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Become A Photographer, Editor

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Working As A Photographer, Editor

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Stressful

  • $38,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Photographer, Editor Do

Photographers use their technical expertise, creativity, and composition skills to produce and preserve images that tell a story or record an event.

Duties

Photographers typically do the following:

  • Market and advertise services to attract clients
  • Analyze and plan the composition of photographs
  • Use various photographic techniques and lighting equipment
  • Capture subjects in commercial-quality photographs
  • Enhance the subject’s appearance with natural or artificial light
  • Use photo-enhancing software
  • Maintain a digital portfolio to demonstrate their work

Today, most photographers use digital cameras instead of the traditional film cameras. Digital cameras capture images electronically, so the photographer can edit the image on a computer. Images can be stored on portable memory devices, such as compact disks, memory cards, and flash drives. Once the raw image has been transferred to a computer, photographers can use processing software to crop or modify the image and enhance it through color correction and other specialized effects. Photographers who edit their own pictures use computers, high-quality printers, and editing software. For information on workers who specialize in developing and processing photographic images from film or digital media, see photographic process workers and processing machine operators included in occupations not covered in detail.

Photographers who work for commercial clients often will present finalized photographs in a digital format to the client. Wedding and portrait photographers, who serve primarily noncommercial clients, frequently also provide framing services and present the photographs they capture in albums.

Many wedding and portrait photographers are self-employed. Photographers who own and operate their own business have additional responsibilities. They must advertise, schedule appointments, set and adjust equipment, purchase supplies, keep records, bill customers, pay bills, and—if they have employees—hire, train, and direct their workers.

In addition, some photographers teach photography classes or conduct workshops in schools or in their own studios.

The following are examples of types of photographers:

Portrait photographers take pictures of individuals or groups of people and usually work in their own studios. Photographers who specialize in weddings, religious ceremonies, or school photographs may work on location.

Commercial and industrial photographers take pictures of various subjects, such as buildings, models, merchandise, artifacts, and landscapes. These photographs, which frequently are taken on location, are used for a variety of purposes, including magazine covers and images to supplement analyses of engineering projects.

Aerial photographers travel in planes or helicopters to capture photographs of buildings and landscapes. They often use cameras with gyrostabilizers to counteract the movement of the aircraft and ensure high-quality images.

Scientific photographers focus on the accurate visual representation of subjects and therefore limit the use of image manipulation software to clarify an image. Scientific photographs record scientific or medical data or phenomena. Scientific photographers typically use microscopes to photograph subjects.

News photographers, also called photojournalists, photograph people, places, and events for newspapers, journals, magazines, or television. In addition to taking still photos, photojournalists often work with digital video.

Fine arts photographers sell their photographs as artwork. In addition to having technical knowledge of subjects such as lighting and the use of lenses, fine arts photographers need artistic talent and creativity. Most use traditional film instead of digital cameras.

University photographers serve as general photographers for academic institutions. They may be required to take portraits, document events, or take photographs for press releases. University photographers are found primarily in larger academic institutions, because smaller institutions often contract with freelancers to do their photography work.

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How To Become A Photographer, Editor

Although postsecondary education is not required for portrait photographers, many take classes because employers usually seek applicants with a “good eye” and creativity, as well as a good technical understanding of photography. Photojournalists and industrial and scientific photographers often need a bachelor’s degree.

Education

Although postsecondary education is not required for most photographers, many take classes or earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field because such an education can improve their skills and employment prospects.

Many universities, community and junior colleges, vocational–technical institutes, and private trade and technical schools offer classes in photography. Basic courses in photography cover equipment, processes, and techniques. Art schools may offer useful training in photographic design and composition.

Entry-level positions in photojournalism or in industrial or scientific photography generally require a college degree in photography or in a field related to the industry in which the photographer seeks employment. For example, classes in biology, medicine, or chemistry may be useful for scientific photographers.

Business, marketing, and accounting classes can be helpful for self-employed photographers.

Training

Photographers have a talent or natural ability for taking good photos, and this talent is typically cultivated over years of practice. For many artists, including photographers, developing a portfolio—a collection of an artist’s work that demonstrates his or her styles and abilities—is essential. A portfolio is necessary because art directors, clients, and others often want to look at one when deciding whether to hire or contract with the photographer.

Photographers often start working as an assistant to a professional photographer. This work provides an opportunity to gain experience, build the photographers’ portfolios, and gain exposure to prospective clients.

Important Qualities

Artistic ability. Photographers capture their subjects in images, and they must be able to evaluate the artistic quality of a photograph. Photographers need a “good eye”—the ability to use colors, shadows, shades, light, and distance to compose good photographs.

Business skills. Photographers must be able to plan marketing strategies, reach out to prospective clients, and anticipate seasonal employment.

Computer skills. Most photographers do their own postproduction work and must be familiar with photo-editing software. They also use computers to maintain a digital portfolio.

Customer-service skills. Photographers must be able to understand the needs of their clients and propose solutions to any problems that arise.

Detail oriented. Photographers who do their own postproduction work must be careful not to overlook details and must be thorough when editing photographs. In addition, photographers accumulate many photographs and must maintain them in an orderly fashion.

Interpersonal skills. Photographers often photograph people. They must communicate effectively to achieve a certain composition in a photograph.

