What Professional Photographers Do For A Living
When some people think of photographers, they picture the tired cameraman who took all those awkward middle school portraits or the enthusiastic friend of the bride who snapped the candid shots at a cousin's wedding reception. A lot of people who own nice cameras and like to take pictures call themselves photographers, but in reality, the field is varied and requires a high level of professionalism. Photographers can be categorized by the types of pictures they take and the end use of those images.
One type of photographer is a Commercial Photographer. A commercial photographer is someone who takes pictures that are used for advertising a product. This can include shooting products or scenes for magazine advertising, billboards, and catalogs. Other examples are restaurant menus, brochures, product placement, and any context in which an image works to support advertising text. Commercial photography can be used to highlight the selling features of a product.
Commercial photography can be distinguished from fashion photography because it focuses on representing a product, whereas the purpose of fashion photography is to sell a lifestyle. Fashion photographers shoot clothing and heavily made-up faces, and they need to pay a lot of attention to lighting in order to create the right tone or the right dramatic effect for an image. Both commercial and fashion photography can be considered as subsets of advertising photography.
Another type of photographer is a Professional Editorial Photographer. This type of photographer takes pictures that are not intended to sell or inform anyone about a product. Rather, the editorial photographer takes pictures that illustrate stories that appear in magazines and newspapers. Editorial photography is all about capturing and sharing a story. Again, lighting is important to create the right mood or feeling for the image. This job may not pay quite as well as commercial or fashion photography, but it allows the photographer to have much more artistic freedom.
The three categories above can overlap as any individual photographer may take a variety of jobs. Professional photography, however, is about much more than having an expensive camera. A photographer's eye and brain are his or her most important pieces of equipment.