Career options with an MA Photography

Tue 1 Dec 2020

Studying for an MA in Photography expands your understanding of social and cultural contexts as well as your creative and technical skills so that you can meaningfully engage with this ever-evolving medium. With an MA in Photography, these are just some of the career options available to you:

1. Photographer

Working as a professional photographer gives you the rare opportunity to earn an income doing what you love – and to establish a successful and highly-rewarding career while doing it. Typically, professional photographers tend to specialise in an area they enjoy most, such as:

• Editorial

• Travel

• Nature – wildlife, landscapes, etc.

• Fashion

• Corporate

• Advertising

• Social photography – weddings, portraits, etc.

Most professional photographers are self-employed and work on a freelance basis. But there’s also the option to work for a variety of organisations (such as publishers) and creative agencies.

As a professional photographer, you’ll use the knowledge and skills gained from your MA Photography to:

• Work effectively with clients to identify and deliver their image requirements

• Find appropriate photographic opportunities, locations and subjects

• Carry out research and other appropriate steps to prepare for a photo shoot

• Confidently and proficiently use a wide range of photographic technical equipment, including various cameras, lenses, lighting and photographic software

• Become an inquisitive, innovative and outward-looking professional photographer • Confidently collaborate with other professionals on a global scale

• Sustain the quality of your practice by being able to analyse and discuss it from a range of critical perspectives

• Build a strong portfolio and a global network of professional contacts to help you in your career

What salary can you expect to earn in this role?

If you work as a professional photographer on a freelance basis, how much you make depends on the client and how much work you can secure. If you’re employed as a full-time photographer within an organisation, you can expect to make around £25,000 to £65,000, with the higher end of the scale being for those who have built a solid reputation within the industry.

2. Press photographer

If you have a passion for news and current affairs and would love to see your work feature alongside engaging and informative editorial pieces read by thousands, or even millions, then a career as a press photographer could be an excellent option for you. You’ll capture news, current affairs and lifestyle stories on camera to tell a captivating story, record an important event, or convey a compelling message. Your images will then be featured – alongside text – in newspapers, magazines and online. If you’re also a great wordsmith, your role as a press photographer could see you stepping into photojournalism, where you’ll combine your creative flair for using both images and words to tell an engaging story.

As a professional press photographer, you’ll use the knowledge and skills gained from your MA Photography to:

• Work closely with journalists and picture editors to identify and discuss the photographic requirements for a story

• Creatively and appropriately photograph people, places and events to effectively convey the message and meaning behind a story

• Prepare digital images to tight publication deadlines

What salary can you expect to earn in this role?

Very experienced press photographers can expect to earn around £25,000 to £60,000 a year. Salaries depend on experience and the publisher. If you choose to work on a freelance basis, you can check the National Union of Journalists (NUJ)’s Freelance Fees Guide for suggested rates.

3. Advertising art director

If you enjoy the fast-paced world of advertising and want to work as a creative lead across a variety of mediums, then a role as an advertising art director might be the perfect career option. As an advertising art director, you'll take the creative lead to come up with innovative ideas for the visual elements behind successful advertising campaigns across a range of media, including:

• TV and cinema

• Internet (digital/viral marketing, social media)

• Posters

• Press

You’ll typically work alongside a copywriter as part of a creative team, together identifying, strategising and delivering the visual and written content needs of various advertising campaigns.

As an advertising art director, you’ll use the knowledge and skills gained from your MA Photography to:

• Work closely with clients to understand their product/service and target audience and identify advertising messages

• Liaise with copywriters to brainstorm creative and innovative ideas to effectively convey advertising messages

• Produce sketches, storyboards, roughs and scamps to communicate your visual ideas to the client

• Effectively lead, mentor and brief other members of your creative team

• Appropriately assess locations for potential photo shoots

• Proficiently work with photo-editing software to edit and quality-check final images

What salary can you expect to earn in this role?

Mid-level advertising art directors can expect to earn between £25,000 and £45,000 a year, depending on experience. Senior advertising art directors can expect to earn from £45,000 up to £120,000 a year.

Falmouth Flexible offer an MA Photography that you can study flexibly online. The course is delivered by Falmouth University – a TEF gold-standard university – and designed to help you kickstart your career as a successful photographer. 

Photography, Blog

Get in touch today