And this is why photographers need to learn video right now.
Last week I attended the Silver & Ink event at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I was invited to see the graduate students’ work, teach a video class, speak at a “business of photography” panel discussion, review undergraduate and graduate portfolios, discuss technology trends with faculty, exchange my views about the future of photography with career advisors, and attend a stunning art opening. Among the many questions I received, there were two particular questions that were asked many times over—and I could sense a mix of fear and excitement in those who asked these questions.
Question #1: As a photographer, why should I learn video?
The answer is really simple: access to more future opportunities. According to careerinfonet.org there is a better than average annual growth in job openings for photographers, yet video editors, as well as audio and video technicians make significantly more money—either through an hourly wage (freelance) or yearly salary (part- and full-time employment).
I compared national averages with New York state averages, and the results are pretty clear.
In New York, video editors can make from $35,000 to $102,000 per year. Photographers make from $18,000 up to $81,000. As you can see, salaries for audio and video equipment technicians fall right in between the salaries of photographers and video editors
I personally know very few photographers at the high-end of the spectrum, but I know of several video editors who make a lot more than $100K.
What about employment growth?
For these three professions, job openings are inversely related to income. A lot more photographers than video editors will hit the market in the next 6 years. With an official unemployment rate currently at 8.3% (or 16% according to other sources) this is hardly good news.
So, instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, spread the risk by developing the skills to enhance your future career opportunities.
Question #2: As a photo student, what can I do to better prepare myself for the future?
And here my answer is also pretty unconventional: read. But I don’t mean comics or photo magazines. I recommend reading the best books that cover time management, project management, business skills, marketing, advertising, social media strategies, Google Analytics, entrepreneurship, money management (yes, this includes accounting), etc.
Learn how to run a business, how to manage people, how to discover new market opportunities, and how to present and promote yourself. Having a good eye and great technical knowledge is important, but these things alone will not get you far in the real world. If you are interested, I can put together a list of the best non-photo books I’ve read recently, but you need to let me know.
Do you have more questions? Do you agree or disagree with my opinions. Let your voice be heard below.