A photographer uses various techniques, such as enhancing lighting or using specialized filters or lenses, to set the scene for film or digital photographs. Photographers who shoot digital images then upload them to a computer, while those who use film cameras outsource their film for processing or develop it themselves. Photographers also use computer software to modify images, such as cropping them or correcting their color. 

Photographers may focus their work on a particular specialty, like portrait photography, wedding photography, artistic photography, scientific photography, or industrial photography. 

Education and Training

  • A 2-year college diploma in photography, creative photography, digital photography, or photojournalism or A bachelor’s degree in visual arts with specialization in photography or Completion of specialized training in photography in high school, college or specialized training schools or Extensive on-the-job training under the supervision of a photographer is required. 
  • Experience in, or knowledge of computerized photography or digital imaging may be required. 
  • Creative and technical ability, as demonstrated by a portfolio of work, are required. 

The Workplace

Photographers perform some or all of the following duties: 

  • Study requirements of a particular assignment and decide on type of camera, film, lighting and background accessories to be used 
  • Determine picture composition, make technical adjustments to equipment and photograph subject 
  • May operate scanners to transfer photographic images to computers 
  • May operate computers to manipulate photographic images 
  • May adapt existing photographic images and create new digitized images to be included in multimedia/new media products 
  • May use delicate instruments, such as optical microscopes attached to cameras 
  • May process exposed film 
  • May use airbrush, computer or other techniques to retouch negatives 
  • Medical photographers may work closely with medical illustrators

Skills for Success

The key Skills for Success for this career path are:

  • Digital
  • Communication
  • Creativity & Innovation

Sample Job Titles

  • Aerial photographer 
  • Commercial photographer 
  • Industrial photographer 
  • Photojournalist 
  • Portrait photographer 
  • Scientific photographer 

Companies and Sectors

  • Corporate offices 
  • Self-employed 
  • Media outlets 
  • Newspapers 
  • Freelance photographers