Information About Photographers

Training Requirements for Photographers

Photographers need high school diploma or equivalent.

Degrees for Photographers
Training for Photographers
Percent
Less than High School 1.9
High School 10.8
Some College 24.4
Associates Degree 11.7
Bachelors Degree 41.8
Masters Degree 8.2
Doctorate or Professional Degree 1.2

Employment outlook for Photographers

Represents about 124,000 people in the United States.

Employment prospects are up Over the next 5 years there will be aproximately 3,000 more photographers but, because of expected growth and replacement needs in the United States, we will need 34,000 more.


Hourly Income

On average, photographers make $20.50 per hour.

Hourly Income Distribution in U.S. Dollars ($)
Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 75% Top 90%
Photographers $9.19 $11.29 $16.38 $25.10 $36.65
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations $10.20 $14.69 $22.69 $34.33 $49.69
Media and communication equipment workers $10.40 $14.65 $21.96 $33.35 $47.69
National Average $9.27 $11.60 $17.81 $28.92 $45.45

Annual Salaries

On average, photographers make $42,640 per year.

Annual Salary Distribution in U.S. Dollars ($)
Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 75% Top 90%
Photographers $19,110 $23,480 $34,070 $52,220 $76,220
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations $21,210 $30,560 $47,190 $71,410 $103,360
Media and communication equipment workers $21,630 $30,460 $45,680 $69,370 $99,200
National Average $19,290 $24,140 $37,040 $60,150 $94,540

This data is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

Photographers: What Is This Career Like?

Most photographers work freelance which brings the advantages and disadvantages of self-employment. Professional photography is required for a wide range of different purposed from weddings to commercial projects such as photographing company employees and new buildings. The work is creative but also involves building relationships with clients and your photography subjects. Much of the work is on location so will involve some travel.

There are several areas of photography where you could specialize:

  • Fashion
  • Commercial Photography
  • Architectural Photography
  • Events Photography
  • Weddings
  • Newspaper Photography


Personal skills:

Photography is one of those highly skilled jobs that look easy until you try. You will need a range of technical, creative and personal skills to succeed in this competitive industry:
  • A creative eye
  • Strong communication skills and an amiable personality to get the most out of people
  • Technical skills with the camera, lighting and photo editing software
  • Tenacity - there will be a lot of hanging around to get that perfect picture
  • An eye for detail and a desire for perfection.

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