Photographers operate still cameras to take photos of people, pets, events, scenes, products and other items. They work for photo studios, advertising and marketing agencies, newspapers, magazines, museums, art galleries, large organizations and government. Photographers may be self-employed, work on contract or freelance.
Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a photographer is like.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 1,130
N/A - Data not available
In general, photographers:
In addition, they may:
Photographers may specialize in areas, such as:
Depending on their area of focus, photographers may work for a studio, wedding planner, advertising or marketing agency, or for large organizations or media outlets. They may work in a camera store or department.
Photographers may work in a studio; however, they often need to work on location, depending on what is needed for the photo shoot. This includes weddings, outdoor events and family gatherings, as well as at corporate offices and art galleries. Some photographers who work in news may be required to travel to cover current events. Photographers who work in medical or science fields may need to work in a lab, hospital or other research facility. Photographers may work in an office or studio to edit images and to manage the administration side of the work, such as ordering supplies. Photographers are also responsible for reviewing the photos and using editing software to remove flaws, adjust lighting and improve other elements in the images before sending them to the client.
Photographers are often self-employed or work on contract or freelance. Some photographers take photos – especially of celebrities – and then sell them to specific media outlets. Social media sites like Instagram give photographers an opportunity to create their own brand and create a community of followers. They can earn money through the advertising allowed on their accounts or through product placement.
Many photographers work a 35- to 40-hour week, which often include working Saturdays – especially those who photograph weddings, events and news. For photographers who are self-employed or work on contract, they spend time marketing their services, confirming contracts, invoicing and running their businesses.
People in this job may experience wrist and eye strain because they spend hours on their computer editing images. Also, some photographers may be required to go on dangerous or challenging assignments, such as taking photos during protests, in areas that are in conflict, in extreme weather or remote locations or near wild animals in nature.
Source: 2016 Census
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
This career continues to be competitive. For those starting out, it may take several years before they are firmly established.
There is a growing demand for real estate photographers, especially for higher-priced homes. Also, as more organizations develop content for social media and websites, there is an increased need for photographers who can take photos in corporate settings to work within company brand guidelines.
Advances in technology have a big effect on this field of work. Photographers must be competent with computers and equipment, and still be creative. Digital cameras are the standard, although some photographers – especially those who specialize in fine art photography – use film.
Self-employed photographers must know how to market themselves, run a business and interact with customers.
Photographers starting their careers usually find work as a photographer's assistant at a studio, or make prints in a photo lab or other professional setting. Other employment opportunities include wedding and portrait photography.
Once they have gained experience, some photographers open their own business, specialize in a certain area or work for larger organizations.
Some photographers choose to provide images to image banks. They get paid each time their photos are used by website developers, advertising or marketing agencies. Others may concentrate on social media and building a following online. This allows them to sell originals and prints, as well as earn revenue from digital ads.