Written and Media by Kelsey Neier.
Choosing one job that you would be passionate about for the rest of your life is a tough choice. There are so many options out there! Being a Digital Media major makes that choice a lot harder, because there are so many different jobs you can do through media. There are specific types of designers, photographers, videographers, photojournalists (etc..) that I found it hard to narrow down and choose just one.
What should I be?
We are asked all throughout our lives “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For most people, including myself, this answer has changed many times. Throughout all of the career paths I considered, I knew I had a passion for photography. I started entering my pictures into fairs, bought a nice camera and started developing my eye. I have always had a love for writing and technology, and loved reading about and watching National Geographic photographers explore the world and share stories through their pictures and videos. If I could pick any job in the world, I would love to work as a photojournalist for National Geographic.
What do they do?
National Geographic photojournalists tell evocative stories of time and place. They are sent out all over the world to photograph people, places and animals. They are flown out on important tasks to share information with the world. When we see their photos we are awestruck by their beauty. A couple of National Geographic photographer’s I recommend checking out are Sam Abell, Lynsey Addario, Jodi Cobb, David Doubilet, and Annie Griffiths. They have a tough job being away from friends and family for extended periods of time. Sometimes they are sent out to dangerous areas. For instance, Lynsey Addario was one of the four New York Times journalists who was kidnapped in 2011. These photojournalists will do whatever it takes to get the story and the shot.
What is the pay?
According to https://www.quora.com/, National Geographic photojournalists make about $500 a day plus travel expense while they are on assignment. The average assignment is typically 10 to 14 days and there is between 1 to 10 assignments per year. Typically, a photographer will get $50,000 a year from NatGeo. They are allowed to keep the rights to their photos, so they could always sell those photos to clients, or do freelance work for other clients while not on assignment. I did further research and I would have to purchase my own equipment (running from $10-$20k), insurance and health costs. Since the pay is not the best, many Nat Geo photographers start their jobs around the last third of their career. I think it would be cool to start when I was older so I can make money now, and if I die on assignment, well I would be pretty old anyway.
In conclusion, I think it is important to set goals and work on improving and moving further up with whatever company you are at. I do not think I would ever want to get good at one specific thing and do that continuously for the rest of my life. Being a creative person means learning new programs and photography techniques as technology advances and changes. Being creative means you have to be willing to fail forward, and adjust to new plans and changes within your work. As long as I work somewhere where I am excited to go to work each day, that is all that matters. I am looking forward to life after college and will continue to look at life after college with an open mind and an open heart.