The day of a photographer may seem, at first glance, a pretty unique and easy job-but there is a lot that goes into the day to day duties of a photographer-regardless of what type of photographer he is and what industry he has chosen to work for. Suppose you are considering becoming a professional photographer. In that case, one of the most important things you should know is what the general duties are of a photographer, so you can see the best gauge if this is the right career path and field for you. Below, we offer a review of the most general duties of a professional photographer for your convenience.
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Though it may seem from TV and books, photographers point and shoot and collect the paycheck; a lot more goes into the art and technical function of taking photos. While every industry that employs a photographer for their needs varies in their daily duties and included tasks and responsibilities, there are a basic set of general duties that a professional and successful photographer must do.
The first thing that anyone should understand in connection to the duties and responsibilities is that adequate training and education is required. It is not enough to enjoy and have an eye for taking photos; you must have professional training with the camera and methodology. Once the correct training has been completed, the following tasks and duties can be expected of a professional photographer on a general basis:
- Camera gear maintenance
- Camera gear updating as technology requires to stay competitive
- Lighting setup
- Product/model preparation and placement
- Negotiating with art directors, stylists, and other professionals involved
- Maintaining project and ongoing budgets
- Model selection
- Keeping updated on the newest technology and method in the industry
- Knowledge of all types of photography equipment
- Location selection and setup
- Acquiring and positioning props for shoots
- Planning and implementation of background/backdrop
- Maintaining all administrative aspects-billing and accounting
- Supervision of assistants
- Negotiation with clients and customer service
- Advertising and promoting for new client work
- Editing and developing photos online or in a dark room
- Renting space for photoshoots
- Hiring models and assistants
Of course, all of these responsibilities are general and certainly do not include everything that a photographer may be responsible for daily. Depending on the industry that a photographer is in, they may very well be responsible for travelling to various locations for shoots, getting more industry-specific technology, and lots of research. Your photographs will be your most treasured wedding keepsake. Not sure where to start when it comes to looking for your wedding photographer of choice?
Wedding Photographer Duties & Responsibilities
The responsibilities of photographers can depend on the medium in which they work, but some everyday duties include:
- Capture and edit visual content for multiple platforms.
- Produce photography in various methods, including printed/digital media.
- Deliver final product to multiple sources, including internal and external customers, media, graphic designers, and corporate communications.
- Perform retouching and image adjustments after shoots.
- Promote the businesses to clients and the public.
- Purchase or requisition supplies.
Photographers’ salaries can depend on the medium in which they specialise. The top paid photographers work in broadcasting, not including the internet. Many photographers are paid on an hourly basis.
- Median Annual Salary: $34,008 ($16.35/hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $76,357 ($36.71/hour)
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $19,843 ($9.54/hour)
- Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018
Education, Training & Certification
Education and training requirements can also depend on the medium.
- Education: While entry-level photojournalists and commercial and scientific photographers usually need a college degree in photography, portrait photographers need only technical proficiency. A degree can make a job candidate more competitive. Classes in business, including accounting and marketing, are beneficial to those who plan to become self-employed.
- Training: While not necessary or required, getting a job as an assistant can go a long way toward learning the business and honing techniques and skills.
Photographer Skills & Competencies
In addition to technical proficiency, photographers need specific personal qualities and skills.
- Artistic ability: Photographers must have the creativity necessary to come up with ways to tell stories using images. They need a good eye for using colour, light, and composition.
- Interpersonal skills: Whether it’s the people you’re photographing, your clients, or your colleagues, you must be able to understand their needs, read their body language, and coordinate your actions with theirs.
- Communication skills: Excellent listening and speaking skills will allow you to grasp what others tell you and help you explain things to them.
- Customer service: Freelance photographers, in particular, must provide excellent service to their clients because repeat business and positive word-of-mouth are essential to success.
- Business skills: Those who are self-employed must know how to market themselves. They must tend to bookkeep tasks and keep track of their expenses and profits. They even need to be aware of legal issues, such as making sure they get a model release form signed if they were to take photos of people for commercial use.
