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Photographer Career Description

Professional photography is a career that encompasses many facets. Photography as a profession consists of a combination of technical application and artistic skill and ability.

What am I going to do in this occupation?

Photography entails much more than merely taking photographs. The work of photographers contains two basic elements namely the taking of pictures and the development of photographs until the desired quality is obtained. Photographers are categorised according to the subject or type of illustrative work undertaken, although a precise clear-cut division seldom occurs. Successful photographers must be versatile and cannot afford to limit themselves to one particular area only.

Studio photographers take pictures of a general nature, but can also specialize in a specific direction. General photography entails taking photographs of people of all ages for specific purposes such as passports, identity documents, graduation ceremonies, portrait studies, weddings, engagements and other important events.

Advertising photography is mainly suitable for more experienced and creative photographers. Advertising photographers are almost always disciplined to a drawn layout, but their work must also be original.

Fashion photographers must know how to create lively, original and interesting images while showing garment detail. A flair for clothes and a good working relationship with the models are essential.

News pictures are highly topical. It places great demands on press photographers to meet deadlines, produce usable images under tough conditions and have the tact and tenacity to get co-operation from others.

Photo journalism requires a good eye, rapid reaction and a thorough knowledge of all equipment and materials. This, together with the ability to write, can be enormously rewarding.

The special application of photography known as police photography, crime scene photography and quite a few others is correctly referred to as "forensic" photography. Forensic photographers utilize photography to help solve crimes.

Research institutes and hospitals require photography to record operations and experiments. Medical and scientific photography requires a scientific or medical background and knowledge of photographic theory. Photographers in this field have to be able to use very specialised cameras and a variety of electronic flash equipment. The work is usually done under laboratory conditions and creative opportunity will be of a technical nature.

Other fields of photography include public relations, commercial and industrial photography, photographic marketing and aerial photography to name but a few.


What kind of personality do I need? Prospective photographers must have organizational and business skills in order to be successful. They must be able to initiate and maintain pleasant human relations at all times since they are constantly in touch with members of the public. Other essential qualities include creativity, originality and good eyesight.

Where can I work?

Photographers are employed by newspapers, magazines and other media, fashion houses, design studios, advertising companies, hospitals, municipalities, government departments etc.

Can I work for myself in this occupation?

Most photographers work on a free-lance basis.

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