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Details for Photographers


Photograph persons, subjects, merchandise, or other commercial products. May develop negatives and produce finished prints.


  • Take pictures of individuals, families, and small groups, either in studio or on location.
  • Adjust apertures, shutter speeds, and camera focus based on a combination of factors such as lighting, field depth, subject motion, film type, and film speed.
  • Use traditional or digital cameras, along with a variety of equipment such as tripods, filters, and flash attachments.
  • Create artificial light, using flashes and reflectors.
  • Determine desired images and picture composition; and select and adjust subjects, equipment, and lighting to achieve desired effects.
  • Scan photographs into computers for editing, storage, and electronic transmission.
  • Test equipment prior to use to ensure that it is in good working order.
  • Review sets of photographs to select the best work.
  • Estimate or measure light levels, distances, and numbers of exposures needed, using measuring devices and formulas.
  • Manipulate and enhance scanned or digital images to create desired effects, using computers and specialized software.
  • Perform maintenance tasks necessary to keep equipment working properly.
  • Perform general office duties such as scheduling appointments, keeping books, and ordering supplies.
  • Consult with clients or advertising staff, and study assignments to determine project goals, locations, and equipment needs.
  • Select and assemble equipment and required background properties, according to subjects, materials, and conditions.
  • Enhance, retouch, and resize photographs and negatives, using airbrushing and other techniques.
  • Set up, mount, or install photographic equipment and cameras.
  • Develop and print exposed film, using chemicals, touchup tools, and developing and printing equipment, or send film to photofinishing laboratories for processing.
  • Produce computer-readable, digital images from film, using flatbed scanners and photofinishing laboratories.
  • Direct activities of workers who are setting up photographic equipment.
  • Employ a variety of specialized photographic materials and techniques, including infrared and ultraviolet films, macro-photography, photogrammetry and sensitometry.
  • Engage in research to develop new photographic procedures and materials.
  • Set up photographic exhibitions for the purpose of displaying and selling their work.
  • Load and unload film.
  • Develop visual aids and charts for use in lectures or to present evidence in court.
  • License the use of their photographs through stock photo agencies.
  • Mount, frame, laminate, and/or lacquer finished photographs.
  • Photograph legal evidence at crime scenes, in hospitals, or in forensic laboratories.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.



  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Related Careers

  • Camera Operators, Television, Video, and Motion Picture
  • Film and Video Editors
  • Photographic Process Workers
  • Set and Exhibit Designers
  • Sound Engineering Technicians
Wages for this career
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