Photographer Job Description

You might be surprised how much more there is to a photography job than taking pictures.

photographer studies negatives

A photography job can take many different forms, but one thing is certain—the job is about much more than just taking pictures.

Some photographers freelance, others run their own studios or work for companies as salaried employees. Photographers can also specialize in a certain kind of photography, further customizing their careers to fit their particular interests. From wedding photography to commercial photography to photojournalism, the possibilities are almost endless.

Job Responsibilities

While there may not really be a "typical" day in a photography job, photographers often find themselves performing the following kinds of tasks:

  • Marketing and networking through social media and professional organizations
  • Communicating with clients to understand their needs
  • Preparing for photo shoots (e.g. scouting locations, scheduling, renting equipment such as lighting)
  • Selecting cameras, lenses and photographic equipment
  • Setting up or taking down lighting, backgrounds, props and other equipment
  • Photographing images
  • Post-processing images using software programs such as Photoshop and Lightroom
  • Creating final print images or digital files
  • Archiving images 
  • Maintaining and updating a digital portfolio and website
  • Staying abreast of technological advances and trends in the equipment and industry
  • Performing administrative tasks such as billing

Skills Needed in a Photography Job

  • Vision – Everyone has seen a picture of common subjects, such as a field of flowers or the moon. So photographers need to find creative ways to make their images stand out. Clients will hire you for your personal perspective, your unique style and your ability to use those things to communicate their message. Your creativity and style can set you apart from the competition in this field.
  • Communication – Client relationships are very important in a photography career, especially for those who run their own business or freelance, so good communication skills are essential. You'll need to work with clients to make sure you understand what they want and need.
  • Technical Skills – Photography jobs have always required a certain level of technical skill in order to operate photography equipment to the best effect. Since digital photography technology is now the standard  for commercial, editoral and recreational photographers, technical skill are essential.
  • Business Skills – Whether you freelance or have your own photography business, you'll need to be able to run the administrative end of the business. You'll need to handle things like pricing, accounts payable and receivable, and marketing.