Working for “The Man”

I’ll be the first to admit, I see photographers do shoots in exotic locations, shooting beautiful models or covering major sporting events and yes I get a little envious but there is something to be said for being a corporate photographer. First – the steady paycheck and benefits are nice, tuition reimbursement, paid time off is also nice and now and then an interesting assignment comes your way, like flying in a helicopter with the Army or freezing my butt off in the second largest wind tunnel in the country – NASA tops the list. But with all the nice things about being a corporate shooter there are as many downsides to this type of photography.
Where do I begin”¦.

Unless you’re shooting for a creative company, such as Disney, or National Geographic, there’s not a lot of attention paid to the photographer, in fact we are often seen at times as a nuisance, just a guy with a camera, the Rodney Dangerfields of corporate America – but I guess a lot depends on the type of company you work for? I’m in Aerospace, so a great deal of attention is placed on engineering and software and production, not photography. We are the people you call when Hank is celebrating his thirty years with the company and his boss wants to throw him a lunch, just him, the boss and about twenty of his co-workers, and if I hear one of them ask, “Hey you got film in that camera” one more time, I’m gonna throw it into the crowd”¦then run my a** off. Let’s see, there is also the occasional passport, or photo of a piece of equipment, or the downsizing. Thankfully I consider myself very lucky, not only for still being employed, but I actually got a raise and a bonus* – go figure. (*please note this bonus is in no way tied to AIG, in fact if Congress saw the bonus, they my be inclined to slide a little extra cash my way, never know – it could happen.)

Where was I – yes, the ups and downs of shooting for corporate America.

To quote Steve Buscemi from the movie Armageddon, Why do I do this? Because the money’s good, the scenery changes, and they let me use explosives, OK?”

Well I don’t get to use the explosives but I do get my hands on some very cool gear, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the Nikon D3, maybe later this year or early next but my recent purchases have included ProFoto Strobes, a Nikkor 400 2.8, PocktWizards, SB-800’s and a 900 on it’s way, gear from ThinkTank and a lot more.

The other upside – I can still do my freelance, shooting stock and portraits mostly, but it allows me an opportunity to do what I love – make photographs.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I’ve been a corporate photographer for some 30 years now. So I know exactly what you’re talking about. I do get my hands on some cool equipment, like a Kodak no. 1 8×10 field camera, circa 1915. This place kept an in-house photo person since 1910.

    As for downsizing, I probably would have been cut if i didn’t expand my abilities to graphic design, 3D solid model rendering, video, and animation.

    I do get the wise cracks at the company gatherings, but I just laff them off, because they know I get a steady paycheck doing what they do for fun.

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