How to become a Photographer

Photographers operate cameras and lighting equipment to take photographs of people, places, products and other subjects. Areas of specialisation in photography include photojournalism, fashion, food, scientific, commercial, industrial, medical, portrait, wedding, advertising, landscape, art and architectural.

Personal requirements for 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 and you may like to consider a VET course. 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. 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:

  • 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.

Tasks

  • Adjusting camera angles, aperture settings and subjects to achieve desired composition.
  • Working from a studio, and transporting and setting up equipment at assigned locations.
  • Studying requirements of assignment and selecting type of camera, film, filter and lighting.
  • May make enlarged prints, and mount and frame prints.
  • Consulting with clients to determine objectives of photographic assignments.
  • Manipulating images using digital imaging techniques and creative darkroom techniques such as adjusting exposure and development times.
  • Mixing photographic chemicals, processing film and developing prints.
  • Measuring light levels and determining exposure.
  • Adjusting lighting and filters to accentuate highlights and colours.

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.


Specializations

Photographer

Photographers operate cameras and lighting equipment to take photographs of people, places, products and other subjects. Areas of specialisation in photography include photojournalism, fashion, food, scientific, commercial, industrial, medical, portrait, wedding, advertising, landscape, art and architectural.

  • Average age
    Average age
    38 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Moderate
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    49% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    46 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    Unavailable
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    48% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    13,600 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.6%
    NSW: 33.0%
    NT: 0.5%
    QLD: 20.6%
    SA: 6.0%
    TAS: 1.6%
    VIC: 26.6%
    WA: 10.0%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 1.8%
    20-24: 7.3%
    25-34: 28.7%
    35-44: 30.8%
    45-54: 18.9%
    55-59: 6%
    60-64: 3.7%
    65 and Over: 2.9%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 22.3%
    Bachelor degree: 30.5%
    Certificate III/IV: 11.2%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 5.7%
    Year 10 and below: 4.9%
    Year 11: 3.4%
    Year 12: 22.1%
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