As we have discussed there are many avenues open to a professional photographer. Some actually graduate from the world of business into corporate photography. Corporate photography has many facets; it is used for publicity, in the form of advertisements; for public relations, for historical purposes, and for in-house brochures. Some corporate photographers can work for the same company for many years. They cover special events in the companies’ history, as well as being as in some cases an important aspect of industrial history. The history of the steamboat, the transition from the Agrarian to the Industrial revolution has all been captured on film.
Not only industrial history but history has been captured on film. War photographers usually by press photographers’ have captured history.
In the 1940’s Ansel Adam’s was probably the best-known American photographer. He captured images of the enforced internment of American citizen’s of Japanese descent at the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California. These prints record history in another way as the Photographic Division of the Library of Congress show digital scans of his negatives as well as his prints; this allows a student to study his dark room techniques.
The art of action photography is a specialised art that presents unique challenges, requiring both technical skills in capturing a moving image, as well as knowledge of the activity you are photographing. A sense of timing is vital as well as having the ability to pre-focus. Some types of photography has peak moments, such as the hour before dusk, action photography has peak milliseconds! Your sense of timing has to be well developed to know when this is going to be, because you have to shoot a millisecond before that to give the camera time to actually shoot. This is where knowledge of the activity is very helpful to allow you to anticipate the peak second. However, this is a very specialised aspect of the photography business, your techniques can be improved. Sport photography is easier than moving wildlife, or breaking news stories, as it is more predictable in its outcome. Common sense is fairly important with your positioning, you need an interesting backdrop, as well as a place that allows you to make best use of ambient light, be it also to keep yourself in a position of safety. The Pulitzer Prize for photography is no use to anyone when they are dead. Often these skills can be refined at amateur sporting events, where you do not need a press pass.
Another specialist type of photography is underwater photography, partly because you also need to be a qualified diver and partly because the equipment is specialised. It is possible to take shots underwater, with a normal camera, but amphibious cameras, get better results, unfortunately they are expensive, with a lot of things to learn and the possibility of very expensive repairs. As with action photography this is best left to the specialist and it is not a feasible option, unless you work in this media for the majority of your time. The sea can be a dangerous medium to work in, and it presents special challenges such as night, and wreck photography, as well as drift photography, all of which challenge both your diving skills as well as your technical skills.
Scientific photographers take images of a variety of subjects to illustrate or record scientific or medical data using knowledge of scientific procedures. They typically possess additional knowledge in areas such as engineering, medicine, biology, or chemistry. Often the photography of this type of record is an adjunct to a scientific career.
Assignment photography is the delivery of material for a specific assignment, often with limited appeal. It includes portrait photography, as well as wedding photography. Portrait photographers often have their own studios, as their clients come to them to have a formal portrait photographed. SLR digital cameras are often preferred to do this type of work, as there are more opportunities to “view real timework”, you do not have to wait for the negatives to be printed to see if you have created a shadow on the face with a hat. Also they can be retouched, pixel-by-pixel, which means the small time imperfections can be glossed over. The adage the camera does not lie has never been completely true, but in today’s world is even less so. A portrait photographer has the opportunity to go out on assignment and covers events such as weddings, and christenings.
Photo Journalism is another branch of photography that covers the breaking of various events; it can be general, on a local paper, covering local events such as school plays etc. International freelancers often cover specific areas such as war photography. Press photographers are often characterized under the banner of “journalism”, as they collect, edit and present news material, yet despite this they use images to tell a news story.
It is distinguished from documentary photography, street photography and the photographing of celebrities because they have a timeline in that they tell a story in a chronological order. A narrative to further complete the story nearly always accompanies the work. Implicit to a degree in this type of work is a level of objectivity rather than creativity, as the images are recording real events in real time. For these reasons it differs from a wedding photographer, even though in theory he covers an event in real time and for publication.
A further aspect of photography is the “celebrity” and “Society” photographer. The two are distinguishable, though the person being photographed can fall in both categories. The society photographer may be also a photojournalist himself. In Europe at least the Society photographer, is nearly always of the same class, partly on the ground that they have the “breeding” to cover such events, which may be Wimbledon, or the Melbourne Cup, or even a charity-raising gala. It is implicit that the Photographer has permission to take the photograph. That’s quite different to the inherent distaste often applied to the methods used by the celebrity photographer, whilst at the same time the public retain an insatiable desire to be able to see the photographs. Celebrity photographers are often these days called paparazzi, after a famous Italian photographer known for his dogged determination to trail after celebrities, and publish photographs taken in an unguarded moment.