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How Do I Become a Scientific Photographer?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Unlike many other jobs in the photography field, you may need to obtain a specific type of bachelor's degree in order to become a scientific photographer. An education in the sciences in which you are interested will be most relevant, as will training in different photography techniques using equipment such as digital cameras, infrared cameras, and thermal imaging. You will need to do a fair amount of on the job training to become a scientific photographer, and you will likely start your career under the tutelage of a more experienced photographer.

Learn as much as possible about the different pieces of equipment you are likely to use once you become a scientific photographer. Photographers may use film or digital cameras, with digital being the relatively new norm. In order to become a scientific photographer, you will need to use advanced pieces of equipment and different photographic techniques. The best way to learn about these pieces of equipment is to enroll in a photography degree program that will teach you how to use these expensive and sometimes complex pieces properly. Otherwise, you will need to find an experienced photographer who offers an apprenticeship or training program.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

An apprenticeship is a great way to get hands-on training while still earning money. Apprentices do not generally get paid exceptionally well, but as an apprentice, you are likely to quickly learn how to use the equipment properly as well as how to get into the field in terms of jobs and contacts. Before you seek out an apprenticeship, however, you will need to determine what type of science you intend to focus on once you become a scientific photographer. Some photographers, for example, focus on taking satellite imagery, while others get into the medical field or become forensic photographers. Each field is distinctly different and will require different qualifications.

Once you have researched the particular field you want to enter, carefully research the common qualifications of such photographers. A forensic photographer, for example, may need a background in the medical field or may require a specific degree in forensics. Specific certifications may be necessary, and training for preserving one's safety as well as evidence at a crime scene will likely be required. Such practices may not be required for other fields, such as meteorology photography, so it is best to do careful research before committing to any training programs.

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