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Career and Education Opportunities for Photographers in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for photographers. Currently, 4,600 people work as photographers in Illinois. This is expected to grow by 7% to 4,890 people 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 $17 hourly or $37,060 per year on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $14 hourly or $29,440 annually on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Media Technical, people working as photographers in Illinois earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Media Technical nationally. People working as photographers can fill a number of jobs, such as: underwater photographer, photojournalist, and photographer assistant.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including twenty-six within twenty-five miles of Chicago 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 Chicago include:

  • Audio Visual Technician. Set up or set up and operate audio and video equipment including microphones, sound speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, recording equipment, connecting wires and cables, sound and mixing boards, and related electronic equipment for concerts, sports events, meetings and conventions, presentations, and news conferences. May also set up and operate associated spotlights and other custom lighting systems.
  • 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.
  • Sound Engineer. Operate machines and equipment to record, synchronize, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Photographer Training

Indiana University-Northwest - Gary, IN

Indiana University-Northwest, 3400 Broadway, Gary, IN 46408-1197. Indiana University-Northwest is a small university located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,794 students and an admission rate of 80%. Indiana University-Northwest has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated six students in 2008.

Northeastern Illinois University - Chicago, IL

Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N Saint Louis Ave, Chicago, IL 60625-4699. Northeastern Illinois University is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,193 students and an admission rate of 71%. Northeastern Illinois University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated two students in 2008.

Chicago State University - Chicago, IL

Chicago State University, 9501 S. King Drive, Chicago, IL 60628-1598. Chicago State University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,820 students and an admission rate of 61%. Chicago State University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated six students in 2008.

Trinity Christian College - Palos Heights, IL

Trinity Christian College, 6601 W College Dr, Palos Heights, IL 60463-0929. Trinity Christian College is a small college located in Palos Heights, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,404 students and an admission rate of 94%. Trinity Christian College has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies.

Dominican University - River Forest, IL

Dominican University, 7900 W Division St, River Forest, IL 60305. Dominican University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,413 students and an admission rate of 85%. Dominican University has 2 areas of study related to Photographer. They are:

  • Photography, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Art/Art Studies, bachelor's degree.

Saint Xavier University - Chicago, IL

Saint Xavier University, 3700 W 103rd St, Chicago, IL 60655. Saint Xavier University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,307 students and an admission rate of 71%. Saint Xavier University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies.

Wheaton College - Wheaton, IL

Wheaton College, 501 College Ave, Wheaton, IL 60187-5593. Wheaton College is a small college located in Wheaton, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,915 students and an admission rate of 62%. Wheaton College has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated one student in 2008.

Columbia College Chicago - Chicago, IL

Columbia College Chicago, 600 South Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605-1996. Columbia College Chicago is a large college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 12,464 students. Columbia College Chicago has one to two year, bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs in Photography which graduated zero, 117, and thirteen students respectively in 2008.

Prairie State College - Chicago Heights, IL

Prairie State College, 202 South Halsted Street, Chicago Heights, IL 60411-8226. Prairie State College is a medium sized college located in Chicago Heights, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,368 students. Prairie State College has a one to two year program in Commercial Photography which graduated one student in 2008.

Lake Forest College - Lake Forest, IL

Lake Forest College, 555 N Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045-2399. Lake Forest College is a small college located in Lake Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,387 students and an admission rate of 59%. Lake Forest College has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated seven students in 2008.

Lewis University - Romeoville, IL

Lewis University, One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL 60446-2200. Lewis University is a medium sized university located in Romeoville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,536 students and an admission rate of 71%. Lewis University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has 2 areas of study related to Photographer. They are:

  • Visual and Performing Arts, bachelor's degree.
  • Art/Art Studies, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated nine and zero students respectively in 2008.

Governors State University - University Park, IL

Governors State University, 1 University Pky, University Park, IL 60466-0975. Governors State University is a medium sized university located in University Park, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,457 students. Governors State University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Art/Art Studies.

Harrington College of Design - Chicago, IL

Harrington College of Design, 200 W. Madison, Chicago, IL 60606. Harrington College of Design is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,317 students. Harrington College of Design has an associate's degree program in Commercial Photography which graduated forty-eight students in 2008.

Concordia University - River Forest, IL

Concordia University, 7400 Augusta, River Forest, IL 60305-1499. Concordia University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,185 students and an admission rate of 58%. Concordia University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies.

University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607. University of Illinois at Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,709 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of Illinois at Chicago has 2 areas of study related to Photographer. They are:

  • Photography, master's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Film/Video and Photographic Arts, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 18 students in 2008.

Elmhurst College - Elmhurst, IL

Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect Ave, Elmhurst, IL 60126-3096. Elmhurst College is a small college located in Elmhurst, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,315 students and an admission rate of 69%. Elmhurst College has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated one student in 2008.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago, IL

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 36 S Wabash, Chicago, IL 60603. School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,990 students and an admission rate of 81%. School of the Art Institute of Chicago has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Visual and Performing Arts which graduated seven and four students respectively in 2008.

North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central College, 30 N Brainard St, Naperville, IL 60540. North Central College is a small college located in Naperville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,726 students and an admission rate of 69%. North Central College has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated one student in 2008.

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College, 30 E Lake St, Chicago, IL 60601-2449. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,342 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College has an associate's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated four students in 2008.

Oakton Community College - Des Plaines, IL

Oakton Community College, 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016-1268. Oakton Community College is a large college located in Des Plaines, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,552 students. Oakton Community College has a one to two year program in Commercial Photography which graduated four students in 2008.

North Park University - Chicago, IL

North Park University, 3225 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625-4895. North Park University is a small university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,255 students and an admission rate of 30%. North Park University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated one student in 2008.

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Commercial Photography which graduated ten and seven students respectively in 2008.

DePaul University - Chicago, IL

DePaul University, 55 E Jackson, Chicago, IL 60604. DePaul University is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 22,554 students. DePaul University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies.

University of St Francis - Joliet, IL

University of St Francis, 500 N Wilcox St, Joliet, IL 60435-6188. University of St Francis is a small university located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,334 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of St Francis has a bachelor's degree program in Visual and Performing Arts which graduated one student in 2008.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg - Schaumburg, IL

The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg, 1000 Plaza Drive Ste. 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4913. The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg is a small school located in Schaumburg, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,257 students and an admission rate of 47%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg has 2 areas of study related to Photographer. They are:

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

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: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.