Photography as a Career in India

Let's begin with a look at some of the key ideas and concepts in a photography career:

  • Photography can be a powerful means of communication

  • Photographers can present images as art

  • Photographers can make a good living if they have energy and determination

  • Photography gives you a chance for individual expression

All of these are quite true in the world of photography in India. There are still career opportunities in newspaper and magazine businesses, though the numbers are dropping.

Photographers are increasingly finding work with Web design companies, advertising agencies, commercial-photography firms and in portrait studios. There are some opportunities in the landscape, scenery and wildlife worlds as well, but the number of professionals working in these areas is quite limited.

Consider these choices when you think of photography as a career in India:

  • Journalism/press photographer - Work for a traditional newspaper, a magazine or with a media company that will use your photos on the Web. This career requires energy, aggressiveness and a sense of adventure.

  • Industrial photography - You may find a lucrative career capturing images of machinery, factory systems, products, workers etc.

  • Portrait photography - This is an enticing field, especially if you find a niche in which families and pet owners are willing to spend money for professional portraits.

  • Fashion photography - You may work for an established professional in the industry, for a specific company in the fashion industry, for a magazine or Web site that follows fashion.

In addition, you may be in demand as a photographer who can produce the special images required by the scientific community, whether it's in a laboratory or in the field.

Wildlife photographers can also enjoy a lucrative career but this is a very competitive field.

The Details

Photographers in every specialty should possess creativity and a good "eye" in order to capture just what the client demands. In addition, it is essential that the photographer have knowledge of the latest technology and production systems. Digital imaging and computer manipulation are keys to success in the 21st century.


When you choose photography as a career in India you may not be paid what you think you're worth - at the beginning. It takes a lot of courage to start as a freelance photographer, simply because you are responsible for selling your images.

You may want to think about starting in an established studio or with a company that can pay you a salary. Assistants to established photographers might be paid Rs 3,500 to 5,000.

These numbers go up to Rs 10,000 and above when you become established. Some well-known photographers make Rs 30,000. Commercial photographers (corporate, product) might make Rs 15,000 as a starting salary.

As we mentioned earlier, there are a number of schools and institutes that provide excellent instruction in photography. Some are one-year programs; others extend over two years or three years.

There are some excellent Universities in India

For example, Pune University and Utkal University have three-year programs. One-year programs are offered at Sri Venkateshwara University and Bharati Vidyapeeth.

You may also want to look at the programs from the International School of Photography, the Film and Television Institute of India or the National Institute of Design.

This is a very limited selection from a long list of educational opportunities related to photography as a career in India. Before you get down to the selection of a particular school you should look at the field of photography as being divided into two definite paths.

The formal route vs. the "less-formal path"...

You may choose the more formal route, which usually leads to newspaper, magazine or other media positions. One of the real benefits with this choice is a steady income. This may be a wise choice if you want to live comfortably and work on your creativity and vision away from work.

If you decide to follow the less-formal path so you can concentrate on technique and art immediately, you may have to sacrifice steady income (unless you connect with an established photographer).

Look for the Bachelor of Fine Art and Master of Fine Art programs if you are interested in this route. India's major cities are home to excellent university-level programs.

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