Photographers use cameras to take pictures that help tell a story or record an event. They often specialize in a specific field such as portraits of families and children. There are scientific photographers who often must have some knowledge of biology, chemistry, engineering or medicine. News photographers, called photojournalists, photograph newsworthy people and events for newspapers and other publications.

Working Conditions

Photographers are often self-employed and set their own hours. Some may have to travel and some may work long and irregular hours.


Average earnings for newspaper photographers are about $24,000 per year. Photographers working in portrait studios earn an average of $17,000 per year. If a photographer earns a reputation for their work, earnings can go much higher.

Helpful Skills and Subjects to Study

Photographers need a "good eye", imagination and creativity, as well as a good technical understanding of photography. Helpful courses include art and chemistry.

Related Jobs

Other jobs requiring visual arts talents include illustrators, designers, painters, and photo editors.

Education & Training

Entry-level positions in photojournalism, or in industrial, scientific, or technical photography are likely to require a degree in journalism or photography, with additional courses in the specific field being photographed. Photographers may start out as assistants to experienced photographers.

Job Outlook

Keen competition is expected for photographer openings because they attract so many people.

Sources for Additional Information

Professional Photographers of America
229 Peachtree Street, NE, Suite 2200
Atlanta, GA 30303

Advertising Photographers of America
7201 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046