In Summary - Photographer
Photographers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Photographer
Photographers take photos for a variety of different uses. Whether they are photographing a news story, a surgical procedure or someone's wedding, photographers use their skills and knowledge to produce an image that records a moment in time.
The activities undertaken by each individual photographer vary greatly depending on the area that they specialise in. Something that all professional photographers have in common though, is the technical equipment that they use. This could include:
- Traditional camera equipment, including different lenses and filter
- Digital cameras with no film (pictures are stored in the camera's memory, then later transferred to a computer)
- Specialist lighting equipment
- 'Dark room' equipment - used for developing film and processing prints
Some photographers use more specialised equipment and methods. For instance, macrophotography produces highly magnified, close up photographs. An endoscopy takes pictures inside people's bodies. Computers are sometimes used to manipulate photographs and produce new images.
With the developments in digital technologies, the work of a photographer and the skills required has expanded significantly. The photographer will now be just as likely to use a digital camera as a traditional film camera. Photographers have the technology available to enhance photos using digital imaging techniques and technologies.
Some photographers travel locally, nationally and even (particularly for fashion photographers), internationally.
Clinical photographers photograph patients, specimens, operations and so on, for medical records. They also prepare visual aids such as slides and videos, which can be used for teaching and research purposes.
Clinical photographers work in hospitals, medical schools and research institutions. They work in clinical photography, which involves taking photographs of patients' conditions and injuries, and in surgical photography, which requires them to record operations. Their photographs are used to help doctors diagnose conditions early and to aid researchers and those involved in training medical staff.
They carry out research and preparation for a shoot and they also use an extensive range of equipment.
Scientific photographers produce precise and detailed photographs of industrial events and processes. These photographs are used by scientists and engineers for training, to monitor industrial processes, for legal purposes, and so on.
Scientific photographers use photographic skills to record information for use by scientists or engineers. They produce photographs for a variety of purposes. For example, they may photograph a research project using high speed photography, keeping detailed notes. At other times, they may produce videos, slides and other visual aids for conferences and training purposes or illustrative/exhibition/publication work. Scientific photographers need to be able to choose the best photographic technique for the purpose, for example to suit analytical procedures or computerised photographic processing.
Photographers who work in industry or commerce carry out a wide range of photography. They may be employed in one of the following areas:
- research and development
- architecture and construction
Their work differs according to the nature of the organisation they are working for. Most of their work is carried out on location.
Industrial photographers may use their skills to help solve research problems that arise in such areas as engineering, and for quality control purposes. Commercial photographers may take photographs for use in publicity, or may be involved in producing materials such as videos or slides to support training or enhance presentations. Some photography departments in organisations often provide services to outside firms. This can extend the range of photographers' work. Their photographs are used in a variety of media including books, reports, advertisements and catalogues.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Take pictures of individuals, families, and small groups, either in studio or on location.
- Adjust apertures, shutter speeds, and camera focus based on a combination of factors such as lighting, field depth, subject motion, film type, and film speed.
- Use traditional or digital cameras, along with a variety of equipment such as tripods, filters, and flash attachments.
- Create artificial light, using flashes and reflectors.
- Determine desired images and picture composition, selecting and adjusting subjects, equipment, and lighting to achieve desired effects.
- Scan photographs into computers for editing, storage, and electronic transmission.
- Test equipment prior to use to ensure that it is in good working order.
- Review sets of photographs to select the best work.
- Estimate or measure light levels, distances, and numbers of exposures needed, using measuring devices and formulas.
- Manipulate and enhance scanned or digital images to create desired effects, using computers and specialized software.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Training and Teaching Others Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Selling or Influencing Others Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Coaching and Developing Others Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
Interests - Photographer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
You will use a variety of skills as a professional photographer. Some technical ability is needed, as is creativity and a good eye for detail. Social and business skills are also important.
You are more likely to take successful photographs if your subject is comfortable with the camera lens, so you must be able to put them at ease.
You will need good business sense if you are a self-employed or freelance photographer. This could include selling or marketing your service to convince people that you are the best person to use. An ability to organise your accounts is also useful.
Entry Requirements - Photographer
Pay & Salary - Photographer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 18k - 42k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.