Photographers use their technical expertise, creativity, and composition skills to produce and preserve images that tell a story or record an event.
Working conditions for photographers vary considerably with their specialty. Some travel for photoshoots; others work in their own studios. Still others work in laboratories and use microscopes to photograph subjects.
How to Become a Photographer
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.
Employment of photographers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Salaried jobs may be more difficult to find as more companies contract with freelancers rather than hire their own photographers.
This occupation supported 136,300 jobs in 2012 and 124,900 jobs in 2014, reflecting a decline of 8.4%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 4.3% in 2022 to 142,200 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 137,400, compared with an observed value of 124,900, 9.1% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 2.9% in 2024 to 128,800 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 143,300 jobs for 2024, 11.3% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.