PetaPixel

Study Finds Photography Undesirable as a Job

Job portal careercast recently released a ranking of 200 jobs from best to worst for 2010. The Wall Street Journal republished the data in a nice, sortable chart as its Best and Worst Jobs 2010 list. Since you’re reading this, you probably want to know how jobs involving photography rank on the list. The answer: pretty low.

The job “photographer” ranks 126th on the list, right below “waiter/waitress” and right above “advertising salesperson”. “Photojournalist” is near the bottom of the list, ranked #189 below “firefighter” and above “butcher”.

In terms of the methodology used, five categories are evaluated and summed up: environment, income, outlook, stress and physical demands.

I think the methodology is flawed because of the fact that they focus primarily on tangible upsides and downsides. Many photographers I’ve spoken to chose photography as a career for reasons including a passion for photography and the opportunity to see the world. These things aren’t accounted for in the study, since they don’t have categories such as “job satisfaction”.

What do you think of these rankings? If you disagree, what should photography-related jobs actually be ranked?

(via A Photo Editor)


 
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  • http://tcrpmg.wordpress.com/ TCRPMG

    That is really sad. In the case of photojournalists, some of these photographers put themselves directly in the line of danger. I think they really need to re-evaluate the way they computer their results.

  • http://twitter.com/irenejonesphoto irene jones

    That's funny, I get told all the time how much people want my job. They didn't even take desirability into account. And why is firefighter a bad job? Doesn't every little kid at one point dream of being one? As for physical demands I hire assistants to carry heavy stuff, so no problem there. I have my own studio, and when I'm not in the studio I shoot at beautiful venues and eat great food other people are paying for. That makes for a nice environment. Stress can by high if I'm not prepared, but that factor can be managed by proper training and experience. As for outlook, just because more people are buying DSLR's doesn't mean they know how to make them work right. Anyone can sing that has vocal chords but only a handful of people get paid to tour the world doing if for a living.

  • http://twitter.com/FlySwinger Ehren Wells

    That's exactly it. I'd love to spend 40 hours a week getting paid to take photos, but if my pay were scaled to match my ability I doubt I'd be making a living. I'd probably starve to death. I like photography and all, but it's not worth starving to say it's my job.

  • http://twitter.com/FlySwinger Ehren Wells

    That's exactly it. I'd love to spend 40 hours a week getting paid to take photos, but if my pay were scaled to match my ability I doubt I'd be making a living. I'd probably starve to death. I like photography and all, but it's not worth starving to say it's my job.

  • http://twitter.com/HeidiRae22 Heidi Rae

    i think that's so sad i don't know what the base this off of .. I'm scraping and begging to get into the field studying and shooting every chance i get and its all out of love for the art form .. all in all i think they can take that list and recycle it on the paper I'm sure they waisted to print the flow charts on .. in fact i think the least desirable job there is sitting around and makeing silly lists like that one i mean hello pointless .. what do you accomplish at the end of the day ? at least we get to look at the beautiful art we created and get to share with the WORLD

  • Gazmick

    I'm sorry, I don't mean any disrespect to waiters and waitresses, but waiting on tables is more desirable than being a photographer?! Oh come on!

  • stephenswofford

    Honestly, this doesn't surprise me at all. Well actually it does, I'm surprised it's not at the bottom of the list. I should mention: I'm a photojournalist.

    Everywhere I go, if I have my camera I can guarantee at least one person will comment on it. Not my shooting ability, but the equipment I use. They will then comment on how they're a photographer themselves. These people serving my food, or ringing me up. These same people are now my competition for freelance jobs. The problem is, they don't make their living off of it, they just want bragging rights. So I get screwed.

    Bottom line is photography (photojournalism specifically) is probably the worst career decision anyone could make and I would strongly urge everyone considering it not to. Newspapers aren't struggling, they're dying, and staff positions are going the way of the buffalo. The idea of being a photojournalist is a wonderful, romanticized idea of travel, adventure, and experience but the reality is much more mundane. A few friends of mine have won pulitzer prizes. They now photograph weddings because they couldn't pay their mortgage with news photography.

    To get to the point, it's the very fact that so many people find the job so desirable despite the incredibly low pay grade that makes it such a terrible career decision.

    I'm not bitter at all.

  • Jeff_Power

    I agree with stephenswofford, most photographers are passionate maniacs, it's tough to make a living at it. But if you can do what you love and get by, than you are probably better off than most people in the world.

  • http://twitter.com/cesylvester Carrie Sylvester

    I find that SO surprising. Personally, its what I want to be when I grow up! =)

  • jimers

    I thind the lack of “desireability” is because of the lack of pay. Not too many photographers make “good” money. And I'm talking $40 – $60K here, not a lot these days.

  • mktedman

    Would love to have a job in Photography you try working in a factory all your life…

  • mktedman

    Would love to have a job in Photography you try working in a factory all your life…

  • https://www.jobsindubai.com/career.asp?qArticleID=32&page=3 Middle East Jobs

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  • Scott MacKenzie

    What I don't understand is what the word “Photograhy” means in this article. Journalism? Wedding/Portraiture? Commercial? Bio Communications?
    A photojournalist doesn not have to regularly deal with Bridzilla, or an overheating mother-of-the-bride, and a Wedding photog doesn't have to deal with the dangers of war.
    I wonder if “Musician” was included in the list.

  • Gregpodolec

    It’s just that the pay is better for wait staff.  I know many that make $20-$40/h!