Photography Courses - Careers, Salary, Jobs, Scope

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Why Photography?

Gone are the days when photography was treated as a mere hobby. Working in the photography is no longer restricted to event coverage and the movie sector. With the onset of social media and many online platforms, the need for photographers has touched every industry from fashion to advertising to food.

No matter what a photographer works on, the basic nature of work remains the same. You must hone your creativity and aesthetic skills in order to portray a message to the viewers.

As a photographer, one must be open to exploring new realms as it is not a “9 to 5” job per say. A wildlife photographer is bound to travel a lot and work outdoors whereas a fashion photographer does a lot of indoor shoots.

Jobs and career opportunities in Photography Industry

All of this might sound great, but you might be wondering, what are the actual career options. Let us take a look at some options:

Free Lancing

This is probably the most well-known and opted career option for photographers. A free-lancer works independently and they sell their own photographs. Great management skills are required here as you can’t always foretell what opportunity you will get next so you will need to handle your accounts with care. Most free-lancers across various verticals and do not restrict themselves to one field. One can work on contract basis, with experience and best skills, renowned freelance photographers charge on per shoot basis.

Fashion Photography

Here, you can work with designers, models or fashion houses. Mostly these photographs work for advertisements or magazines and put an emphasis on the latest fashion trends. As an assistant to senior photographer one may earn around Rs. 36,000/- to Rs. 72,000/- per month. But, once established, a fashion designer can get anywhere from 1.2 lakh to 3.6 lakh rupees per assignment.

Wildlife Photography

Behind every photograph that portrays the beauty of flora and fauna, there is a wildlife photographer. A wildlife photographer is enlisted with a task wherein they capture nature in its purest form. This is for all those who are mesmerized by nature.

Income at the beginner level is around Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 a month.

Established wildlife photographers, on the other hand, may earn an amount of Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh per month.

Press/ Photo Journalism

No news article ever feels complete without a photograph. It is the job of a press photographer to rightly convey the news in the form of photographs. One must be ready to work in any given situation and time to find photographs relevant to the corresponding news.

Income as a fresher is around Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 a month. The average salary is around 4 to 6 lakhs.

Portrait and Wedding Photography

All moments are forever captured when in the form of photographs. These photographers may take individual photographs of children or pets or may cover large events like weddings.

The average salary of a fresher is around 2.8 lakh per year although it increases with experience.

Scientific Photography

A scientific photographer uses their knowledge in areas ranging from medicine to engineering in order to explain a phenomenon using a photo.

Forensic Photography

A forensic Photographer helps the investigators gain an insight into the crime scene throughout the investigation by accurately capturing the scene from all angles. They must capture all details about the scene to make sure no clue is missed. An entry level photographer earns around 2.2 lakh rupees and about 3.5 lakhs at a senior level.

Salary in Photography Industry

Photography is a field where there is no structured salary. It mostly depends on many factors like experience, opportunities, creativity and more. But, looking at some statistics, we find the average salary of a photographer (considering all of the above-mentioned specializations and more) lies around Rs 4,00,000. Although it may vary anywhere from Rs. 1,23,067 to Rs 11,57269 per annum.

Salary also depends on the experience you have as an entry-level photographer earn an average salary of Rs. 3,10,000 whereas a mid-level experienced person may around Rs. 3,97,686.

As per a recent survey, there has been a 5-10% annual growth in the payscale of the photographers.

Photography Recruiters

Given that this a creative field, there isn’t one particular company that solely hires photographers. A given company hires on the basis of their requirement. Some of the top recruiters of photographers:

  • Individual Parties (Wedding or Event Photography)
  • Clothing Companies( Both online shopping and normal stores)
  • Magazines
  • Portrait Photography ( In studios)
  • Real estate websites
  • Product photography for stores
  • Government sectors ( Inclusive of defense sector)
  • Industrial Companies
  • Movies/Media
  • Advertising companies

Photography Courses

There are various degrees offered in the photography stream whether it is a one year course, Bachelor’s Degree or a Master’s Degree. The specializations tend to vary from institute to institute.

The eligibility for the short term courses and Bachelor’s Degree is a 10+2 schooling education.

  • Short Term Courses

These vary in terms duration from 6 months to one year. The 6-month courses are known as Bridge Courses. Some certified courses come with a specialization in Wedding Photography, General Photography.

Diploma Courses are offered for one-year duration and the specializations include Fashion Photography, Journalism Photography, Wedding Photography, Tabletop Photography, Professional Photojournalism and Wildlife Photography.

  • Under-Graduation Degrees

These are degree programs that are either of three-year or four-year durations. BFA in Photography i.e. Bachelor of Fine Arts is one of most renowned and popular degree course in photography. Some universities also offer B.Sc in Film and Photography.

