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Arts & crafts

Photographer

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

Annual Salary

£17,000 to £45,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; as customers demand

0.5%
Future employment

There will be 0.5% more Photographer jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a photographer, you could:

  • discuss a project with the client and agree the 'brief'
  • find and prepare locations for the photo session
  • set up equipment and lighting, and take photographs
  • edit and process images, using industry software
  • check colour match accuracy and image quality
  • select the best images for the client to use online or in print

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
University

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • photography
  • visual arts
  • commercial photography
  • art and design

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You could take a college course in photography. This might help you to find a job as a photographer's assistant in a studio.

For more information
Apprenticeship

You could apply to do an apprenticeship to get into this role, for example:

  • Photographic Assistant Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Photographer Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship

These apprenticeships take around 1 year and 6 months to complete, and are a mix of learning in the workplace and off-the-job study.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You could start as a photographer's assistant and work your way up. It's normal to specialise in one kind of photography, like fashion, advertising, wildlife or photojournalism.

More information

Career tips

You'll need a portfolio of your work to show your skills, interests and experience in photography. It will also help you to get noticed if you post examples of your work online.

Professional and industry bodies

The Association of Photographers offers membership for anyone with an interest in professional photography.

You can also apply to join the British Institute of Professional Photography.

Further information

You can get more details on working in the creative industries from Discover Creative Careers.

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Many photographers are freelance and you could do a mix of contract work and following your own interests.

You could extend your range into other areas of photography like product, property, aerial or corporate work.

Specialist photographers

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

There are opportunities for photographers in the armed forces. You can find out more about being a Royal Air Force photographer.

If you do specialist qualifications, you could find jobs in medical photography or illustration.

Starting your own business

You may decide to become self-employed and set up your own business.

Photography is very competitive, so you'll need creativity and technical skills to make money. You'll also need finance for equipment, a space to work in and some business and admin skills.

You could increase your income by selling your images independently.

You can find out more about becoming a photographer through Creative Choices and the British Institute of Professional Photography.


Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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