How to Get Job As a Photographer

Written By: Amy S. Dumas

Getting your first job is always challenging, especially in photography profession. If you find yourself helpless, and wanted to get a job as a photographer, this article is meant for you.

When are just starting out as a photographer and completed your learning stage, getting a suitable job is the next big thing.

You may need a job to start your photography career as a intern or full time photographer. In this article I am going to explain the exeat process to find a job.

If you are straggling or don't know how - bear with me. I am going to explain, how to find new job opportunities and prepare yourself to get hired.

Photography Jobs Overview and Challenges

Since ancient times people have had a knack for capturing what they see with their eyes. We come to know about their lives and society from the hand drawn paintings on stones or on other material.

When technology was not there, people used their talent to express their mind through paintings. They still do. Painting is a form of visual art.

But after the invention of the camera, things changed. Capturing a scene as we see it has its own charm and demand. Especially for documenting a historic event, photography really works wonders.

Besides, documenting history there many other applications of photography nowadays. The industry really grew bigger. For every industry there is photography associated with it.


There is a demand for extremely high-resolution photography; talk about the sports industry, advertisement, modeling and fashion, journalism, and countless many others.


If there is a field then there is a demand for people with skill and knowledge of photography science. To be a photographer you need to have a sound knowledge of how light and shadow work, good skill in handling cameras. And understanding its various settings and how they work, and what effect they have on captured photos.

Although employers will not ask for more than a high school degree, they do expect you to have an associate's or a bachelor's degree.

Although having some sort of degree will definitely give a certain boost in job hunting, you must have skills to underpin your education.

After all, employers are looking for skilled photographers. Employers look at your work with great intensity because all they want you to do the best job possible in their projects.

The photography job can be very taxing on your body and energy as you may have to stand for long hours or travel many places within a day.

Contract Vs Freelance

There is a very fine line of difference between the two categories. In the case of contract jobs, the company hires a photographer just like any other employee in any other company.

The frequency of job assignments, workloads and paychecks may vary but if are contracted then you are an employee of the company and company’s business come first and you must fulfill your work requirements.

A freelancer is also contracted but not an employee. It is more like a one-time-use material; when a particular assignment or project is over, your job is over for sure unless re-hired by the same company for another job.
To find these types of jobs you have to have a good presence in social media apps.

This is one kind of indirect approach to your future employer or client. You can make your presence known by Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. posts. You can create your own website to host your photos or create an online portfolio.

If you are taking a direct approach then you can directly apply to a company, look for more jobs on job sites, or email to potential clients. Doing a bit of a search in Google will get you to a plethora of job sites.

How to Get a Job As a Photographer

The photography as a profession is fun and eventful. Getting a Job is not always easy for beginners.

However, there is a very big difference between taking it up as a serious profession and just shooting for fun and capturing the memories of various events around you.

No one can just start shooting with the camera and become professionals. To become successful one of the main criteria is getting a job as an intern.

Slowly with time their interest and investment will turn them into either a professional or they will just be like every other person with a camera hanging from their shoulder not knowing what it means to be a photographer.

On the other hand, if you are skilled and want to get yourself a job, you must try for the executive to senior photographer post.

Various entry-level junior positions are advertised online. These jobs especially target beginner-level people.

The skill levels that we have seen earlier were based on these jobs. Many ranches, retail shops, theme parks or adventure parks, etc., look for third to fifth-level amateur or beginner photographers.

But for most beginners, their first job starts from the connection from their own family or friend circle either for wedding, birthday or other various parties. When a beginner has a strong portfolio s/he starts to get serious offers.

How to Find Photography Jobs in Your Locality

Finding jobs within your locality may be more difficult than you think. The reason could be that your locality is very small and not many potential clients live here, or there could be fierce competition and your luck has just run out.

But it could also be the other way round. In your locality, you may be the only available good photographer and clients line up for your service.

In your locality, your name becomes famous when you do a lot of networking with the people you know. You then connect to them via social media and their friends come to know about you automatically as mutual friends.

Facebook and Instagram give you suggestions about following and becoming friends. You can also use Facebook post boost to target people who live just within your locality.

You write up and create a post then you publish them as advertisements and boost them. Within a very short time, people will come to know about you. This way you search for your photography jobs in your locality.

There are lots of jobs for photographers- some are regular full-time jobs and some are contractual or freelance jobs. There are ways to look for jobs. Let us have a little discussion about them.

