New Feature: Commercial Photographers In Chicago
Photography as a field of study can be many things: a technical skill, an artistic practice, a historical development, a theoretical or conceptual framework, or support for practices in other fields. Here at Local Business Watch, we are in awe of a gentleman who employs it as a commercial endeavor in the windy city of Chicago.
More about his fine work later, but first…
Considering A Career In Photography?
Many professional and corporate photographers will tell those considering a career in photography that the technical skills are the easiest part of the business, and alone are not enough to make a successful career serving a local business community. University career counselors may recommend to budding photographers to focus their study to illuminate what you have to say about the world and, to a lesser extent, how to turn that into a viable career or business. In the commercial field, most photographers are freelancers who work for many clients and have different tasks to accomplish every day.
Although the business of a corporate photographer is different from that of a commercial photographer, the career path will likely be similar: years of assisting and building experience before starting my own business. Focusing on a niche that better suits one's skills and core interests can be a great entry into starting such a business. This can help in an aspect unrelated to photography at all… building a network of relationships with a potential client base, to help facilitate a steady stream of business projects. As the industry stands right now, most follow the paths of specializing in corporate portraits, architecture, advertising or promotional content.
The glamorous careers as fashion photographers or art stars, brave status quo challenging photo journalists or documentary filmmakers isn't for everyone. Teaching at universities or work in support roles is still reachable, and the fields of photo editors, retouchers, printers, curators, designers, and archivists still exist in the digital age. We know a sizeable amount of our readers are photography enthusiasts. Below are some resources that can help you get started on turning a side hustle into a career.
Resources For Professional Photographers
Professional Photographers of America: Since its founding in 1880, the PPA has attracted more than 26,000 members in 54 countries. Photographers can prepare for and take the CPP exam to earn a professional credential that shows employers that their skills meet certain standards and ethics.
National Press Photographers Association: this organization was founded in 1946 when the first issue of National Press Photographer was published. The NPPA is dedicated to professional advocacy and continuing education for photographers working in journalism. Members receive exclusive access to discounts on insurance and products, are listed in the Find a Photographer database, and receive a subscription to News Photographer magazine.
National Association of Photoshop Professionals: NAPP was founded by Kelby Media Group and is based in Oldsmar, Florida. Subscribers have access to professional software tutorials, members-only forums, Photoshop User Magazine, webcasts, and an online photo support service.
American Photographic Artists : The APA has three main missions- Advocacy, continuing education, and setting professional standards for photographers in the United States. Members have access to discounted rates on commercial insurance, exclusive APA newsletters, training manuals and discounts. APA is headquartered in San Francisco and has six regional chapters throughout the United States.
Fundamentals of Digital Image and Video Editing:
This course explores the basic tools and methods for creating and editing digital images. Students will learn image and video techniques, including enhancement, editing, and manipulation for various artistic, scientific, and commercial applications.
Seeing Through Photographs: this course encourages students to take a critical look at photographs in MoMA's collection. Topics include the difference between photographs and photographic images, how the context of an image influences its creation, photography as a means of communication, and historical storytelling through photographs.
Cameras, Exposure, and Photography: This course introduces students to all aspects of traditional and digital cameras, equipment, and accessories. Instructors will help students choose the right camera to produce the images they want. Trans Asia Photography Review: This international publication is edited by faculty from Hampshire College, the University of Wellington, and the University of Jamia. New issues of TAP are published twice a year and cover photography in Asia. Previous articles include commentaries on the work of Ai Weiwei, explorations of the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in New Delhi, and a description of archival collection procedures used by Harvard University.
Photography Journals That Can Help A New Photography Business
Philosophy of Photography: this international journal contains articles dealing with the theory, techniques, critical approaches, and philosophy of photography. This journal is published twice a year and is edited by an editorial board from several academic institutions around the world.
Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism : This journal highlights the importance of photography in new media. Authors may submit research papers, commentaries, case studies, book reviews, and opinion pieces on mass communication and journalism. New issues are published every two months. The editorial board consists of professional journalists and educators based in Rome, Egypt, the United Kingdom, and several U.S. states.
Open Arts Journal : This journal contains essays, reviews, and research papers on the visual arts. This publication is published twice a year and is edited by an editorial board that includes several members of the Open University.
Slightly Out of Focus : Photojournalist Robert Capa survived five wars to capture combat in astonishing detail through his photographs. This is his memoir detailing his experiences as a professional documentary photographer during World War II.
Learning to See Creatively : This hugely popular book by Bryan Peterson emphasizes how people's perspectives on a situation differ. The eye can be a rich field of ideas; you just have to know how to look. Peterson's book shows you how to bring your creativity to your work.
LensCulture : This Paris-based online magazine is known among professional photographers for its outstanding annual awards ceremonies, such as the LensCulture Student Photography Awards and the LensCulture International Exposure Awards. The magazine accepts submissions in dozens of categories, including Fine Art, Urban, Alternative Process, Still Life, Festivals and Portraits. The magazine also publishes book reviews and interviews with professional photographers.
Nature Photographers: the official publication of the Natural Photographers Network, a professional organization dedicated to nature photography. The magazine features galleries in the following categories: Flora, Birds, Environmental Photojournalism, Wildlife, and Human Interactions with Nature.
Featured Local Business: Barry Butler, Chicago Photographer
Self-taught Chicago commercial photographer Barry Butler got his start more than 20 years ago. He has taken pictures all over the world, but he is best known for his pictures of Chicago. He was known as “Chicago's Picture Poet” by WGN-TV reporter Mike Lowe. His work has been on TV, in books, in ads, and on the covers of music albums, among other places.
Not only do his photos show up every day in local and national news, but Barry has also been on the Weather Channel, CNN-Espanol, WGN-TV, iHeartRadio Chicago, WBBM-AM Newsradio, Fox 32 Chicago, WGN-Radio 720, National Public Radio WBEZ, WLS-AM, CBS-2 Chicago, ABC-7's Windy City Live, WCIU-TV, to name a few, to talk about his work behind the scenes or share his experiences in the field.
Barry was named “Chicago's Best Photographer” by readers of the Chicago Reader newspaper in a poll for 2021. Both the Huffington Post and Thrillist have said that his work is some of the best photography in Chicago.
Barry's first photography book, “Chicago, A City Above All,” came out in July 2020. It has more than 100 pictures of the Windy City.
The book has four parts: “Light,” “Drama,” “Spirit,” and “Flow.” His images show amazing sunrises and sunsets, views along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, how the city celebrates holidays and sports, and dramatic weather across the Chicago landscape. In August 2022, Navy Pier asked Barry to make “Water Brings Life to Chicago,” a 16-month photo show about the water system in the Chicago area.
Barry is also on Facebook, Twitter (click his profile image above to follow him), and Instagram, where he posts pictures he took that day. You can try to catch him on the ground, on top of roofs, or in the air in a helicopter taking pictures of Chicago. In Chicago, he is often scouting locations or working behind the camera with his assistants Chopper and Tuskar.
You can discover more of Mr. Butler's many media appearances easily by searching in Google Maps for “Barry Butler Photography”, and going to his In The News section at his website.
Barry Butler is today's Local Business Watch's featured ‘Use Your News' business. Right on, Barry!