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Career and Education Opportunities for Photographers in Birmingham, Alabama

If you want to be a photographer, the Birmingham, Alabama area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 1,970 jobs for photographers in Alabama and this is projected to grow 9% to about 2,160 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for photographers are expected to grow by about 11.5%. Photographers generally photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products.

The income of a photographer is about $10 per hour or $21,370 yearly on average in Alabama. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $14 per hour or $29,440 yearly on average. Incomes for photographers are not quite as good as in the overall category of Media Technical in Alabama, and not quite as good as the overall Media Technical category nationally. Photographers work in a variety of jobs, including: underwater photographer, studio photographer, and biological photographer.

There are fifteen schools of higher education in the Birmingham area, including five within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree to start your career as a photographer. Given that the most common education level for photographers is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a photographer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Photographer

Photographer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, photographers photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products. They also may develop negatives and produce finished prints.

Photographers decide on desired images and picture composition, selecting and adjusting subjects, equipment, and lighting to produce desired effects. They also develop artificial light, using flashes and reflectors. Equally important, photographers have to test equipment before use to insure that it is in good working order. They are often called upon to perform maintenance tasks needed to keep equipment working properly. They are expected to use traditional or digital cameras, along with a variety of equipment such as tripods and flash attachments. Finally, photographers manipulate and enhance scanned or digital images to generate desired effects, using computers and specialized software.

Every day, photographers are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to visualize how things come together and can be organized. It is also important that they understand events and object details at a distance.

It is important for photographers to decide on and assemble equipment and required background properties, in line with subjects and conditions. They are often called upon to perform general office duties such as scheduling appointments and ordering supplies. They also adjust apertures and camera focus on the basis of a combination of factors such as lighting and film speed. They are sometimes expected to decide on project goals and equipment needs by studying assignments and consulting with clients or advertising staff. Somewhat less frequently, photographers are also expected to produce computer-readable, digital images from film, using flatbed scanners and photofinishing laboratories.

Photographers sometimes are asked to direct efforts of staff who are setting up photographic equipment. and design visual aids and charts for use in lectures or to present evidence in court. And finally, they sometimes have to test equipment before use to insure that it is in good working order.

Like many other jobs, photographers must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Broadcast Technician. Set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to transmit radio and television programs. Control audio equipment to regulate volume level and quality of sound during radio and television broadcasts. Operate radio transmitter to broadcast radio and television programs.
  • Camera Operator. Operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.
  • Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
  • Dancer. Perform dances. May also sing or act.
  • Film or Videotape Editor. Edit motion picture soundtracks, film, and video.
  • Musician. Play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Photographer Training

Birmingham Southern College - Birmingham, AL

Birmingham Southern College, 900 Arkadelphia Road, Birmingham, AL 35254. Birmingham Southern College is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,458 students and an admission rate of 69%. Birmingham Southern College has 2 areas of study related to Photographer. They are:

  • Film/Video and Photographic Arts, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Art/Art Studies, bachelor's degree.

Miles College - Fairfield, AL

Miles College, 5500 Myron Massey Blvd, Fairfield, AL 35064. Miles College is a small college located in Fairfield, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,773 students. Miles College has a bachelor's degree program in Visual and Performing Arts.

University of Montevallo - Montevallo, AL

University of Montevallo, Station 6001, Montevallo, AL 35115-6000. University of Montevallo is a small university located in Montevallo, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,030 students and an admission rate of 78%. University of Montevallo has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated one student in 2008.

Samford University - Birmingham, AL

Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229-2240. Samford University is a small university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,469 students and an admission rate of 89%. Samford University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated four students in 2008.

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL 35294-0110. University of Alabama at Birmingham is a large university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,149 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Alabama at Birmingham has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated thirty-seven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Forensic Video Technician: Forensic video analysis is an important science that can have a significant impact on the investigation process.

For more information, see the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association website.

Certified Photographic Consultant: PMA awards the Certified Photographic Consultant (CPC) designation to individuals who successfully meet rigorous testing on photo and digital imaging technologies.

For more information, see the Photo Marketing Association International website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.