Working as a Professional Photographer

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a professional photographer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $12.23 an hour? That's $25,439 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -6% and produce -8,300 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Professional Photographer Do

There are certain skills that many professional photographers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed artistic ability, computer skills and interpersonal skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a professional photographer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 23.8% of professional photographers included photoshop, while 19.0% of resumes included family portraits, and 6.7% of resumes included customer service. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

How To Become a Professional Photographer

If you're interested in becoming a professional photographer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 43.2% of professional photographers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 7.3% of professional photographers have master's degrees. Even though most professional photographers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a professional photographer. When we researched the most common majors for a professional photographer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on professional photographer resumes include high school diploma degrees or master's degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a professional photographer. In fact, many professional photographer jobs require experience in a role such as photographer. Meanwhile, many professional photographers also have previous career experience in roles such as sales associate or cashier.

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Average Salary$25,439
Job Growth Rate-6%

Professional Photographer Jobs

Professional Photographer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Professional Photographer
Cashier7.9 %
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Top Careers After Professional Photographer
Owner6.1 %
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What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Professional Photographer

Professional Photographers in America make an average salary of $25,439 per year or $12 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $30,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $21,000 per year.
Average Salary
$25,439

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Commercial Professional Photographer
Commercial Professional Photographer
George Kamper, Inc.
George Kamper, Inc.
07/24/2014
07/24/2014
$41,74007/24/2014
$41,740
Commercial Professional Photographer
Commercial Professional Photographer
George Kamper, Inc.
George Kamper, Inc.
02/15/2011
02/15/2011
$41,74002/15/2011
$41,740
Commercial Professional Photographer
Commercial Professional Photographer
George Kamper, Inc.
George Kamper, Inc.
02/14/2011
02/14/2011
$41,74002/14/2011
$41,740
Professional Photographer
Professional Photographer
Kraken Sport and Media
Kraken Sport and Media
11/05/2009
11/05/2009
$24,00011/05/2009
$24,000
Professional Photographer
Professional Photographer
Portrait Studio 101
Portrait Studio 101
Invalid date
Invalid date
$24,586Invalid date
$24,586

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Professional Photographer Demographics

Gender

Female

50.2 %

Male

45.6 %

Unknown

4.2 %
Ethnicity

White

63.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

15.0 %

Black or African American

10.9 %
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.1 %

French

10.3 %

Tagalog

7.4 %
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Professional Photographer Education

Schools

New York Institute of Photography

11.5 %

Brooks Institute

9.2 %

School of Visual Arts

6.9 %

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

5.7 %
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Majors

Photography

28.3 %

Business

14.3 %

Fine Arts

8.2 %

Graphic Design

8.0 %
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.2 %

Associate

20.4 %

High School Diploma

16.6 %

Certificate

7.9 %
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Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Professional Photographer

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Top Skills For a Professional Photographer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 23.8% of professional photographers listed photoshop on their resume, but soft skills such as artistic ability and computer skills are important as well.

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Top Professional Photographer Employers

1. Lifetouch
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$33,758
Professional Photographers Hired: 
53+
2. Portrait Innovations
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$37,427
Professional Photographers Hired: 
36+
3. Picture People
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$37,011
Professional Photographers Hired: 
21+
4. Sears Holdings
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$35,226
Professional Photographers Hired: 
19+
5. The Walt Disney Company
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$53,941
Professional Photographers Hired: 
12+
6. J. C. Penney
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$34,178
Professional Photographers Hired: 
7+

Professional Photographer Videos

Recently Added Professional Photographer Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020