Photographers are still in High Demand

The New York Department of Labor reports that employment options for photographers will grow by 6.3 percent between 2010 and 2020.

Steve Chesler gave up storm chasing to become a professional photographer. He now owns a 2,000-square-foot photography studio in Canandaigua, New York but has never lost his deep passion for capturing nature in all its varying stages and at its most violent. “Toward the end of the summer you’ve shot your 20th 90-degree wedding, then all of a sudden Labor Day comes around, the temperature drops, and you get a second wind because there are so many colors in the leaves,” said the 44-year-old Chesler. “That happens with me every season. I like the constant change.”

Chesler is also in a very lucrative field. Between 2010 and 2020, employment options for photographers are expected to grow by 6.3 percent, according to the New York Department of Labor. In the Finger Lakes region alone, there are expected to be 10 new openings per year. Chesler earned a bachelor’s degree in studio art in Brockport at the State University of New York. The Professional Photographers of America, the world’s largest nonprofit trade association for professional photographers, has awarded him Photographer of the Year for 2007, 2008 and 2010 as well as a master of photography designation.

He spends roughly 30 percent of his time on the road for event photography such as bar mitzvahs and weddings. This is in addition to his large-scale studio work encompassing business headshots, product shots, and other commercial work. “We do extreme collages, manipulating the image with a painterly look, with chunks of the photo taken out. We blend that with close-up and action shots and make it look surreal,” said Chesler. Lately, he has also been fielding more requests than ever for car and sports photography.

Photographers used to specialists in a particular type of photography. However, it is just the opposite these days, “We’re always evolving,” he says. “We can’t put all our eggs in one basket.” Facebook and Instagram filters “have killed the industry as far as what people are willing to accept as quality photography,” said Chesler. Specialty photography is no longer in vogue.

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