SOC: 27-4021.00


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.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
124,900 employed

Projected (2024):
128,800 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Advertising Photographer
  • Aerial Photographer
  • Apprentice Photographer
  • Biological Photographer
  • Biomedical Photographer
  • Cameraman
  • Commercial Photographer
  • Crime Scene Photographer
  • Digital Photographer
  • Fashion Photographer
  • Finish Photographer
  • Food Photographer
  • Forensic Photographer
  • Freelance Photographer
  • Industrial Photographer
  • Marine Photographer
  • Medical Photographer
  • Nature Photographer
  • Newspaper Photographer
  • Newspaper Photojournalist
  • Ophthalmic Photographer
  • Owner/Photographer
  • Photo Editor
  • Photo Journalist
  • Photo-Optics Technician
  • Photographer
  • Photographer Assistant
  • Photographic Specialist
  • Photojournalist
  • Portrait Photographer
  • School Photographer
  • Scientific Photographer
  • Sports Photographer
  • Still Photographer
  • Street Photographer
  • Studio Owner
  • Underwater Photographer
  • Wedding Photographer
  • Wild Life Photographer
  • Wildlife Photographer

  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed


    Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.


    Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Equipment Selection
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • Fine Arts
  • History and Archeology
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Perform maintenance tasks necessary to keep equipment working properly.
  • Perform general office duties such as scheduling appointments, keeping books, and ordering supplies.
  • Determine project goals, locations, and equipment needs by studying assignments and consulting with clients or advertising staff.
  • Select and assemble equipment and required background properties, according to subjects, materials, and conditions.
  • Enhance, retouch, and resize photographs and negatives, using airbrushing and other techniques.
  • Set up, mount, or install photographic equipment and cameras.
  • Produce computer-readable, digital images from film, using flatbed scanners and photofinishing laboratories.
  • Direct activities of workers who are setting up photographic equipment.
  • Employ a variety of specialized photographic materials and techniques, including infrared and ultraviolet films, macro photography, photogrammetry and sensitometry.
  • Engage in research to develop new photographic procedures and materials.
  • Set up photographic exhibitions for the purpose of displaying and selling work.
  • Load and unload film.
  • Develop visual aids and charts for use in lectures or to present evidence in court.
  • License the use of photographs through stock photo agencies.
  • Mount, frame, laminate, or lacquer finished photographs.
  • Photograph legal evidence at crime scenes, in hospitals, or in forensic laboratories.
  • Transfer photographs to computers for editing, archiving, and electronic transmission.
  • Develop and print exposed film, using chemicals, touchup tools, and developing and printing equipment.
  • Write photograph captions.
  • Send film to photofinishing laboratories for processing.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Board reflectors
  • Bubble machines
  • Camera cleaning brushes
  • Camera flash attachments
  • Camera positioning tripods
  • Computer inkjet printers
  • Computer laser printers
  • Contact print frames
  • Darkroom thermometers
  • Darkroom timers
  • Digital pens
  • Digital photo printers
  • Digital still cameras
  • Dimmers
  • Dye sublimation printers
  • Electric print dryers
  • Film cameras
  • Film drying cabinets
  • Film scanners
  • Flash memory data storage devices
  • Flatbed scanners
  • Focus assists
  • Fog machines
  • Force film washers
  • Global positioning system GPS devices
  • Graduated neutral density GND filters
  • Graphics tablets
  • Haze filters
  • Image enlargers
  • Incident light meters
  • Label printers
  • Lamp reflectors
  • Laptop computers
  • Large format printers
  • Macro lenses
  • Magnifier loupes
  • Mobile adapters
  • Negative proofers
  • Neutral density ND filters
  • Optical media printers
  • Optical viewfinders
  • Personal computers
  • Polarizing lens filters
  • Rapid photo print washers
  • Reflected light meters
  • Ring flashes
  • Snoots
  • Softboxes
  • Sound blimps
  • Special effects projectors
  • Studio strobe flashes
  • Tablet computers
  • Telephoto lenses
  • White balancing lens filters
  • Wide angle lenses
  • Wireless flash triggers
  • Zoom lenses
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe After Effects
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Suite software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software
  • Apple Final Cut Pro
  • Blinkbid
  • Cradoc fotoBiz
  • Email software
  • Facebook
  • Genbook
  • HindSight InView
  • Intuit QuickBooks software
  • Light Blue Software Light Blue
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • ShootQ
  • ShootZilla
  • Simplifi pixifi
  • Simply Studio System
  • StudioCloud
  • StudioPlus Spectra software
  • SuccessWare
  • Tave Studio Manager
  • Twitter
  • Web browser software
  • WordPress

  • arts design entertainment sports and media

    industry stats

    SOC: 27-0000

    Total Employed: 1,843,600

    Average Annual Salary: $56,980