Arts & crafts


Photographers take and process pictures of people, places, products and events.

Annual Salary

£14,000 to £50,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 4% more Photographer jobs in 2023.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You'll usually specialise in one area like fashion, portrait, wedding or e-commerce photography. You could take still or moving images. You may work for companies or individual clients, on a freelance or employed basis. You may also create and sell your own images.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • discussing the project with the client and agreeing the ‘brief’
  • finding and preparing the location for the photo session
  • choosing the right equipment and setting up lighting
  • composing and taking photos
  • using industry software to edit and process images
  • checking accurate colour match and image quality
  • choosing the best images for the client to use online or in print
  • marketing and running your business

There are no set entry requirements.

You'll usually need experience and a portfolio of work. A qualification in photography can help you learn technical and creative skills, although many photographers are self-taught.

You could start as a photographer's assistant and work your way up.

You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Creative Skillset has more information on industries that use photographers.

£14,000 to £50,000

Starter salary: £14,000 to £18,000 (assistant)

Experienced salary: £19,000 to £30,000

Freelance photographers are paid per job. Rates can vary depending on experience, reputation and the type of assignment.

These figures are a guide.


Your hours and place of work will vary. You may need to work evenings and weekends in a studio or on location.

The job can be physically demanding and you may have to carry heavy equipment.

You may need a full driving licence and use of a vehicle.

Many photographers are freelance and you could do a mixture of contract work and following your own interests. You could extend your range into other areas of photography like product, property or corporate work.

With training, you could also work as a press or police photographer.

With specialist qualifications, you could find employment in medical photography or illustration.

To improve your job prospects, you could join a professional body like the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) or the Association of Photographers (AOP).

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • composition, design and technical ability
  • organisational and time-management skills
  • excellent communication, IT and marketing skills
  • attention to detail
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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