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Photographic technician

Photographic technicians help photographers and produce images from digital files.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £29,000

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

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; on shifts

Future employment

There will be 0.5% more Photographic technician jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

Typically you could:

  • transfer image files into a desktop publishing application
  • edit and adjust for good picture quality
  • print images onto photographic paper, canvas or other materials
  • quality check prints
  • deal with customers, give advice and take payments
  • help photographers during photo shoots
  • check and maintain equipment like cameras and printers

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work at a store or in a creative studio.

Your working environment may be physically demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in photography or digital imaging.

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

In professional labs, archive stores and picture libraries, you'll usually need formal qualifications in photography like:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Photography and Graphics
  • A Level Photography
  • Level 3 Certificate in Art and Design (photography option)
  • Level 3 Diploma in Photography

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information

You can get into this job by doing a Photographic Assistant Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship, following the photographic technician pathway.

You could also apply to do a Photographer Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship.

These typically take a minimum of 1 year and 6 months to complete, and are a mix of workplace learning 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
Direct application

You could apply directly to work as a photographic technician. For work in high street mini-labs, you'll need basic computer skills and an interest in photography. You don't always need formal qualifications, but some employers may prefer you to have GCSEs.

For print finishing, you'll usually need practical skills in woodworking and picture framing.

More information

Career tips

Computer skills and knowledge of desktop publishing software are important as most photographic processing work is now digital.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in photography from The Association of Photographers.

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You could work in specialist photographic processing work with organisations like the Police, NHS or university photography labs.

With experience, you could move into management.

You could also choose to start your own photographic business or open a franchise to run a mini-lab.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work on your own
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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