Photography is a very broad subject. It starts from the moment a photographer is home and prepares the coming shoot. And it ends with a variety of different results. For example, licensing a picture, publishing on a media, making a print at home, etc. You get the idea: there’s a lot of stages in between. This means there’s a lot of work involved in a single picture: and of course, you rarely work with one picture only. Thus, we’re witnessing a “jobification” or outsourcing of the different tasks and activities related to photography. Here’s the catch: one can endure many of those steps remotely and with the help of a computer. And you know what this means: digital nomads have another option to work with!
Unlike other online jobs which may be more general-purpose (such as virtual assistants), you really have to know your stuff here. With that said, the following list is MORE suitable for professional photographers. People who, even without working in photography, are proficient in it, also have a chance though. Depending on the client and the project, sometimes just pure good visual taste or an innate skill is sometimes enough.
1 – Editing
Maybe the most popular type of photography outsourcing that exists. Everybody knows that rarely the original picture is the exact picture that gets the spotlight. In many industries, the stage that takes most of the time is not the actual field photography, but rather photo-editing.
When it comes to event photography (with weddings as the most monopolizing type), photo-editing starts with culling. That’s a process in which the set starts as being a massive catalog and gets progressively short to only contain the shots that matter. This can be one-time or iteratively, as sometimes culling only makes sense after a bit of editing. Either way, this guarantees that you only spend time editing the important photos. I haven’t personally encountered photography jobs which were ONLY about culling, but they’re bound to exist. In any case, culling has its own rates, even if within a broader photo-editing gig.
Once culled, you have to actually edit the pictures. The most important here is to get the mood and style that the client desires. For that, they will instruct, or show you, what they pretend, so you can mimic that afterward. That’s when actual expertise about photography comes into play. You have to know how RAWs and properties work in order to get the look you want. Sure, they can give you a preset or a filter to begin with, but rarely a photo needs ONLY that (if it did, clients would do the job themselves). This, of course, can be a long learning process, but with time you’ll become one with the style you want to achieve.
2 – Manipulation
I’m not going to discuss semantics and whether or not manipulation sits inside editing or not. The reason why this is another category relates only with the job market. There’s a very big industry related to e-commerce that requires product pictures to be manipulated. You see, items are ALREADY shot in good conditions, i.e. in a studio, isolated and with good light. However, pristine e-commerce product pictures need a lot of manipulation to be web-ready. Some of those modifications include: making the background completely white (or another color), adding a shadow effect / reflection or hiding the model (for clothing). For certain types of products with many variations (such as colors or angles), this can lead to very stable and large-scope projects.
Photo manipulation generally takes more time than photo editing (per photo), but also comes with higher fees. For very important projects with big clients, such as advertising and fashion, expectations are very steep. While you may have only a few shots to work on, each one of them is its own challenge / endeavor and compensation is generous.
3 – Studio Shots
This can be seen as the opposite of the photography jobs immediately above. Here, you are the actual studio photographer of products. That’s right: many companies will actually mail you the items to be shot in the comfort of your home, for which you only have to possess a small studio capable of doing so. Surely, here it’s better if you live near the company, but I’ve seen jobs spanning a whole continent. With the proliferation of ready-to-use and compact softboxes to use at home, this type of jobs has never been so possible.
4 – Tagging
It’s cool to find the perfect shot you want on the internet, right? Well, that’s because pictures (or any type of resource on the web really) have METADATA in them. Basically, metadata is a set of pieces of information that describe what the data is (in this case photos). You know where I’m getting at: someone has to put that information on the pictures!
AI systems are already in place and have been trained with a bunch of other examples to guess what your picture is about. But, as with many other areas of activity, a human can still vastly outperform a machine. Thus, there are people responsible for that huge effort. The type of information can range from the location and caption (textual description) to keywords. Keywords are actually the powerhouse of this activity, so much that these workers usually go by the name of taggers or “keyworders”.
This type of photography jobs is less existent because there needs to be a really large portfolio to tackle to represent a solid work opportunity. For example, while weddings generate thousands of pictures each, the process of culling explained earlier makes them much smaller at the end. Funny enough, a nice source for these jobs is actually the stock photography platforms analyzed earlier, as many of them have content editing teams.
5 – Writing
As I’ve said before, photography is now everywhere. None of us can stop it. That has led to the increase of resources about photography, not only educational but also viral / newsworthy. In the blogging world, photography is now one of the biggest markets, with requests on pair with technology and travel. So, if you know your theory or if you just love to write, there are a lot of editorial brands out there that are craving for more photography writers. Conditions here may vary and are similar to other writing gigs. Meaning that you can get money by the article, by words or, for more solid opportunities (such as magazines), be actually hired.
As always, this list of photography jobs is not meant to be exhaustive or final. It’s a quick guide to let you know what type of things exist out there, some of which you may not know or have thought about. In any case, you can probably fit any opportunity into one of these categories. If you can’t, just let me know about it!