Students in our program often want to know
the answers to at least one of these questions:
What are my employment options after graduation?
How much money
can I make in photography?
I want to start working as a photographer during school; how can
First, the options for employment in the field of photography are many
and varied. Many students who want work in the field discover that there
are a wider variety of options than they would have previously thought.
Here are just a few of the job titles that are available in the field
of professional photography. For more thoughts on what sorts of jobs
you might consider, see our list of program alumni and see what they
have done after graduation from our program.
Further, you can look at these links:
Below are some of the employment opportunities available to students
who graduate from our program:
Digital Image Specialist
Every five years, the College of DuPage surveys graduates of individual
programs who have been out of school for more than one year. The
last survey for the Photography program was in 2005 and was done on students who had graduated from the program in 2003. At that time,
graduates who said that they were working in a job related to their
studies reported making an average of $31,200 annually.
There are a number of things you can do to get your photography
career kick-started. Remember that doing photography well means being
able to repeat successes, which often means having the experience
to be able to be consistent. In other words, don't try to run before
you can walk.
You should sign up for TheList, a listserv
that we maintain for COD photo students. Whenever we get a contact
we post it to the listserv first. To sign up, use this
link. It's not
only a great way to learn about things that get phoned in to
us, but also students often use TheList as a way to ask questions
and of each other. You might find that a fellow student is someone
who is looking for an assistant or a shoot or knows of assisting
can do. It's our own version of a peer network, and you'll find
that in the
photo business, networking is probably your best friend in terms
of finding work.
In addition to TheList, we also post the same jobs notices on our
Jobs board in the Photo Lab. Depending on the week, you'll find
and 10 different opportunities there.
We have a course called Professional Photographic Practices (Photo
2700) that you should consider taking as soon as you are eligible
(prereq. is 20 credits in photography). It is a course about the
business of the
and is a great primer in how to get started.
In addition to the Professional Practices in Photography course,
there is another course that is as important, if not more so. Portfolio
Presentation, Photography 2750, is the capstone course in our program.
It helps students put together a professional-quality portfolio to
help them in their job search. Most jobs in the photography business
are obtained by showing your prospective employer a portfolio of
work that you've done. There is nothing that can substitute for having
a good book, and Photo 2750 will help you get it. It has a prerequisite
of 30 credits in photography.
It's always a good idea to do some research about jobs in the field,
and a good place to start on that is the ASMP website. See this
link about the business of photography and this link about getting started
as a photographer's assistant.
Looking in want ads is a reasonable idea, though you have to be
a bit careful to weed out the "photo-factory jobs" (big
companies that require a lot but pay little) from the bona-fide opportunities.
One other option is that you can start going door-to-door to studios
to see if they are looking for help. This is often difficult
in that many studios aren't looking for help and you end up spinning
If you find a steady situation of some sort, you may want to consider
turning it into a "Cooperative
Education" course that will
earn you credit towards your degree or certificate while you work.
information about Cooperative Education, see this link or visit any
one of the Full-Time faculty members in the program.
Now... Get to Work!