Job description

Photographers are trained professionals who focus on the art of capturing good images with a digital or film camera. They do this by using their creativity and technical expertise to take and produce unique pictures. Some photographers focus on studio work, while others explore nature or select a niche industry to work in, such as magazine shoots or wedding images.


    • Use technical equipment including lenses, lighting, cameras and editing software
    • Take unique images of objects, landscape or models
    • Arrange props and make any necessary arrangements for shoots
    • Communicate with clients to arrange bookings
    • Guide and instruct models during shoots
    • Edit and retouch images
    • Prepare albums, framed prints, videos and electronic images
    • Promote business and update online portfolio
    • Prepare invoices and perform general administrative duties

Skills and qualities

Attention to detail
Customer service
Manual dexterity
Interpersonal skills

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk


Career progression

Many photographers progress to set up their own photography studio or become a partner in an existing one. Others choose to focus in a niche area and become well known in that field. For example, you could aim to work as a photographer for your favourite publication or TV channel.

Working conditions

Average hours

40h/ week

Typical schedule


Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally

Many photographers work from their own private studio, but they also travel to other locations or counties to take photographs, including schools, client’s houses or designated locations.

The nature of a photographer’s work schedule is unpredictable. You may be required to travel overnight and can receive last-minute bookings. You can also be expected to work long hours, especially during peak seasons such as Christmas.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

High school

No formal education requirements

Study time


While postsecondary education is not a formal requirement, many photographers take short classes or earn a bachelor’s degree to improve their skills including photography techniques and business marketing.

On the other hand, professionals looking to become a photojournalist or scientific photographer will usually need a bachelor’s degree in photography or a related subject in creative arts.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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