Photographers vs Designers

It was in class where I heard a brief conversation on how competitive the photography industry is. I started to reflect on this and thought back to a conversation I had with a coworker. She is a photographer and had briefly worked for a studio when she was fresh out of college. She was telling me how she would get jobs that paid next to nothing. Today, she charges more now that she has experience, but, despite that, she is still in competition with those who are just out of college and charging dirt cheap prices like she did. It becomes a balancing act between who has a one up on the other, whether it be the more experienced photographers or the ones just out of college with lower rates.

There was another aspect that was mentioned in the conversation in class that I found interesting. With the industry being so competitive, it becomes even more so with other artists trying to segway into it. Graphic designers are starting to branch out of doing just design and are focusing on photography as another way to make themselves more marketable to companies. This is even seen in our own class, where 5 out of the 7 people are graphic designers (myself included). This can be problematic for many photographers. Now they have to compete, not only among themselves, but also with those from other industries. This also could be a way of “cutting out the middleman,” where companies may not even hire photographers anymore because their graphic designer is qualified enough.

When looking at this from a personal perspective, there is a part of me that sees photography as a way to promote myself and the abilities I have besides my design work. This could possibly get me hired over someone who doesn’t know any photography. But, that’s not the only reason why I think it’s important to be familiar with a camera. As I am more of a designer than photographer, there may be some photography jobs that I would feel underqualified for. In that case, the company may hire an outside photographer that I would have to closely work with. By learning photography skills, I can understand the time and effort required to capture an image. I will also have the ability to communicate how I would want something photographed and understand if it would be possible. Other than this, photography has become more of a hobby for me. Yes, what I’m learning is valuable for the “real world,” but ultimately in my case, I do it just for fun.


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