Photographers operate cameras to photograph people, events, scenes, materials, products and other subjects. They are usually employed by photographic studios, newspapers, magazines, museums and government entities, or they may be self-employed. 
Photographers may specialize in areas such as portrait photography, commercial photography, scientific photography, forensic photography, medical photography, fashion photography, digitalized or analogic photography, multimedia photography, or photojournalism.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Photographers are required to complete.
- Being able to use a good quality digital and/or analogic camera, as well as owning one along with the necessary equipment:
- Knowing how to use filters and camera lenses to achieve the desired effect(s);
- knowing how to use a tripod and lighting equipment; and
- using delicate instruments, such as optical microscopes attached to cameras.
- Studying the requirements of a particular assignment:
- Deciding on the type of camera, film, lighting, and background accessories to be used;
- taking into consideration all the possible weather, space, and/or lighting conditions;
- scouting out appropriate locations for indoor or outdoor shoots.
- Determining picture composition, making technical adjustments to equipment when necessary in order to photograph the subject.
- Getting the equipment to the studio, location, or event, setting up lighting, and taking light meter readings.
- Photographing any type of subject, such as buildings, landscapes, products, machines, equipment, sports, fashion, political or social events, and/or models.
- Interacting with subjects, if applicable:
- Directing the subject in order to get various shots, so as to present a broad selection;
- being willing and able to convey knowledge of the photographic processes with clients;
- entertaining the clients and putting them at ease during the session; and
- liaising with the client and consulting them to discuss the type and volume of photos they require.
- Cataloguing and optimizing digital files:
- Operating scanners to transfer photographic images to computers;
- operating computers to manipulate photographic images, using a photo editing software applications, such as Photoshop;
- adapting existing photographic images and creating new digitalized images to be included in multimedia/news media products;
- maintaining consistency across all images in terms of colour and lighting; and
- using airbrush, computer or other techniques to retouch negatives.
- Processing film and creating proofs for the client’s approval:
- Completing the remaining processing work once the approval is received;
- carrying out any modifications and enhancements that are requested by clients, such as enlargements, cropping, and framing; and
- preparing photos for display across different media, if applicable.
- Preparing budgets.
- Keeping up to date with the latest trends and developments in photographic equipment and techniques.
- Using a high-quality digital or analogic camera.
- Setting up the necessary lighting in the studio/location.
- Photographing subjects (e.g. models, building, landscapes, events).
- Operating different technological equipment and programs (e.g. scanners, computers, Photoshop).
The average Photographer salary is $33,437 per year or $17 per hour. This is the same as the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $23,000 while most experienced workers make up to $47,000. These results are based on 70 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, especially verbally, in order to convey clear instructions, as well as having effective listening skills as to understand the client’s requests;
- displaying strong customer service skills, as well as leadership;
- being able to work cohesively with an assistant; and
- being open to new ideas.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Having strong multitasking skills; being able to work under pressure in a dynamic, fast-paced environment;
- having time management and prioritization skills in order to satisfy client’s needs and bring in as much revenue as possible;
- being highly responsible, reliable, and organized; and
- being detail oriented and structured.
- Self-motivated and willing to work independently
- Motor coordination and physical strength:
- Being able to sit, stand, walk, bend, crouch, and kneel for long periods of time; and
- having the body strength to carry heavy equipment.
Aside from the skills listed above, in order to become a successful Photographer, a person needs to have a good balance between technical expertise and creativity. Photographers are required to have a minimum of 2 to 4 years of experience in the area. Although no formal education is required to enter this profession, a degree in Photography, Fine Arts, Visual Arts or Digital Imaging are usually preferred, especially for high-profile photoshoots.
Photographers rely greatly on a strong portfolio that stands out from the rest of the competition and on their work experience. They may also participate in contests, work as assistants for established professionals and/or do internships with newspapers and magazines to help them improve their résumé.
In order to thrive in this industry, Photographers also need to build a reliable network of clients, making contacts and building their reputation. Working on high-profile projects will begin to attract more business. Most Photographers carve out a niche for themselves and focus on a specific area of their choice (e.g. fashion, photojournalism, portrait, commercial photography).
Finally, Photographers must be able to work flexible schedules, including weekends, as well as to stand for long periods of time. They also need a valid driver’s license, as well as a reliable mean of transportation, in order to get themselves and their equipment to designated events, studios and/or locations.