What Do Photographic Process Workers And Processing Machine Operators Do

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

Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators

Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators perform work involved in developing and processing photographic images from film or digital media. May perform precision tasks such as editing photographic negatives and prints.

Salary
$39390
Becoming One
Easy
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Low
Job Growth
Low

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators perform work involved in developing and processing photographic images from film or digital media. May perform precision tasks such as editing photographic negatives and prints.

  • Select digital images for printing, specify the number of images to be printed, and direct to printer, using computer software.
  • Create prints according to customer specifications and laboratory protocols.
  • Produce color or black-and-white photographs, negatives, or slides, applying standard photographic reproduction techniques and procedures.
  • Set or adjust machine controls, according to specifications, type of operation, or material requirements.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Photo Lab Technicians monitor equipment operations to detect malfunctions. They select digital images for printing, specify the number of images to be printed, and direct them to the printer, using computer software.

  • Create prints according to customer specifications and laboratory protocols.
  • Maintain records, such as quantities or types of processing completed, materials used, or customer charges.
  • Produce color or black-and-white photographs, negatives, or slides, applying standard photographic reproduction techniques and procedures.
  • Thread filmstrips through densitometers or sensitometers and expose the film to light to determine the density of film, necessary color corrections, or light sensitivity.
  • Examine drawings, negatives, or photographic prints to determine coloring, shading, accenting, or other changes required for retouching or restoration.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Photo Lab Technicians also shade negatives or photographs with pencils to smooth facial contours, soften highlights, or conceal blemishes, stray hairs, or wrinkles. They may also apply paint, using airbrushes, pens, artists’ brushes, cotton swabs, or gloved fingers to retouch or enhance negatives or photographs.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Photo Lab Technicians splice broken or separated film and mount film on reels. They might also upload digital images onto websites for customers.

In addition, they dry prints or negatives using sponges, squeegees, mechanical air dryers, or drying cabinets.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them set automatic timers, lens openings, and printer carriages to specified focus and exposure times and start exposure to duplicate originals, photographs, or negatives.

To some Photo Lab Technicians, it is also their responsibility to retouch photographic negatives or original prints to correct defects.

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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Low

Is this job meaningful

Low

46% said they were satisfied with their job and 42% said they found their job meaningful.


Pros

Suitable for people who like to follow routines.

Suitable for people who want to work in a supportive work environment.

It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required to get started.

Normal working hours (40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to start and carry out projects.

One of the lowest paying jobs.

How much do they make

Average salary

$39390 per year

Average hourly wage

$19 per hour

Entry-level Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $23,850 to $28,140 per year or $11 to $14 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $61,950 $30
Senior (Top 25%) $47,870 $23
Median $34,720 $17
Junior (Bottom 25%) $28,140 $14
No experience (Bottom 10%) $23,850 $11

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Management of Companies and Enterprises $54530 $26.22
Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers $52950 $25.45
Local Government $51250 $24.64
Motion Picture and Video Industries $50930 $24.49
Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers $50570 $24.31
Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses $48830 $23.48
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $46310 $22.26
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing $43790 $21.05
Specialized Design Services $42950 $20.65
Manufacturing and Reproducing Magnetic and Optical Media $41780 $20.08

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Other Personal Services 3000 $39470 $18.98
Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 2190 $36950 $17.76
General Merchandise Stores 620 $40290 $19.37
Health and Personal Care Stores 380 $28890 $13.89
Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 290 $40920 $19.67
Printing and Related Support Activities 190 $38770 $18.64
Motion Picture and Video Industries 160 $50930 $24.49
Employment Services 160 $41720 $20.06
Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services 150 $37550 $18.05
Electronics and Appliance Stores 140 $40680 $19.56

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
58%

40 hours
42%

More than 40 hours
0%

Working schedule

71%

25%

4%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
27%

Every day
23%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
16%

Every day
73%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
11%

Every day
88%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
70%

Once a year
4%

Once a month
6%

Once a week
21%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
7%

Slightly competitive
25%

Moderately competitive
18%

Highly competitive
29%

Extremely competitive
21%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
21%

Once a year or more
1%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
6%

Every day
72%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
72%

Once a year or more
14%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
14%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
42%

Once a year or more
29%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
21%

Every day
8%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
45%

Once a year or more
35%

Once a month or more
21%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Easy
You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category usually don’t require a degree. However, you will need a few months of on-the-job training with experienced employees. Similar careers include Customer Service Representatives, Security Guards, and Bank Tellers.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
84%

Post-Secondary Certificate
2%

Some College Courses
8%

Associate’s Degree or similar
1%

Bachelor’s Degree
5%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

No majors found

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
44%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
6%

3 to 6 months
2%

6 months to 1 year
14%

1 to 2 years
31%

2 to 4 years
1%

4 to 6 years
0%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
2%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
0%

1 month
34%

1 to 3 months
34%

3 to 6 months
16%

6 months to 1 year
16%

1 to 2 years
0%

2 to 4 years
0%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Organizer

People with this personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.

The Builder
62%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
29%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
38%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
29%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
29%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
90%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

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.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
43%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
43%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
33%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
48%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
52%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
52%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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