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1-2 years post-secondary training

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What They Do

Photographers Career Video

About This Career

Photographs people, landscapes, merchandise, or other subjects. May use lighting equipment to enhance a subject's appearance. May use editing software to produce finished images and prints. Includes commercial and industrial photographers, scientific 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:

  • Adjusts apertures, shutter speeds, and camera focus according to a combination of factors, such as lighting, field depth, subject motion, film type, and film speed.
  • Creates artificial light, using flashes and reflectors.
  • Transfers photographs to computers for editing, archiving, and electronic transmission.
  • Determines desired images and picture composition, selecting and adjusting subjects, equipment, and lighting to achieve desired effects.
  • Uses traditional or digital cameras, along with a variety of equipment, such as tripods, filters, and flash attachments.
  • Manipulates and enhances scanned or digital images to create desired effects, using computers and specialized software.
  • Takes pictures of individuals, families, and small groups, either in studio or on location.
  • Tests equipment prior to use to ensure that it is in good working order.
  • Enhances, retouches, and resizes photographs and negatives, using airbrushing and other techniques.
  • Estimates or measures light levels, distances, and numbers of exposures needed, using measuring devices and formulas.

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

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:

  • Studio Photographer
  • Advertising Photographer
  • Commercial Photographer
  • Newspaper Photographer
  • Graduation Photographer
  • Photo Editor
  • Photojournalist — Photographs newsworthy events, locations, people, or other illustrative or educational material for use in publications or telecasts, using still cameras.
  • Portrait Photographer
  • Sports Photographer


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733