How to become a Photographer

Photographers operate cameras and lighting equipment to take photographs of people, places, products and other subjects.

Personal requirements of a Photographer

  • Artistic flair
  • Eye for detail
  • Able to learn the technical aspects of photography
  • Self-motivated
  • Able to take initiative
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Interest in contemporary styles and trends in graphics, architecture and fashion is an advantage

Education & Training for a Photographer

You can work as a photographer without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in photography or photo imaging. Applicants may be required to submit a folio of work and/or attend an interview. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a photographer by completing a degree in photography or photo media. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. Applicants may be required to submit a folio of work and/or attend an interview. Access to a suitable camera is also required. Photography courses usually have high materials costs and entry is highly competitive. A number of institutions in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Photographer

Photographers may perform the following tasks:

  • operate a range of cameras, lights and light-measuring devices
  • determine the required camera angle, light positions, exposure and composition
  • offer technical solutions to illustrative problems
  • advise on photographic approaches and the selection of locations, props, models and colour coordination
  • use computers for the production of images in print or digital form as well as tasks such as image manipulation and post-production work.

Working conditions for a Photographer

Photographers stand most of the time and often carry heavy equipment. They may work on location or in a studio and can spend long periods of time in front of a computer doing post-production work. While most modern photographers use digital cameras, some may choose to use film and either develop photographs themselves in a darkroom or send the film to specialised photographic processors.

Employment Opportunities for a Photographer

Most photographers are self-employed and receive work on commission from advertising agencies, graphic design studios, and retail, manufacturing and service companies. They also receive commissions from printing houses, architects and the public for weddings and portraiture. A small number work as photojournalists. The amount of work available is generally related to the level of economic activity. Success is directly related to the quality of the work that the photographer produces and their ability to promote that work. Although photography is a competitive field, there are usually opportunities available for photographers whose work is innovative.

Additional Information
Graduates of certain courses may be eligible for full membership of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography or the Institute of Photographic Technology ( Contact the relevant organisation for further information.
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