Photographer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Photographers Career Video



Photographs people, landscapes, merchandise, or other subjects, using digital or film cameras and equipment. May develop negatives or use computer software to produce finished images and prints. Includes scientific photographers, aerial photographers, and photojournalists.

This career is part of the Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications cluster Visual Arts pathway, Journalism and Broadcasting pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Uses traditional or digital cameras, along with a variety of equipment such as tripods, filters, and flash attachments.
  • Determines desired images and picture composition, selecting and adjusting subjects, equipment, and lighting to achieve desired effects.
  • Adjusts apertures, shutter speeds, and camera focus based on a combination of factors such as lighting, field depth, subject motion, film type, and film speed.
  • Creates artificial light, using flashes and reflectors.
  • Manipulates and enhances scanned or digital images to create desired effects, using computers and specialized software.
  • Transfers photographs to computers for editing, archiving, and electronic transmission.
  • Determines project goals, locations, and equipment needs by studying assignments and consulting with clients or advertising staff.
  • Reviews sets of photographs to select the best work.
  • Performs general office duties such as scheduling appointments, keeping books, and ordering supplies.
  • Estimates or measures light levels, distances, and numbers of exposures needed, using measuring devices and formulas.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Aerial Photographer -- Photographs segments of earth and other subject material from aircraft to produce pictures used in surveying, mapping, volumetric surveying, or to provide information for landowners, developers, real estate companies, government agencies or other organiza
  • Crime Scene Photographer -- Takes pictures of crime scenes or of victim injuries and objects in order to document the crime for future investigation and any future criminal trials.
  • Fashion Photographer -- Responsible for how clothing is presented in advertising campaigns, catalogues and fashion magazines.
  • Newspaper Photojournalist -- Uses pictures as their journalistic voice to expose news and bring perspective on current events.
  • Ophthalmic Photographer -- Photographs medical phenomena of eye to document diseases, surgeries, treatments, and congenital problems, to aid ophthalmologist.
  • Wildlife Photographer -- Uses a combination of technical and creative skills in order to photograph wildlife in their natural habitat.