Being a photographer may sound glamorous and easy. Press a few buttons, and you’ve got your shots. But there is much more to it than that. In this guide, we will explore a day in the life of a photographer. We put together this guide to help you understand what it is like to be a photographer and discuss the average salary of a photographer.
What Is a Photographer?
A professional photographer uses their camera as a tool to create visually striking images that express a feeling or message of the subject in question. They use both technical and artistic skills to develop a certain style in their work, and can take pictures of virtually anything, such as people, places, objects, and events.
There are many different kinds of photography to specialize in. You could become a portrait photographer, a documentary photographer, or a landscape photographer to name a few. Whatever subject matter piques your interest you can find your niche.
What Does a Photographer Do On a Daily Basis?
While taking amazing photos of the subject matter in the brief is the main role of a professional photographer, everyday activities include a lot more than just taking pictures. Let’s take a look at some of the main tasks of a photographer.
- Send quotes. Clients make contact for a quote on a photography session with you. This could be for a family photo session, a corporate shoot, a wedding shoot, or a bridal party shoot.
- Plan for approaching shoots. Depending on the brief, you may need to plan some elements for upcoming shoots to fulfill the client’s needs adequately. An average shoot day may require a lot of equipment so make sure you plan ahead.
- Market and source clients. If you are an independent or freelance photographer, you will need to spend time advertising and marketing your photography services to gain clients. A great way to get new clients is through networking.
- On-location shoots. You will have to set aside time in your schedule for the shoot itself. Once you’re at the shooting location, you will need to set up your equipment, such as staging elements, flashes, tripods, multiple lenses and filters, and lighting. Preparation is key.
- Edit and complete the job. Post-production editing is a large part of the role. Clients can be very particular in their expectations, like removing unruly nose hairs from a shot. You will also need to curate the shots, as you might have 600-700 images for a shoot. Make sure you select and edit the best ones for your client to choose from.
How Can I Become a Photographer?
There are various ways to become a photographer. Although there is no official need for a degree in photography, it would certainly help your education and job search. You can take online or in-person photography courses for beginner, intermediate, and professional levels. You can also opt to self-study through free courses and tutorials on the Internet.
A photography degree can give you credibility in the field regardless of your level. There are various courses such as Bachelor of Arts in Photography, or a Master of Fine Arts in Photography. A degree will give you in-depth knowledge of photography theory and techniques, and a chance to build your portfolio. Degrees take around three to four years to complete.
Photographer Online Courses
There are plenty of online and in-person photography courses available for every level. You can find courses that focus on different areas, from photography basics to more niche areas like wedding photography, documentary photography, or portrait photography. You can learn a wide variety of photography skills through professional courses to get started in the industry.
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The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
There is no formal requirement for certification for this profession, however, it can help add credibility to your photography profile. Certification through a degree, course, or bootcamp can help build trust with employers that you are qualified for the role.
How Can I Get a Job as a Photographer?
There are various ways to get a job as a photographer. You can seek employment with companies or you can work as a freelancer or contractor. If you invest in your photography education and training, it will set you apart from the rest and allow you to become a professional.
Once you have taken plenty of time to learn the photography basics, other tools can help you secure employment. You can gain experience through internships to develop an excellent portfolio. You can look for clients through your network, by searching job boards, or advertising your services in your area. Check out the steps below for more details.
Steps to Finding a Job as a Photographer
- Get the right education
Many photography professionals pursue a degree. This is something you may want to consider for the long-term, but you can start with a few courses or a bootcamp to see if photography is the right fit for you. These can be online or in-person. The best bootcamps offer flexible payment options and valuable job services.
- Update your resume
Even though photography is an artistic skill, you still need to know how to write an effective resume when applying for jobs. Your resume will highlight your education and experience, which will help employers gauge your fit for the role. If you don’t know what layout to use, you can find great advice for that online with free templates.
- Create a portfolio
A portfolio is a collection of your best photography work used to showcase your abilities. This way, prospective employers can see what you are capable of. It can make a lasting impression which may mean securing employment. You can find great advice on creating a portfolio and sharpening your skills that can set you apart from the rest.
- Internships and networking
Internships are an excellent way to advance your skills, acquire valuable on-the-job experience, and provide invaluable networking opportunities for employment and gaining clients. Internships can be paid and unpaid. You can search for photography internships on job listing sites like Indeed.
- Career Karma matches you with top tech bootcamps
- Get exclusive scholarships and prep courses
- Search for jobs
You can use online job boards to search for photography jobs with a company, as well as freelance or contract opportunities. Excellent job boards include Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and LinkedIn. You can also create a profile on freelance websites like Upwork or Fiverr, or could create your own photography website for clients to find you.
What Is the Average Salary of a Photographer?
The average professional photographer makes $45,000 per year, according to Payscale. However, the average salary for a photographer depends on many factors, including how long they’ve been working in the profession, and the related skills that they can bring to the job. Let’s break it down below.
Salary for an Entry-Level Photographer
An entry-level photographer, according to Payscale, can earn $36,107. Professional skills in social media marketing, Adobe Photoshop, customer service, video editing, graphic design, photo-editing, and product photography affect salary earnings at this level.
Salary for a Mid-Level Photographer
A mid-level photographer, according to Payscale, earns $49,046 per year. Skills that affect your salary earnings at this level include client interactions, product photography skills, video editing skills, and Adobe Illustrator skills.
Salary for a Senior-Level Photographer
Senior-level photographers, according to Payscale, earn $61,674 per year. Skills proficiency in graphic design, customer service, Adobe Portable Document Formatting PDF, video editing, product photography, photo management, photo editing, and Adobe Photoshop affect earnings for this level of a photography career.
Job Outlook for a Photographer
The photography career outlook is looking good, with a projected 17 percent growth according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The photo and video industry worldwide is projected to reach $18,974 million in revenue in 2022. As companies move more and more online, ways of communicating visually become increasingly in demand.
Should I Become a Photographer?
Yes, if you are interested in a photography career, then there are multiple great reasons to get into the world of photography now. Photographers will always be needed as this kind of creative role cannot be replaced by computers. Companies need people skilled in visual representation to ensure their customers can connect and buy their products and services online.
A Day in the Life of a Photographer FAQs
Knowing your camera is the first thing. You need to understand the difference and relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. You also need to learn about composition rules, focus, and lighting.
According to ZipRecruiter, $57,806 is the average salary per year. As a freelance photographer, you will have to take care of your own marketing, advertising, bookkeeping, and so on.
Yes. With practice, education, and experience your work will improve. Take advantage of every opportunity for practice and constantly track your performance for improvement opportunities. Building a career in photography takes lots of time and commitment, especially if you are trying to run your own business or market yourself as a freelancer.
No. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a high school diploma or equivalent is sufficient. That said, short courses or even a degree would certainly provide easier access to employment, higher income opportunities, and advancement.
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