  • Post-Graduation Degrees

These degrees intend to go deeper into the field and they are termed as either MFA in Photography or PG Diploma in Photography. Specializations include Professional Photography, Fashion Photography and more. Some institutes like National Institute of Design offer M.Des in photography design.

Courses & Subjects

The course structure varies from institute to institute but in general, if a student is pursuing a BFA(Photography), they learn:

  • Core photographic techniques
  • Theory of Basic Photography
  • Creativity in photography
  • UV Photography
  • Digital Imaging
  • Depth of field exercises

Students pursuing a PG degree study subjects according to their specializations. Some include:

  • Architecture and Interior Photography
  • Fashion Photography
  • Food and Beverage Photography
  • Travel Photography
  • People Photography
  • Nature Photography

Top colleges offering Photography courses in India

Below is a list of some of the popular colleges in India offering population courses

Institute Address
Delhi College of Photography New Delhi
The Light and Life Academy Ooty
College of Art, University of Delhi New Delhi
Mass Communication  Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi
Asian Academy of Film and Television Noida
Osmania University Hyderabad
National Institute of Design Ahmedabad
AJ Kidwai Mass Communication Delhi
National Institute of Photography Mumbai
Indian Institute of Digital Art and Photography Kolkata
Sir JJ School of Applied Arts Mumbai

Let’s look at some renowned colleges that provide this course in detail:

National Institute of Photography (NIP), Mumbai

This institute was established in Mumbai in 1983. It was founded by the Late Prof. Manohar Desai with the aim to spread knowledge among the youth in Photography. NIP was the first photography institute to receive an ISO 9001:2008 certification.

The courses offered are Diploma in Fashion photography, Tabletop photography, Wedding, and Events photography along with various crash courses and Workshops. Although the courses and workshops don’t have an admission criterion whereas the Diploma program does.

Admission Criteria & Eligibility: Must have a 10+2 level of education

Fee Structure: Rs.90,000/- and Rs.80,000/- if paid at once (for entire course)

Lights and Life Academy, Ooty

Established in 2001, this academy is located in the Queen of Hills- Ooty. It is a non-profit trust that was initially set up with support from Kodak India. The courses are PG Diploma in Professional Photography, a course on Professional Photojournalism and multiple types of workshops. The eligibility for a PG Diploma is given below.

Admission Criteria & Eligibility: An applicant must have at least 15 years of formal education, including that of a Degree. IN some exceptional cases, 12 years is also taken into consideration. A candidate must also be at least 20 years of age.

Fee: The Fee is divided into 3 parts, where the first part is Rs.4,10,000/- and the second section is Rs.1,90,000/-. The third section varies between Rs 25,000/- to Rs.45,000/- depending on the area of study.

Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University, Hyderabad

JNAFAU was established under Andhra Pradesh Legislature Act No. 31of 2008 and is located in Hyderabad. It offers three courses in Photography, namely a four year Bachelor of Arts Degree in Photography & Visual Communication, a two year Masters in Photography & Visual Communication as well as a three year Masters (PTPG) in Photography &Visualization.

Admission Criteria & Eligibility: Must have a 10+2 equivalent level of education. Aspirants must also appear for the entrance exam which is the JNAFAU Entrance exam.

Fee: Rs. 10,000/- per annum

Osmania University

Osmania University was established in 1918 by the Government of Andhra Pradesh and approved by UGC. It is located in Hyderabad and offers a BFA in Photography.

Admission Criteria & Eligibility: Must have a 10+2 equivalent level of education. The aspirant must also appear for the entrance exam that the institute conducts.

Fee: Rs. 10,000/- per annum

Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts & Communication (SACAC)

Established in 2003 and located in New Delhi, this institute offers a Diploma in Photography with a primary focus on the documentary but students are given an all overview of Photography. Although this is not a recognized course by any board, it is recognized in the industry.

Admission Criteria & Eligibility: Must have a graduate degree and be over twenty years of age. It is also a multi-step admission process where one must submit their personal statement and portfolio.

Fee: Rs. 2,96,000/- over the course of 16 months

Scope of Photography in India

The photography industry has seen a stark increase in its growth rate lying between 15% to 20% over the past few years. The global digital photography market alone is set to have a $110.61 billion increase by 2021. With the rise of digitalization, everything needs to be photographed right from models and events to nature and other wildlife.

If you have originality, can work independently, are artistic and creative and don’t mind going off on a whim, this is definitely the field for you. On pursuing any course in the field of photography, you will gain both technical and creative skills. You will learn to not only tell a story with photographs but also study things like light exposure and angle to take the best possible photograph.

As this is a forever expanding area with technological changes occurring rapidly, someone pursuing this course should be willing to update their knowledge on a regular basis. Because of this, you will also need to be fast-moving and hard working to keep up with the world. The above-mentioned personality traits along with some formal coursework will help you excel in the field of photography. It is one of the most promising courses and career choice.


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