Photographer Career

photographer-500Photographers work in many different environments including portrait studios, newsrooms, science labs, and more. Some work for others and some work freelance. You can stay close to home or travel the world. You can shoot aerial photos from a helicopter or use a microscope to capture scientific images.

If you work as a freelance photographer, you would need a strong business sense and organization skills. You would need to communicate with clients, organize your schedule, keep up with payments, and purchase your supplies. Some photographers also teach classes or workshops to supplement their income. With the growing online learning community, it would be easy for you to set up and teach your classes without leaving your house.

Photographer Career Snapshot

Your work environment depends on your specialization. For example, wedding and portrait photographers may work in studios and travel locally to shoot subjects in different environments. A news photographer (or photojournalist) may also travel locally and internationally. They have to be fast and may have to work in dangerous areas. Many photographers spend a lot of time on their feet.

Further details on a career as a photographer are listed below (statistics from the May 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average annual salary for photographers.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a High school diploma or equivalent while 20% have an Associate’s degree.

Photographer Education

Many photographers are self-taught or learn through apprenticeships or short-term courses. Others have college degrees. Your credibility relies heavily on experience and your portfolio.

Photographer Job Outlook

The job outlook for photographers is expected to grow slower than average through the year 2024. The decreased cost of digital cameras and increased quality of cameras on mobile devices allow many to capture images themselves. The need for photojournalists has dropped due to the lessening popularity of newspapers.

Still, portrait and wedding photographers will continue to find employment as many people want professional portraits for special occasions. Photographers have better success as freelancers, marketing their services. By developing expertise in portraits and advertising, they will continue to find a steady clientele.

Photographer Salaries

The 2016 median salary for photographers is $16.38 hourly and $34,070 annually according to Salaries can go as high as $72,000 and as little as $18,000. Keep in mind that many photographers work part time, odd hours, and flexible schedules. The highest paying photography fields are wedding, fashion, sports, product, and portrait photography.

Photographer Job Duties

Job duties for a photographer may include; marketing your business, planning composition of photographs, client consultations and developing and enhancing photos using photo software. In addition, a photographer may schedule photo sessions and bill clients and purchase equipment. Your specific job duties would largely depend on the type of photography you choose to pursue.

Photographer Skills & Traits

Photographer Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Photographers:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Speaking
• Service Orientation
• Social Perceptiveness
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Originality
• Visualization
• Camera flash attachments
• Macro lenses
• Camera lens filter
• Photography light reflector
• Thinking Creatively
• Interacting With Computers
• Selling or Influencing Others
• Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships

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