Photographer  What They Do

Just the Facts

Photographers Career Video

Insider Info

dotPhotographers are the people behind the camera who capture moods and feelings on film to sell products, highlight news stories and bring back memories. They operate a variety of cameras and photographic equipment to take pictures of people, places, objects and events.

dotPhotography is a diverse field. Often, the only similarity among these sharpshooters is the fact that they take pictures. Generally, the field is divided into two categories: commercial and studio.

Commercial photographers are the creative minds behind many of the advertising images we see today. Their work can be seen in newspapers, magazines, catalogs, manuals, brochures and posters.

Studio or portrait photographers are the people that turn up at weddings and graduations to take that photo you'll look back at for years to come. Much of their work is done in a studio.

dotPhotojournalists are the shutterbugs with a nose for news. They photograph newsworthy events, people and places for magazines and newspapers. Many of them work on a freelance or contract basis.

Underwater photographers take pictures of sea life with sophisticated, waterproof cameras. Their work may be used as art or for scientific study. Underwater photographers must be experienced divers and have some knowledge of marine biology.

Aerial photographers shoot pictures from airplanes. Their work might be used by news sources, land developers, businesses, or for military purposes. A knowledge of geography is important for people in this field.

dotWorking conditions depend on the type of photography. Commercial and portrait photographers generally work 40 hours per week in comfortable studios or at a client's office or residence. Some have to travel overnight.

dotA photojournalist's day can be grueling. "The hours can be long. It's certainly not a job for someone who wants regular hours and meal breaks," says photojournalist Neil Barker.

The work can be physically demanding, at least for photojournalists who may have to carry heavy equipment in difficult terrain.

Commercial photographers might work on location in a foreign country snapping pictures of fashion models. Or they may work in a studio photographing fruit for a grocery store flyer.

dotPhotojournalists spend a lot of time outdoors in good weather and bad. Sometimes they're faced with dangerous situations, especially when covering a natural disaster or a military conflict.

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this career is about?Check out Just the Facts for simple lists of characteristics.

At a Glance

Take pictures in all kinds of settings, from under the sea to high in the air

  • Working conditions depend on the type of photography you do
  • You need your own equipment to get going in this career
  • Practical experience is usually more important than education