- An eye for detail: You can’t let any details slip if you’re going to produce only the highest quality photos consistently.
Types of photographer
Wedding photography is a very specialised type of photography. The wedding day is typically one of the most important and memorable days in a person’s lifetime and one that will be remembered for years to come. Therefore, for most couples, regular photographs won’t do. Professional wedding photographers are hired to capture a couple’s irreplaceable moments by taking creative, candid and beautiful pictures of the wedding ceremony and reception. Wild Romantic Photography has the best range of services of wedding photography Yarra Valley. Check them out here.
Before even photographing a wedding, the photographer corresponds with the clients for months, or even a year or two, before the actual wedding date. Getting to know the clients and understanding their likes, dislikes, and ultimate vision is essential. When the wedding day comes, the couple feels comfortable enough to let their true personalities come out and shine. Once details are agreed upon, a standard written agreement is signed between the bride- and groom-to-be and the photographer.
After the event is over, the images are processed as quickly as possible, the wedding photographer and couple will meet to go over the pictures, and ordering details are finalised. A high level of customer service is just as important after the event as good customer relationships can lead to family portraits and portraits of their children in years to come.
Photographers tell stories through images that they capture through their cameras and express their personalities and viewpoints through their art. Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
Fashion photographers are responsible for photographing apparel, accessories, and fashion models and collaborating with hairstylists, fashion stylists, makeup artists, and fashion designers. A fashion photographer can either work freelance or be hired by a fashion designer, fashion publication, fashion house, advertising agency, or a fashion/beauty magazine.
Through their photographs, fashion photographers can create a certain aura and define what beauty and style are. Responsibilities typically involve:
- Setting up and running photoshoots.
- Communicating with makeup artists and fashion designers to best represent their vision.
- Editing the photographs.
Real Estate Photographer
Real estate is a very competitive industry, filled with ambitious agents looking for their next sale. Selling real estate is about setting yourself apart from the competition, and one of the ways that can be done is by capturing beautiful and enticing photos of a home for sale. Real estate photographers specifically hone in on this area of photography, creating images for real estate agents and their property listings on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).
This type of photography is somewhat detached from most of the artistic freedom one can enjoy with other photography forms. Real estate photographers provide a much-needed service for a very fast-paced industry. However, because the photos are temporary and, for the most part, don’t have much sentimental value, the photographer can concentrate on producing a top-notch product that can be duplicated from one photoshoot to the next.
Travel photography involves taking images that express an area’s people, cultures, customs, landscape, and history. However, travel photography, unlike other types of photography like fashion, wedding, or real estate photography, is harder to monetize. Travel photographers used to earn money through magazine assignments and stock photography. However, now that the stock photography market has shrunk, more and more photographers are using other ways to make a living, such as blogging, commercial projects, and teaching.
Careers in travel photography can be as varied as the destinations they serve. A big part of making a career out of this type of photography is tapping into social media marketing, content development, negotiation, and sales. However, the first step is to get out there and take some pictures – having a good portfolio is critical in this photography genre.
Photographers use artificial and natural lighting to snap pictures of various people, places and things in multiple settings.
A photojournalist is someone who photographs, edits, and displays images to tell a visual story. They are journalistic professionals that are skilled at interpreting and communicating an event through a photograph(s). The subject matter can vary greatly, all the way from social unrest in a foreign country to issues and events happening at a local level.
Photojournalists can work as freelance photographers or can be employed by photo agencies, magazines or local newspapers. Employment areas include the internet, print, and television.
An architectural photographer captures photos of buildings and structures to portray them as accurately as possible. This may include the interior or exterior of any form – from a residential home to the world’s tallest building. Most of us think that buildings are the main things that architectural photographers take pictures of. However, other structures also come under the architecture umbrella, such as bridges, monuments, towers, and windmills.
