Photograph people, landscapes, merchandise, or other subjects. May use lighting equipment to enhance a subject’s appearance. May use editing software to produce finished images and prints. Includes commercial and industrial photographers, scientific photographers, and photojournalists.
Sample of reported job titles: Advertising Photographer, Commercial Photographer, Graduation Photographer, Newspaper Photographer, Photo Editor, Photographer, Photojournalist, Portrait Photographer, Sports Photographer, Studio Photographer
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Adjust apertures, shutter speeds, and camera focus according to a combination of factors, such as lighting, field depth, subject motion, film type, and film speed.
- Create artificial light, using flashes and reflectors.
- Determine desired images and picture composition, selecting and adjusting subjects, equipment, and lighting to achieve desired effects.
- Transfer photographs to computers for editing, archiving, and electronic transmission.
- Use traditional or digital cameras, along with a variety of equipment, such as tripods, filters, and flash attachments.
- Manipulate and enhance scanned or digital images to create desired effects, using computers and specialized software.
- Take pictures of individuals, families, and small groups, either in studio or on location.
- Enhance, retouch, and resize photographs and negatives, using airbrushing and other techniques.
- Test equipment prior to use to ensure that it is in good working order.
- Estimate or measure light levels, distances, and numbers of exposures needed, using measuring devices and formulas.
- Perform general office duties, such as scheduling appointments, keeping books, and ordering supplies.
- Review sets of photographs to select the best work.
- Set up, mount, or install photographic equipment and cameras.
- Determine project goals, locations, and equipment needs by studying assignments and consulting with clients or advertising staff.
- Perform maintenance tasks necessary to keep equipment working properly.
- Select and assemble equipment and required background properties, according to subjects, materials, and conditions.
- Direct activities of workers setting up photographic equipment.
- Engage in research to develop new photographic procedures and materials.
- Mount, frame, laminate, or lacquer finished photographs.
- Send film to photofinishing laboratories for processing.
- Develop visual aids and charts for use in lectures or to present evidence in court.
- Load and unload film.
- Photograph legal evidence at crime scenes, in hospitals, or in forensic laboratories.
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- Accounting software — Blinkbid; Intuit QuickBooks
- Calendar and scheduling software — Genbook
- Cloud-based data access and sharing software — Google Drive
- Data base user interface and query software — Cradoc fotoBiz; HindSight InView; Microsoft Access ; Tave Studio Manager (see all 12 examples)
- Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
- Development environment software — Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Suite
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Cloud ; Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator ; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop ; SmugMug Flickr (see all 5 examples)
- Instant messaging software — Twitter
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Operating system software — Apple macOS
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Video creation and editing software — Adobe Systems Adobe After Effects ; Apple Final Cut Pro; WeVideo; YouTube
- Web page creation and editing software — Facebook ; WordPress
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Fine Arts — Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Administrative — Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Economics and Accounting — Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
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- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
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- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Set up still or video cameras or related equipment.
- Convert data among multiple digital or analog formats.
- Determine technical requirements of productions or projects.
- Operate still or video cameras or related equipment.
- Create computer-generated graphics or animation.
- Apply finishes to artwork, crafts, or displays.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Maintain records, documents, or other files.
- Review art or design materials.
- Confer with clients to determine needs.
- Select materials or props.
- Maintain recording or broadcasting equipment.
- Coordinate activities of production personnel.
- Research new technologies.
- Construct distinctive physical objects for artistic, functional, or commercial purposes.
- Write informational material.
- Arrange artwork, products, or props.
- Obtain copyrights or other legal permissions.
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- Electronic Mail — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 50% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 45% responded “Extremely important.”
- Level of Competition — 52% responded “Extremely competitive.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 41% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 73% responded “Some freedom.”
- Physical Proximity — 48% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 41% responded “More than half the time.”
- Time Pressure — 59% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 45% responded “Very important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 41% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 32% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 48% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Letters and Memos — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 41% responded “Very important.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 41% responded “Very important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 32% responded “High responsibility.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 41% responded “Important results.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 50% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 52% responded “More than half the time.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 32% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 36% responded “Less than half the time.”
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|27||Some college, no degree|
|18||High school diploma or equivalent
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Interest code: AR Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
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- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
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- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$19.85 hourly, $41,280 annual|
|Employment (2020)||110,500 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Much faster than average (15% or higher)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||12,700|
|Top industries (2020)||
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Photographic Artists
- American Society of Media Photographers
- American Society of Photographers
- National Press Photographers Association
- North American Nature Photography Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Photographers
- Professional Photographers of America
- Society of Professional Journalists
- University Photographers’ Association of America
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