Get Your Degree!
Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.
Powered by Campus Explorer
Photographer Job Description
You may feel most comfortable planted firmly behind a camera lens, but does that really mean that photography is the ideal profession for you? A professional photographer's duties extend above and beyond the photography itself, though the pictures they capture are undoubtedly this career's biggest draw. Depending on your interests, skills, and chosen path, your slice of the market can make your day-to-day work far different from another photographer's.
The many types of photography jobs include:
Portrait photography: use your abilities to bring out the best in your subjects, from wedding couples to schoolchildren
Advertising photography: from burgers to backpacks, make use of your abilities of composition, lighting, and dramatic flair to turn whatever you're snapping a picture of into something the viewers wants and needs
Fashion photography: capture the style and sensibilities of clothing, from runway shows to magazine photoshoots
Fine art photography: translate your vision and your unique take on the world through photographs that can be of literally anything and everything
Editorial photography and photojournalism: get your photos to tell a story, oftentimes by combining them with an article. Both images and words will need to integrate seamlessly together into one narrative thread
Documentary photography: uses images to tell a full story, relying even more on the progression of photographs themselves and less on words
Wildlife photography: guaranteed to take you beyond the scope of the average photographer, you'll be capturing the strange, the beautiful, and the exotic in nature.
Landscape photography: if you've ever flipped through a travel magazine, then you know that landscape photographers have a strong influence over the way we perceive places, both new and old
Technical photography and forensic photography: precise, detailed images are a must in documenting delicate subjects such as surgeries and crime scenes
As you can see, the possibilities are far-ranging for anyone with a passion to represent the world through photography. While not applicable to each and every situation, here are some common duties that a professional photographer will find themselves going through:
Meeting and negotiating with clients
Translating a client's needs and objectives into a successful photograph
Setting up a photoshoot, including renting space, hiring models or assistants, and getting equipment
Editing, retouching, and processing photographs
Processing and printing photographs
Staying up-to-date on the latest camera, imaging, and photoediting technologies
Advertising, promoting, and networking to constantly attract new clients
Once you steer away from categorizing photographers by what they specialize in, you'll see that there are two general types: freelancers and those who work in a larger photography company. Most recent photography school graduates choose to take the latter route, and this choice does in fact hold a certain security. With an established company, your job will consist of more photography and less administrative work, which will typically be handled by someone else. In addition, working within a successful photography firm will give you the chance to learn from more experienced photographers. By watching the way your seniors handle their assignments or how your boss juggles finances and talks to potential customers, you can observe a great deal about the inner workings of the industry. As you collaborate with other photographers and discuss projects with clients, you'll also be building valuable connections that help secure your reputation in the field.
So it's not surprising that many photographers choose to either go freelance or open up their own photography firm only after a few years of experience in another company. It's a risky step to start off independently without established contacts in the photography industry, though some manage to make it through a combination of luck, talent, and charisma. Working freelance makes a photographer's schedule more flexible, and assignments can be chosen at will. However, a larger proportion of time will be spent taking care of small tasks such as equipment maintenance, client calls, and travel management. The administrative work is even more taxing if you choose to head your own firm and run a team of photographers capable of taking on huge projects.
Wherever your particular photography niche lies, ultimately, it comes down to three things: you, the camera in your hands, and what you want to capture. If you have a passion for this combination and the ability to handle the tasks required of a professional photography, then begin working toward that goal!