Photographer at a Glance

Projected Job Growth

  • +0% Job Growth for

  • 2013
  • 2023

Average Salary for Photographer

  • $0 Annual Pay
    National Average
  • $0 Hourly Pay
    National Average

Best States for Photographer

in 2011
Annual Salary
Hourly Pay
Florida 4,380 $28,350 $14
Hawaii 470 $35,920 $17
Rhode Island 290 $28,500 $14

Becoming a Photographer

A college degree is not required for a career in photography. Employers typically place more of an emphasis on a photographer's skills and creativity than his or her educational background. As such, applicants to photography jobs need to submit a professional portfolio that showcases their skills and vision. Some employers, such as newspapers or media companies, may prefer candidates who have a bachelor's degree in photography. An undergraduate bachelor's degree program gives students the opportunity to develop technical photography knowledge and skills in a structured environment. These programs typically cover lighting, portraiture, digital photography, studio photography, and more.

Budding photographers can also develop their skills in classes offered by junior colleges, trade and technical schools, technical institutes, and art schools. These courses include instruction in the use of equipment, digital editing, and photographic composition. Common assignments may include taking certain types of photographs, such as portraits or of landscapes, editing those photos, or building a photo essay that tells a story. Students may also learn about the essential principles of business, marketing, and website design.

  • Principles of Digital Photography
  • Studio Photography
  • Portraiture
  • Location Photography

To succeed as a photographer you need to have strong customer service, interpersonal, business, and computer skills, as well as artistic ability. There are no license or continuing education requirements for photographers. Photography certificate programs are available for professionals who want to brush up on their skills in a particular area. These programs, offered by trade schools, colleges, and universities, offer several courses in a specific discipline, such as digital or forensic photography.