How Do I Become an Industrial Photographer?

Mary McMahon

Someone who wants to become an industrial photographer can pursue a number of options to establish a career. These can include formal training in art school, apprenticing with a working photographer, or self-education in the field to develop skills and a portfolio. This work requires aesthetic and business skills, as industrial photographers are often self employed and need to be able to promote themselves to develop and establish client relationships. This work can require travel for various jobs, and an initial high investment in photography equipment.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

The art school route to become an industrial photographer includes training in the principles and practice of photography under the tutelage of experienced photographers. Many colleges and universities offer photography majors for students who do not want to attend an art school. It is also possible to pursue training in advertising and industrial photography specifically, which can provide people with useful skills. School may connect students with internships they can use for professional development, like opportunities to work with professional industrial photographers.

Another option to pursue is an apprenticeship with an industrial photographer. Photographers often need assistants and support staff and may be willing to serve as mentors and trainers. You may be able to become an industrial photographer by working in the field to develop skills and industry connections. It can be helpful if you make it clear that you plan to refine your abilities and pursue careers in this field so the photographers you work with have a clear understanding of your expectations.

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Self-taught photographers can also potentially succeed in this field, although it can require hard work for an extended period of time before it pays off. Photographers can build up a portfolio of industrial photography, which may include shots of buildings, heavy equipment, and industrial processes. With this in hand, they can solicit clients and apply for job openings. It can take some time to build up a reputation and become an industrial photographer this way.

This career requires ongoing professional development for you to become and remain successful. It can help to join a professional photography association to network and get access to workshops and other training opportunities. It is also important to maintain a robust portfolio of work and to establish and cultivate connections with potential clients or sources of referrals. Photographers known for courtesy, quick turnaround times, and visually interesting work can build up a large client base to provide opportunities for success.

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