Anyone who has a love for stargazing ultimately succumbs to the temptation of trying to immortalize the wonders of the night sky with photography. But exactly how do you go about turning your star struck hobby into a profession? The truth be told, most astrophotography featured in magazines and on the Internet is done by amateurs. The actual number of professional Astrophotographers may probably be counted on one hand. Well, not really, but the number is quite small.
In this article were going to talk about what it takes to get involved in astrophotography. The first thing we’ll discuss will be the educational requirements. The next topic will cover the duties and work environment of an Astrophotographer.
And at the end were going to examine the career opportunities available. By the time you’re done you’ll have a pretty good idea of what it takes to become an Astrophotographer.
As with most professions, it may be a good idea to have a solid education before starting a new career, especially if you want to enter into a scientific endeavor as academic as astronomy. If you wish to work for an astronomical research organization or space exploration entities such as NASA, you’ll need to be highly academically inclined because there is so much high end competition.
Not only must you get stellar grades as early as high school, but your undergraduate college major should be in the field of science, computer science, or engineering. That’s typically the bare minimum. To be truly competitive you’ll need a Master’s Degree or PhD in related fields. If your soul interest is astrophotography, additional classes in astronomy and certainly advanced photography may be beneficial*.
Work Environment and Job Responsibilities
An Astrophotographer may obviously spend most of his or her working hours at night peering deeply into the midnight sky, glimpsing the far reaches of the galaxy in an effort to capture those elusive images of spectacular stellar images.
If you aren’t afforded the convenience of an indoor telescope and camera, you may find yourself working outside, which won’t be so bad during the summer, but may be challenging during the winter if you live in a cold climate.
Astrophotography can also be a solitary profession where you’ll spend long stretches of time alone with your equipment.
Specialists like an Astrophotographer may typically work for private corporations or universities that do business with federal, state and local governments. However, direct employment is certainly possible but competition is keen.
Technology and techniques in the field of photography is constantly changing, therefore, the more you know about CCD cameras and other electronic equipment, the more competitive you may be when going for a job interview.
As stated before, the field for Astrophotographers is limited, far more limited than the 4 percent growth rate expected for the years 2012 to 2022 for the photography profession in general. But if becoming an Astrophotographer is your dream job, then you can certainly use the information in this article to pursue that career**.
Are you ready to pursue a career in photography? Get information on programs in your area and online using our photography degree finder at the top of this page. ↑
*For more information, please visit: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qna/questions/Astrophotography.htm
**For more information, please visit: http://bls.gov/Google+