One of the main challenges with this type of photography is composing a shot properly. Technical problems need to be solved, such as finding the best vantage point to show mass and shape or looking for the best way to depict spatial depth and clarity.
Food photography is a particular genre of photography – it is still life photography used in cookbooks, blogs, magazines, social media, advertisements, and packaging. The ‘key ingredient’ is to capture the image to make the viewer’s mouth water. This is done by the photographer’s extensive understanding of light, colour palettes, and styling trends.
To work in this field, a good understanding of the food one is photographing is very important, as many food items can quickly melt or wither, which can make it quite challenging to work with. Food photographers typically collaborate with art directors, directors, food stylists, prop stylists, and assistants. As with any photography genre, food photographers should always have both a print and digital copy of their best work to show potential clients. Starting to think about hiring a wedding photographer? Check out our range of Mornington Peninsula wedding photography here.
A sports photographer specialises in taking pictures of athletes and sporting events. Sports photographers usually have VIP access at significant events, giving them the best vantage point for seeing the action.
This type of photography is typically used for editorial purposes – sports photographers usually work for newspapers, news wire agencies or sports magazines. However, sports photography can also be used for advertising purposes, whether it’s to build a brand or promote a sport. While most sports photographers work full-time for publications and sports teams, others prefer to work as freelancers, picking and choosing who they work for. Working conditions vary depending on the type of sport being covered – sports photographers may decide to shoot only athletes, only games, or only cover extreme sports like rock climbing or sky diving.
Newborn photography is one of the most rewarding yet challenging genres that a photographer can get into. This is the only area of photography that involves a photographer being entirely responsible for another human being’s safety and welfare. Newborns are delicate, must be handled correctly, and are relying on someone to take care of them at all times. This is typically the parent’s responsibility, however for the few hours the infant is with the photographer, the parent’s have to trust the photographer to take on this responsibility.
The average newborn photo session is three to four hours – most of that time is spent settling, cuddling, soothing, and posing the baby (and not taking photos). The actual time taking photos only amounts to a few minutes of that three to four hours. Each baby is unique, and so is each session. The baby will dictate the session and how it goes – typically, the calmer and less stressed the photographer is, the better the session will go since babies can pick up on stress.
Understandably, most newborn photographers will do just one session per day. Beautiful photographs of newborns are not always the easiest to capture, but the challenges make it so rewarding and profitable. A booming newborn photography business can be realised by combining technical skills, business know-how, and a good understanding of babies and their parents.
Portrait photography focuses on capturing a person’s likeness by having an individual sit or pose for the camera in a specific way. Typically, the most prominent part of a portrait photo hones in on a person’s face. Other components, such as backgrounds and props, are still visible but are not the main focus. A portrait photographer will often spend a few minutes posing the subject (or subjects) for each picture. Paying attention to small details, such as a slight tilt of the head, a soft gaze, or a natural placement of the hands, is key to taking successful portrait photos.
The subjects of portrait photography are usually everyday people (not models). Memorable lifetime events can be captured in school photos, dance recital photos, graduation photos, and family portraits.
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Landscape photography can be a preferred genre of photography for a variety of reasons, such as recalling a personal observation or experience while travelling, wanting to be involved with nature and the elements, using it as an escape from the artificial world, or simply having an appreciation of natural environments and having a desire to see it preserved.
Many landscape photographers don’t want to show any human activity and instead want to display a pure portrayal of nature devoid of any human influence. Features such as light, weather, and vital landforms are usually brought to the forefront. On the other hand, other landscape photographers consider urban settings, industrial areas, farm fields, orchards, and gardens to define a landscape. This genre of photography can be hard to monetize but can be done with excellent marketing skills.
Aerial photographers take pictures from the air, usually from helicopters, small aeroplanes, drones, blimps, balloons, parachutes, pigeons, kites, and rockets. The photographer can take photographs with a hand-held camera, or cameras can be mounted and triggered remotely or automatically. This type of photographer often works for architects or real estate developers who require aerial photos when looking for potential building locations or marketing properties.