Photography will most likely be your side job, or a hobby. The reason being, photography as a career has grown massively in the past few years, mostly due to the digital camera and cheaper prices. Now everyone with a Canon EOS XT thinks they can be a professional photographer. While I congratulate them for their enthusiasm and dreams, there are several thousand other people who are thinking the same thing. And the numbers are constantly growing. Photographers come a dime a dozen. To set yourself apart from the rest, you most be very good at what you do.
When looking at a career as a photographer, don’t look at National Geo, and think this is what you’ll get right from the start. The photographers for this magazine are the best of the best. For a more readily available career in photography, look into photojournalism, wedding photography, children portraits, and some things in advertising. These jobs are good if you like what you do, but the Labor Bureau still lists photography as a very low paying job; try $20,000 on average, or $10,000 in the lower 10%. Of course this fluctuates.
When you start off for college, take a lot of art and photography classes, but also some in writing and other practical courses. Just so you’ll have something to fall back on.
I’m not saying photography is impossible. I’m just saying so many people want in, it’s hard to find work sometimes. Other photographers might make a great living, while others only make a few thousand a year, if that. Always have something to fall back on. Try your best, and follow your dreams. If you want to photograph for National Geo, or some other magazine, go for it. But can you sustain a comfortable living as a photographer?
Hope this helps.