Photography is no longer just a job

Megan Maher

It seems like everyone these days has a camera with them. Whether its a cell phone or an actual camera, people can always be ready to take a picture at a moments notice. With the emergence of social media, more and more people can post pictures of their daily lives.These pictures can be liked, shared, and distributed freely throughout the internet.

They say pictures are worth a thousand words and it’s because photography is more than just taking photos. You can see things differently through the lens, things that a normal person might not see. Emotions can be captured in such a way that can bring tears to someones eyes and celebrations can be captured in much the same way as defeat. So what does this mean for photographers who are actually paid to take these pictures?

Having my mother be a professional photographer has exposed to me what it really means to be a photographer. Growing up, I would always go to events with my mother, and it’s not always as easy as it looks. My mother, Julie Maher, who is the staff photographer for the Wildlife Conservation Society says, “It is harder for photographers to find paid work, especially full-time jobs, because it is an era where everyone has a camera. Quality is less important than quantity.”

Since most media publishes online now, photographers are forced to become multifaceted in what they can do which is to not only take pictures, but also film and edit videos. Photographers also have to carry heavy gear wherever they go in order to get the best picture. So most people do not realize the amount of work it actually takes to be a professional photographer.

Even though many news sites encourage people to post photos for their use, social media has become the mecca for photo and video posting. Social media has now gathered, what are now being called citizen journalists, i.e., ordinary people that can post stories, photos or even videos of events.

Citizen journalists can help bring new light to stories and events that a writer might not have seen before. This is what can make it hard for photographers to do their jobs. In my experience as the photography editor, its almost easier to ask for photos online then to actually go the event or person especially when there is a deadline.

“Professionals have to create a story, write a story, fulfill an assignment, have a mission, manage their assets, sell their photos, market themselves, and stay abreast of technology,” my mother said.

So to all those people who do not think photography is real job, or think anyone can just become a photographer, I can tell you there is more work than fun. Photographers may get to go to all the “cool” events like sports games, speeches, or concerts, they are more often than not put into dangerous situations as well. Journalists aren’t the only ones covering the wars and civil unrest, the photographers are there too. So next time you think photographers have it easy, just remember we can go where you go and carry camera gear.