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Career and Education Opportunities for Photographers in Elgin, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for photographers in the Elgin, Illinois area. About 4,600 people are currently employed as photographers in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow 7% to about 4,890 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for photographers, which sees this job pool growing by about 11.5% over the next eight years. Photographers generally photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products.

A person working as a photographer can expect to earn about $17 per hour or $37,060 per year on average in Illinois and about $14 hourly or $29,440 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for photographers are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Media Technical in Illinois and not quite as good as general Media Technical category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: wedding photographer, biomedical photographer, and portrait photographer.

The Elgin area is home to sixty-one schools of higher education, including eleven within twenty-five miles of Elgin where you can get a degree 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 Elgin 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

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.

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.

Judson University - Elgin, IL

Judson University, 1151 N State St, Elgin, IL 60123-1498. Judson University is a small university located in Elgin, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,226 students. Judson University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies.

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.

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.

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.

Northern Illinois University - Dekalb, IL

Northern Illinois University, 1425 W. Lincoln Hwy., Dekalb, IL 60115-2825. Northern Illinois University is a large university located in Dekalb, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 24,397 students and an admission rate of 58%. Northern Illinois University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated two and five students respectively 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.

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.

Waubonsee Community College - Sugar Grove, IL

Waubonsee Community College, Rte 47 at Waubonsee Drive, Sugar Grove, IL 60554-0901. Waubonsee Community College is a medium sized college located in Sugar Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,218 students. Waubonsee Community College has a less than one year program in Commercial Photography which graduated five 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: Elgin, Illinois

Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois photo by James Jordan

Elgin is located in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 106,330, which has grown by 12.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elgin, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Elgin cost $156,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-two new homes were constructed in Elgin, down from seven hundred fifty-six the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Elgin are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, metal and metal products, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 20.5% of Elgin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elgin is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Elgin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Elgin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Elgin is home to the Fox Bluff Corporate Center and the Elgin Fire Station Number 2 as well as Wing Park and College Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wing Park Manor Shopping Center, Tyler Creek Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Elgin can choose from Elgin-Days Inn, Colonial Lodge Motel and Crowne Plaza for temporary stays in the area.