A photographer is someone who uses a camera to capture a moment in time. Photographers have been around since the invention of the camera in the 1820s, and photos play an enormous role in the way we document the past. In the early days, photographers used chemicals to make a piece of metal or paper sensitive to light. Modern photographers use digital cameras and software that lets them make small changes to the photo on their computer. The way we take and process photos may be changing rapidly, but the need for photos and photographers hasn’t.
A Day in the Life
A photographer’s work usually falls into one of three categories: commercial, artistic, or journalistic.
Commercial photography could be fashion, products for sale, or even a beautiful place like a hotel. These photographers make money from images that go in travel guides, advertisements, on websites, or even from photographing weddings or families.
Photographers who are artists can create a new way of looking at the world. They may photograph anything from underwater scenes to sunrises from mountaintops, from a single flower to even the inside of a factory, and make them all beautiful to look at or make the viewer see something new. Using computers, photographers can take a picture and add colors, images, and other surprises to make a beautiful picture.
Photojournalists will travel to places that are in the news, such as war zones or sporting events. Their job is to show what is happening through a picture. The photographers who take pictures of famous people are called paparazzi. Photojournalists are responsible for documenting history on film and we rely on many of their images as we look back across significant events and times.
Education and Training
There are colleges dedicated to photography, and more general school programs with photography classes. Like other arts, photography requires a lot of practice to master the technical skills. Even though many cameras are now digital, photographers may still learn to develop film in a darkroom, and need to know how to adjust the focus and aperture on a camera. A photographer needs to know how much light they need, how to make contrast between dark and bright areas, and the way the whole scene looks together, which is called composition.
When you see a picture of a sports star, a famous person, or a beautiful nature scene, the photographer made artistic choices to make the image emotional, beautiful, or shocking.
- Understanding light and using light meters
- Adjusting camera equipment
- Developing an eye for design
- Working with people, animals, or in nature
- Telling news stories through a photograph
- Capturing the feeling of a moment
Their Importance in the World
A popular saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words. Professional photographers are people who can create an image that makes someone feel what a place or experience is like. Pictures are an important way to understand history, world events, or the lives of people living in another place. Historical photos let you see how people lived long before you were born, or what a city looked like when it was new. Now through new phone technology and the internet, many people are amateur photographers sharing their photos online.