Fashion photographers not only get to work with top fashion models and noted designers, they also make a pretty penny from doing so. Top fashion photographers can make more than £65,000 annually and employment also is expected to grow. This lucrative field however, is not without its challenges.
Fashion photographers aren't just paid to take pretty pictures for magazines, fashion houses and websites. They are expected to conceptualise the shoot, interpreting the designer's brand, the clothes and trends of the season. They must capture the clothes and accessories in a way the catches the consumer's eye. For this, fashion photographers must not only have an eye for capturing good photos, but also the creativity and artistry to transform clothes from mere garments into works of art.
Along with creativity, fashion photographers must be skilled at working with models to achieve the best possible poses and photos. They should also have an eye for scouting locations and talent. Additionally, they must be adept at all aspects of photography including camera operations, lighting, darkroom procedures and knowledge of paper and film, and more recently, digital photography. They must also have good business sense and solid networking and interpersonal skills.
Due to the number of creative and technical skills required to do a proper job, fashion photographers are compensated well. Fashion photographers can work for magazines, designers and catalogues and have the potential to earn in the six-figure range annually. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most other experienced photographers (freelance and salaried combined) earn around £32,500 per year. By comparison, photographers in other fields had a median annual earnings of £17,010 in 2006. Salaried photographers tend to earn more than those who are self-employed, as freelance photographers incur considerable expenses acquiring and maintaining cameras and accessories. However, most companies tend to work with freelance photographers rather than hiring a staff photographer.
Competition for fashion photographer jobs is stiff and the number of fashion photographers may outnumber the available jobs. However, employment in this field is expected to grow as much as 17 per cent between 2004 and 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But, salaried jobs may be difficult to find as more companies turn to freelance photographers rather than hiring to work in-house.
Along with experience, many fashion photographers have earned a degree in photography or art to help get jobs and make contacts. A degree, however, is not required. Still, fashion photographers should have a good working knowledge of cameras and related equipment.