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Photographer, Editor Career Paths

Photographer, Editor
Freelance Videographer/Editor Editor
Senior Editor
5 Yearsyrs
Freelance Videographer/Editor Editor Consultant
Information Technology Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Freelance Videographer/Editor Editor Owner
Business Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Freelance Photographer Owner/Photographer Executive Assistant
Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Freelance Photographer Owner/Photographer Account Executive
Sales And Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Video Editor Producer Project Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Video Editor Producer Manager
Co-Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Video Editor Producer Owner
Board Of Directors Member
8 Yearsyrs
Reporter Communications Specialist Account Executive
Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Reporter Account Executive Marketing Manager
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Reporter Writer And Editor Senior Copywriter
Creative Director
5 Yearsyrs
Freelance Photographer Writer And Editor Graphic Designer
Senior Graphic Designer
5 Yearsyrs
Designer Project Manager Vice President
Founder And Chief Executive Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Designer Manager Property Manager
Communications Director
6 Yearsyrs
Designer Project Manager Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Owner/Photographer Executive Assistant Owner
Owner And Founder
6 Yearsyrs
Instructor Engineer Design Engineer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Technical Support Specialist Web Developer
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Instructor Instructional Designer Senior Designer
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Interior Designer Business Owner
Entrepreneur
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Photographer, Editor?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Owner/Photographer 6.3 years
News Photographer 4.0 years
Staff Photographer 3.7 years
Video Photographer 3.1 years
Video Editor 2.6 years
Editor 2.6 years
Photographer 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Photographer, Editor
Photographer 14.6%
Internship 11.3%
Cashier 6.5%
Editor 4.4%
Volunteer 3.1%
Manager 2.6%
Server 2.6%
Director 2.3%
Top Careers After Photographer, Editor
Photographer 17.1%
Internship 6.6%
Editor 4.2%
Cashier 4.2%
Owner 3.2%
Volunteer 3.0%
Manager 2.9%
Server 2.9%
Reporter 2.9%

Do you work as a Photographer, Editor?

Average Yearly Salary
$38,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$21,000
Min 10%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Entravision Communications
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.9 years
How much does a Photographer, Editor make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Photographer, Editor in the United States is $38,628 per year or $19 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $21,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $69,000.

Real Photographer, Editor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Digital Imaging Specialist Digital Evolution Inc. New York, NY Jan 18, 2016 $108,524
Digital Imaging Specialist Digital Evolution Inc. New York, NY Jan 18, 2013 $104,350
Digital Imaging Specialist Digital Evolution Inc. New York, NY Feb 01, 2012 $104,350
Digital Imaging Specialist Digital Media NYC LLC New York, NY Mar 01, 2011 $73,045
Digital Imaging Specialist Platt Photo Ltd. New York, NY Sep 12, 2013 $48,147
Designer/Digital Photographic Consultant Griffin Editions, Inc. New York, NY Oct 02, 2009 $45,914

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Top Skills for A Photographer, Editor

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Security Cameras
  3. Digital Photography
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Restored/retouched photos using Adobe Photoshop.
  • Provided non-digital photography and image enhancement, as well as photo processing services.
  • Develop corporate brand through design of company website, video advertisements, promotions, and social media campaigns.
  • Acquired clients and photographed everything from UH graduations, weddings, and private parties to family portraits.
  • Managed digital imaging department and allocated work to colleagues to ensure prompt and sufficient customer service.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Photographers, Editor

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Minnesota
  5. Vermont
  6. New York
  7. California
  8. Alaska
  9. Washington
  10. Michigan
  • (44 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (39 jobs)
  • (20 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (153 jobs)
  • (148 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)

Photographer, Editor Demographics

Gender

Male

56.4%

Female

34.2%

Unknown

9.5%
Ethnicity

White

60.0%

Hispanic or Latino

17.6%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

7.8%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.3%

French

9.8%

German

4.7%

Russian

4.2%

Italian

3.3%

Japanese

3.3%

Cantonese

2.8%

Chinese

2.3%

Korean

1.9%

Portuguese

1.9%

Arabic

1.9%

Greek

1.4%

Carrier

1.4%

Hebrew

1.4%

Mandarin

0.9%

Hindi

0.9%

Vietnamese

0.9%

Tagalog

0.9%

Turkish

0.5%

Hmong

0.5%
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Photographer, Editor Education

Schools

Full Sail University

9.3%

Columbia College Chicago

8.2%

Savannah College of Art and Design

7.2%

Rochester Institute of Technology

6.9%

School of Visual Arts

6.2%

Ohio University -

5.7%

Temple University

5.1%

University of Phoenix

5.1%

University of Central Florida

4.6%

University of Houston

4.4%

Academy of Art University

4.1%

University of North Texas

4.1%

Miami Dade College

4.1%

Texas State University

3.9%

Ball State University

3.9%

Syracuse University

3.6%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

3.6%

Pennsylvania State University

3.3%

University of Texas at Austin

3.3%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.3%
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Majors

Photography

22.9%

Graphic Design

16.9%

Communication

13.8%

Journalism

7.6%

Business

6.9%

Fine Arts

6.3%

Digital Media

3.4%

Design And Visual Communication

2.8%

Psychology

2.5%

English

2.3%

Marketing

2.1%

Computer Applications

1.6%

Liberal Arts

1.5%

Computer Science

1.5%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

1.5%

Electrical Engineering

1.3%

Criminal Justice

1.3%

Entertainment Business

1.3%

General Studies

1.3%

Graphic Communications

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.4%

Other

21.5%

Associate

11.2%

Masters

8.5%

Certificate

4.1%

Diploma

0.8%

Doctorate

0.3%

License

0.1%
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