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5 Career Paths for Budding International Photographers

Photography is often seen as a hobby rather than a worthwhile career path. Yet there are a number of worthwhile career paths to explore, each of which involves its own distinct training. Commercial, travel, and scientific photography are each separate industries with their own needs. International students in particular can excel at photography. Many of these career pathways involve global travel and an independent work ethic, which are both built up during study abroad experiences. If you're thinking about pursuing photography as more than just a pastime, think about whether any of the following career paths may be a good fit.


“… a worthwhile career path.”

1.  Photojournalism

Those who have a keen eye for detail and like putting themselves in the heart of the action might want to pursue a photojournalism career. This involves taking photos of newsworthy events as they happen, whether it's a massive protest or a hostage standoff. Photojournalists often find themselves in dangerous or politically controversial events, which is where the best shots tend to be. For those who are quick-thinking and have the nose for a story, photojournalism can be an extremely rewarding career. 


“… the heart of the action …”

2. Travel Photography

Have you been bitten by the travel bug? Many international students find that once they've experienced life in a foreign country as a student, they long for more extensive travel. For photography students, this could lead to a career as a travel photographer. Competition is fierce in this industry, but if you have savvy people skills and the ability to blend into your environment, you may be able to capture award-winning photos for travel magazines or hospitality brochures.


“… bitten by the travel bug?”



3. Wildlife Photography

Are you torn between a career working with animals and one which involves your love of photography? Combine these two interests to become a wildlife photographer. You can click here to read more about this profession as well as further pathways for photographers within Australia. Whether you wish to capture kangaroos in their natural habitat or prides of lions in Africa, you'll need to combine a respect for nature with plenty of patience. Nature can be unpredictable, and you'll be travelling through remote territories to capture wildlife in remote habitats.


“…. become a wildlife photographer.”

4. Portrait Photography

Perhaps one of the most common career paths for international photography students is to become a portrait photographer. Portrait photography is in high demand all over the world, whether it's for families, weddings, or sports teams. If you enjoy academic life, you could even become a university photographer to document official events for archiving purposes and take yearbook photos. Portrait photography is ideal for those who enjoy working with people from diverse backgrounds. If you are good at making strangers feel comfortable, you could be a natural fit for this career path.

5. Forensic Photography

Are you interested in working with law enforcement? Do you enjoy solving puzzles and documenting the details that could solve a crime? You may wish to become a forensic photographer, taking photos of crime scenes. This job is not for the faint of heart, but it can be rewarding to know that you've helped solve a mystery.


“… taking photos of crime scenes.”

Whether your interest lies with wildlife conservation, medical science, or politics, there are numerous areas of photography to explore. You'll need the proper training, plenty of practice, and the willingness to persevere to get your foot in the door. Yet photography can be a very fulfilling career for students from all over the world.

This article was written by Rachel MacDonald, a freelance writer and blogger, who specializes in education, photography and the arts.

Image 1 Source: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Image  4 Source: © Copyright Peter Trimming and licenced for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence