Photographers: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, OverviewLeave a Comment

Job description

Photographers photograph people, landscapes, merchandise, or other subjects, using digital or film cameras and equipment. May develop negatives or use computer software to produce finished images and prints. Includes scientific photographers, aerial photographers, and photojournalists.

  • Use traditional or digital cameras, along with a variety of equipment, such as tripods, filters, and flash attachments.
  • Determine desired images and picture composition, selecting and adjusting subjects, equipment, and lighting to achieve desired effects.
  • Adjust apertures, shutter speeds, and camera focus according to a combination of factors, such as lighting, field depth, subject motion, film type, and film speed.
  • Develop and print exposed film, using chemicals, touch-up tools, and developing and printing equipment.
Read more about what does a Photographer really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

Featured Schools


Average salary
$42770 per year

Average hourly wage
$21 per hour

Photographers with little to no experience tend to make between $19850 and $23970 while the more experienced ones can earn over $53520 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $40 $82,840
MA $31 $65,090
RI $26 $54,800
MN $26 $54,150
NM $26 $53,720

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Photographer is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Photographers are DC, MA, RI, MN and NM.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Photographer is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
No degree required

We asked other Photographers what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a High School Diploma followed by an Associate’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Visual and Performing Arts, General
Digital Arts
Commercial Photography
Read more about how to become a Photographer and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Photographer.

Suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Suitable for people who wants independence and likes to work on their own and make decisions
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required to get started.
Demand for this career is growing
Not suitable for people who likes to follow routines
Salary is below average
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

71% of Photographers said they were satisfied with their job and 40% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Thadeus Parkland

Each day varies depending on scheduled shoots or other events. A good portion of our work life includes travel to a location shoot, so preparation is key to ensure we don’t forget something important like a backup battery or SD card. The one consistent thing that has to occur everyday is reading emails and following … Read More

Kelly Johnson
Kelly Johnson Photography

The types of photography that I do are primarily headshot portraits, business lifestyle photography, and high school seniors. My work life as a photographer This is a tricky one for sure! I don’t know if there is a typical day, but I will give you a couple of scenarios. Photo session day On a day … Read More

Eliott Kroll

Working as a photographer can be an amazing gig if you are truly passionate about artistic expression through the medium. Whether you’re creating commercial photo and video to sell products or out in a field at sunset snapping some engagement photos, you’ll be happy with a camera in your hands as long as you are … Read More

Michae E. Allen
A Sharp Photo

A shoot day normally starts a day or 2 before the actual day of the shoot. I’ve normally spoken with the client and have an idea of how they want their images to look. I review the inspiration for the shoot they may have given me and if we are shooting on location, I do … Read More

Patrick Nugent
Camera 1

I am a corporate headshot photographer based in NYC. My typical day It sounds cliche, but there are no typical days. On any given day I may be heading to a clients office to photograph the CEO, at a large firm photographing 20 new employees fresh out of college, dealing with individuals in the studio … Read More

Jeff Kolodny
Jeff Kolodny Photography

I have been a professional photographer for over 30 years. I majored in Communications and Photographer at Adelphi University and graduated in 1985. After graduating I moved to Los Angeles because I wanted to learn from a few of my favorite famous photographers. Here is a piece of advice. You could work/learn from almost anyone … Read More

Richard Kelleher

A typical day for a concert photographer is trying to sell your photos. Get art galleries to show your work. Get published and PAID for your photos. What’s more important in becoming a concert photographer is you’re going to have to LOVE music. Know everything about every band you’re about to see. You’re going to … Read More

Chylea Denney
Rustic Arrow Photography

I will have consultations with the parents before they schedule their newborn session to ensure that I’m the right choice for them and what they would like. Once they are committed to me and my studio, we go over all the details of the newborn session. I help the parents choose the photography props they’d … Read More

Ayesha Lakes

My sessions are usually at my client’s home. I go to them, set up my lights and backdrop if necessary, for the session. Prior to the day of the session, I have a consultation with the parents so that they know what to expect and how to prepare. The parents are always right there during … Read More

Fizzah Raza
Fizzah Raza Photography

As an entrepreneur, I have some flexibility in creating my own work schedule. My typical day starts with getting my children fed and prepared for the day. While they eat I get myself ready and then we spend some time playing and reading until our childcare provider arrives at 9am. If it’s a shoot day … Read More

Karen Hoglund
Karen Hoglund Photography

My typical day starts with a leisurely breakfast and walking my golden retriever, Murphy. I’m not a morning person so being self-employed means I’m able to structure my day so I can work on creative tasks later when I’m naturally more productive. My walks with Murphy double as location scouting for upcoming photoshoots. Even if … Read More

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Artists and The Builders

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Learn more about Photographers

Summary (You are here)
Job Description

Find a college with the major you want

Related career information

Photographers job description, Photographers salary, Photographers information, what is the job of a Photographer like, pros and cons about Photographers, colleges and universities for Photographers, is Photographers the right career for me, careers in Art, Entertainment and Sports

Similar careers

Advertising Photographer, Aerial Photographer, Apprentice Photographer, Biological Photographer, Biomedical Photographer, Cameraman, Commercial Photographer, Crime Scene Photographer, Digital Photographer, Fashion Photographer

Additional resources

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.