Job Description for Photographer
Photographers use their creative and technical capabilities to capture photos of people, places, and things. Photographers generally spend a great deal of time coming up with ways to market their skills to the public, and they are often hired to take photos at memorable events such as weddings, birthdays, and graduations. They usually have in-depth knowledge of photo editing software which may or may not be used to enhance pictures. It is also common for photographers to offer photo album designs to serve as covers for customers' memorable photographs.Read More...
Photographers may specialize in different areas, including but not limited to: commercial photography, aerial photography, news photography, and special events. Depending on the area of expertise, they may then tailor their marketing in the right direction for their business.
A degree is not strictly required to become a photographer; however, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in photography can dramatically increase employment opportunities. Many consider photography a form of art that takes many years to perfect, and aspiring photographers are always fortunate to work under or alongside experienced photographers for any amount of time. Those in this position must have detail-oriented minds and eyes, as their entire jobs rely on how particular moments are captured in the lens of a camera. Prior experience in business is also beneficial, as many photographers must do their own marketing when first starting out in the profession.
- Take pictures either in studio or on location.
- Work with clients or workplace teams to create photographic images.
- Use creative knowledge to compose photographs.
- Review sets of photographs to select the best work.
- Operate various types of photographic and computer equipment to create photographic images.
Common Career Paths for Photographer
Photographers' salaries may rise greatly for those who assume a higher-end position such as a Photography Director. The average Photography Director brings home $64K per year. More often than not, a Commercial Photographer role is the next step for Photographers moving up in the field. Commercial Photographers usually make $41K per year. Many other Photographers choose to take on a Graphic Artist & Designer role, where salaries are typically $36K.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Photographer
Those at Self-Employed can expect to make the most, with the company offering a median salary of $44K.
Popular Skills for Photographer
Photographers seem to wield many skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Retouching, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Lightroom are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 32 percent, 26 percent, and 17 percent, respectively. Those listing Portrait Photography as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Customer Service and Sales also typically command lower compensation. For most people, competency in Adobe Photoshop indicates knowledge of Graphic Design.
Pay by Experience Level for Photographer
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For many Photographers, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $34K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $41K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $46K. Photographers who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are only slightly higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years; the more senior group makes around $51K on average.
Pay Difference by Location
For Photographers, busy San Francisco offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 28 percent above the national average. Photographers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Washington (+26 percent), Indianapolis (+24 percent), Dallas (+24 percent), and Seattle (+19 percent). With compensation 7 percent below the national average, Miami is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market.
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Key Stats for Photographer
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