Photographer
Visual Arts & Trades

Photographers tend to specialise in one particular area of photography such as press and photojournalism, fashion or scientific and medical photography.

Work Activities

Their work typically entails:

  • setting up photographic equipment
  • taking pictures
  • editing and retouching images
  • choosing and setting up locations
  • reproducing and framing photographs
  • promoting business (especially if self-employed)
  • researching and making contacts
  • general administration.

The majority of their work is undertaken 'on location', so travel and irregular working hours are common features of the job.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills for photographers

  • Creativity
  • Technical photography skills
  • Patience and concentration
  • Attention to detail
  • Strong networking skills
  • Teamworking skills

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of photographers

  • Agencies
  • Picture libraries
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Catalogues
  • Advertising agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Medical publishers
  • Museums
  • Art galleries
  • Auctioneers

There are other specialist areas of work such as scientific, aerial and forensic photography.

Many jobs receive little advertising, and are filled via personal contacts so networking, job shadowing and speculative applications are essential – particularly for the most popular areas of work such as advertising, fashion, magazine and newspaper photography.

It is advisable to prepare a relevant portfolio, which can be used to highlight your abilities in speculative applications. Advertised vacancies appear in newspapers and specialist publications such as British Journal of Photography and its respective website.

Qualifications

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into photography for both university graduates and school leavers.

Photography, film, art, design or media studies degrees can be advantageous – particularly for technical skills. Alternatively, there are many part-time photography courses, such as City & Guilds and Creative Skillset – the sector skills council for creative media, which can offer a useful starting point.

Search for...

Degree Explorer

The Degree Explorer helps you plan for your future! Match your interests to university subjects and explore each recommendation to find out what suits you.

Get started

Register today

Sign up to access to use your dashboard and receive extra advice in your inbox

Sign up