Before we talk about what it takes to become a commercial photographer, let’s define commercial photography. This is not a new type of photography, in fact it is a type of photography that as soon as photography was invented. Commercial photography is a term used for photography for which the photographer is getting fee for images rather than works of art. Commercial photographers are taking pictures for commercial use like taking photography for adverts, product placement and merchandising. Over the time commercial photography has evolved and nowadays we can talk about several other sub-types of commercial photography such as advertising photography, food photography, fashion photography, wedding photography, wildlife photography, crime scene photography etc.
We know that photography is a hobby for a lot of people. In some cases even photography used for commercial means is taken by photographers that don’t have formal education. However as the time passes and technology evolves the need for professional photographers is rising.
Nowadays you can choose from hundreds of professional commercial photographers that can be hired for different projects. Some of them are working on projects that can last for weeks. These professional commercial photographers are popular because they are educated in this field and know how to get the most of some situation. Advertising is becoming more and more popular and with it the need to present products in a better way is rising too. The photographic equipment is getting more advanced and the time when the devices had only 2-3 options are gone.
Those who want to become professional commercial photographers should know that they will need to obtain an art degree from some college. Luckily there are dozens of colleges that are specialized in commercial photography.
Some of the top colleges include:
Yale School of Fine Art* – They are offering MA in Photography, so you must have undergraduate degree before starting here. The number of new students is limited and those who finish on Yale School of Fine Art will have an advantage just for the fact that they have finished their education there.
New York Film Academy** - Founded in 1992, this academy is known for the intensive programs and although it is relatively new there are few very successful photographers that came from this school.
Brooks Institute*** - This Californian institute is offering various BA. MA, MS, MFA programs and has some of the best staff in the world of photography.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago**** - This school is offering only two main degree programs: a graduate MFA course and an undergrad BFA course. The faculty staff is focused on creativity and they are known for their experience.
Bachelor art degree can be acquired after 3 or 4 years, depending on the college program.
Since commercial photography is getting more popular and important, the salary for this occupation is rising too. Photographers in general have a median pay of around $28.500 per year or $13.7 per hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.*****