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Photographers use a variety of photographic equipment to capture moments of events, people, objects or scenes for records, art or commercial use.

Photographers tend to specialise in one particular area of photography such as press and photojournalism, fashion or scientific and medical photography. Their work typically entails:

  • setting up photographic equipment

  • taking pictures

  • editing and retouching images

  • choosing and setting up locations

  • reproducing and framing photographs

  • promoting business (especially if self-employed)

  • researching and making contacts

  • general administration.

The majority of their work is undertaken 'on location', so travel and irregular working hours are common features of the job.


Qualifications and training required


There are routes into photography for both university graduates and school leavers.

Photography, film, art, design or media studies degrees can be advantageous – particularly for technical skills. Alternatively, there are many part-time photography courses, such as City & Guilds and Creative Skillset – the sector skills council for creative media, which can offer a useful starting point.


Key skills for photographers


  • Creativity

  • Technical photography skills

  • Patience and concentration

  • Attention to detail

  • Strong networking skills

  • Team working skills


Typical employers of photographers


  • Agencies

  • Picture libraries

  • Newspapers

  • Magazines

  • Catalogues

  • Advertising agencies

  • Hospitals

  • Medical publishers

  • Museums

  • Art galleries

  • Auctioneers

There are other specialist areas of work such as scientific, aerial and forensic photography.


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