Photographers prospects

5 05 2011

In 2008 there were 152,00 employed photographers in the United States. Across the next seven years the numbers are expected to climb to 169,00 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website. With more than half of them being self employed, either working for advertising agencies, magazines or own their own studio, according to the BLS website.

Photography is a tough business to break into. There are always new photographers cropping up and charging less, or non-professional photographers taking the work away from professionals. It’s easy to call yourself a photographer, all you really need is a camera either a 35mm or a DSLR and maybe access to editing software but just because you own a camera doesn’t qualify yourself.

It also helps when you have some sort of education, mainly a degree. While the University does not have a dedicated photography, or photojournalism major or minor students can still take photo classes either in visual communications technology (VCT) or fine arts photography.

Yet no class can teach you photography, they just give you the knowledge on how to make photos. Making great pictures is a learning process, that students and professionals are going through. Being a student photographer myself, I wondered how others are trying to get into the field and how they handle photography.

Junior Sara Fouts

For Sara Fouts, photography started as an interest in junior high. Describing herself as an “artsy” person Fouts, now a junior at the University, made a decision to continue to photograph and become better at it.

“I was really drawn by National Geographic to travel the world and using photography to get to know other people,” Fouts said.

Photography, for Fouts is a way to learn more about people and a way to preserve memories. Talking to people while she is taking their picture opens them up allowing another side to be captured.

“It puts people in a vulnerable spot. It opens up conversation and sometimes when I shoot, I talk to them while I’m taking their picture,” Fouts said “some of the best pictures are of them answering a question that pulls on an emotional string.”

Part of Fouts inspiration came from her aunt, who gave her an old Pentax SLR. Fouts has yet to bring it out, but she plans to in the future.

” My mom, is a photographer so I’ve always had a camera in my face and I hated it. I wanted to get on the other side of the camera,” Hannah Sparling said.

Senior Hannah Sparling, photo provided by Hannah Sparling

When she came to the University her freshman year Sparling mostly did writing, up until this year when her interest in photography grew.

“I prefer photojournalism because it’s more real to me. I’m not a fan of posed photos,” Sparling said. While photography will never be her main job, Sparling will continue to shoot. Whether it’s recreational, or for stories.

“It’s kinda a new thing for me, but I like it a lot” Sparling said.


The full Sara Fouts interview