, riots or festivities etc. This field is full of adventure and risk as the Photo Journalists have to visit places of disasters, riots or war fields. A Photo Journalist has to shoot pictures for the whole incident and prepare a story based on that.

Fashion and Advertising Photography
This genre of photography includes taking pictures to display clothing and other fashion items. One has to shoot models and actors. This area of work is full of glamour.

Nature and Wildlife Photography
Wildlife photography is devoted to taking the pictures of animals in action, such as eating, fighting, or in flight. Game farms are also a preferred location for wildlife photography. Natural elements such as landscapes, wildlife, plants, and close-ups of natural scenes and texture are displayed in Wildlife Photography.

Event photography
Pictures are taken for weddings and other events like sports meets, family functions etc.

Still Photography
Pictures of natural or man-made objects are taken. One such example of this kind of photography is Portrait photography. Pictures of children, pets etc are captured.

Travel Photography
Those who have an interest in travelling and have an adventurous aptitude can opt for this field. One has to take right shots at right moments.

Professional Courses

The students who have passed 10+2 exam are eligible for the diploma/certificate courses in photography. Photography can be learned and Diploma/Certificate can be obtained even by attending part time classes of Photography. In this way a person can do other studies as well. A formal training can build confidence in the individual and teach the latest technologies.

Photography is also an optional subject for a Bachelor's degree in Fine arts. B.A courses in Photography are also offered by some of the institutes.

Some of the courses offered in Photography are:

  • Certificate Course in Advanced Photography
  • Certificate Course in Basic Photography
  • Certificate Course in Digital Photography
  • Certificate Course in Fashion Photography
  • Certificate Course in Photo Journalism
  • Certificate Course in Photography
  • Diploma in Fashion Photography
  • Diploma in Motion Picture Photography
  • Diploma in Photography
  • Diploma in Professional Photography


To become a successful photographer you need to have creativity and a sense of aesthetics. You have to be focussed on your work. A basic course in Photography should be done in order to learn the technicalities of the work. For the basic course minimum educational requirement is 10+2. A successful career in photography doesn't call for a degree or diploma in the subject. But you will do better with a basic course in photography. For film and video, you must have a formal training. A background in computers or electronics is an added advantage.

Personal Attributes

You should have:

  • A keen visual sense
  • Understanding of shapes, colours, patterns, and hues
  • Strong observational skills
  • Interest and ability to express life and nature in a visual art form
  • Spatial perception - the ability to capture and understand objects from different dimensions and locations.
  • An eye for details
  • A lot of patience and perseverance
  • Ability to work under stress
  • Ability to meet deadlines

Career Prospects

A wide range of opportunities exist for the aspiring and budding photographers. One can get work in fashion houses, advertising agencies, magazines and photo studios. They can find employment in television channels and even websites. Television serial producers also employ photographers. Photographers who work for some special agencies can earn royalties on their pictures. Avenues are open in the areas of scientific laboratories and research institutions. Government agencies often avail the services of photographers for doing general documentation and for covering routine events and functions. Photographers can also work for newspapers, fashion journals etc. Free lancing is also one of the options. A digital photographer can shoot wildlife and landscape for T.V channels like Discovery and National Geographic.

Even the police and forensic departments need their services to take pictures of the scene of crime.


  • Academy of Photography, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata
  • Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi
  • College Of Art, University of Delhi, Tilak Marg, New Delhi
  • Film and Television Institute of India, Pune
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad
  • JJ School of Art, MG Road, Mumbai
  • Mass communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
  • National Institute of Design, Paldi, Ahmedabad
  • National Institute of Fashion Technology
  • Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi


A creative and hard working professional photographer can earn good sum of money. An assistant working with senior professional can earn at least Rs. 7,000 per month. Free lancing jobs can fetch you around Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 40,000 per month. Fashion photographers earn huge sum of money. They may charge Rs. 5,000 a day at the minimum and more than 5 lakh a campaign. If you are self employed you may be able to earn Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000 a day depending on the assignment you take up. Wedding Photographers do earn a lot. Specialist photographers like wildlife photographers, may earn up to Rs. 2-10 lakh or more per project. Those salaried in a company/newspaper house can get about Rs. 7,000-40,000 a month as their salary. Photojournalist and Press photographers get Rs. 4,000-25,000 a month or more. Assistant Film Photographers get Rs. 50,000-100,000 per film. Thus the amount of earnings depends on your expertise and the hard work you put along with your experience.


The article has been contributed by Ms. Abha Kheterpal. She has been an educationist for past 15 year. She has three masters degrees with her: M.A. in English, M.A Economics and M.Sc Psychotherapy & Counseling and being diverse in her interests, she also holds a Diploma in Computer and Software Applications. She is also a freelance writer with Jagaran Publications. She regularly contributes Career Related articles on and does Career Counseling.

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