Preparation for getting photography jobs

Now that you have found your passion for photography and bought your first DSLR camera, you are seriously thinking about learning this as a regular trade skill. You are dreaming about a job in this photography industry.

But the question is, how do you prepare for the job hunt? You must know this is not a very promising field right now as there are more photographers than the demand for a professional service.

Therefore, there a few deciding factor that will give your resume a serious boost. Let us talk about it one by one.

1. Equip with Right Gears

Do you aspire to become a photographer? Then you must buy a few things before you think about anything else.
It is very important that a photographer carefully chooses his camera.

There are many good manufacturers to choose from, for example, Nikon, Canon EOS 5D MK III, Canon EOS70D, and Nikon D710. These devices are the best for product photography work.

There are so many options to work with. Lenses of all kinds can be mounted on them with ease.
No camera works without good lenses.

Cameras are nothing but pieces of the device without their eyes. Lenses are eyes. To take macro shots of products usually three categories of lenses are utilized – for larger products 12-24mm, for average sized products 18-200mm, and for close-up photos, we need 105mm lenses.

Following is a list of lenses recommended for professional product photography studios. You may have to spend a couple of grand to buy good lenses for detailed shots.

Although another type of photo can be taken holding the camera in your hand, photos will be blurry with a slower shutter speed as hands shake with time.

It is not really important to spend too much money on this. Just one tripod which is sturdy enough for your camera will be ok. Brand tripods should be your choice but within a twenty-dollar range. You can look into tripods at Amazon.

2. Grow your Skills

If you are thinking of getting a job in this industry, then you must have an idea or education about everything in this industry. Why do not we take from the top?

Number one point is to learn: get an education on photography. You can actually learn a lot of things from professionals just by looking at their blogs or vlogs.

There are so many contents out there that you will not be able to finish in your lifetime. So, there is this formal education and the informal education.

There are various workshops and lessons offered by serious and experienced professionals. You can learn a lot of tips and tricks and techniques from the professionals.

They will practically show you and give you hands-on training, for instance, the use of ISO, white balance or aperture, or shutter speed and how any change in any of them can change the effect on the whole photo.

On the other hand, people can also consider the formal college degree 2 to 4 years of photography arts and science. The job actually depends on what the employer wants from you.

If the employer is looking for a permanent job then s/he might as well have a bachelor's degree or an associate degree.

3. Create Portfolio book

After you have had your studies done you need to prepare for jobs.

As a paid professional, you may have various ways to publish your work online and have online sites to showcase your work and sell them through referrals, blogs, and such.

However, you cannot just avoid making a portfolio book of your work. It has to have all the best work you have done so far and arranged and presented in a way that the book itself becomes a product that could be sold just for its merits.

If your book is salable, so you are. You will have to present this book to many agencies so that they can help find you, employers. In the world of photography, word will not sell but work will.

One day, employers will definitely call you in person to see you face to face, which means they actually want to see what you have in print.

Agencies often call for portfolios to find the best photographer for their client. Then they will judge them based on the current project they want to work on.

Famous magazines also test out newer talents and ask to send agencies multiple portfolio books at a time and then select the one they find workable with.

Printed portfolio books may seem like a relic from the past, it still never fails to deliver a sense of earnestness, professionalism, care, urgency, and passion.

When it comes to attention to details, only printed materials can do that. When someone calls on you for your service, it is always better to have a photography portfolio book with you.

With the book, the client would instantly understand what kind of project you have worked on and how good your skills are.

Then there will not be any delay and the client will talk to you about the project he wants to work on.

You may or may not be instantly hired but it sure will give you a fair chance at the opportunity.
It is important to make a portfolio using photos from various genres of photography, for instance, real estate, wedding, product photography, etc.

4. Create a Portfolio Website

Website is very important for a photographer. Imagine that you have a portfolio but you do not have a website. How do you think your employer will first see your work?

Although they may find you from agencies, still there are other clients who will want to see your work online. Your website is your advertisement.

Through connections, an interested client may come to know your name. Also expect to see your work first. You will have your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. pages, and people will find you there.

Besides, see your posts and then go to your website to see what other work have you done so far. Therefore, it is important to have an online version of your portfolio book.

5. Grow Communication Skills

If you wish to survive in the field of photography you need to learn how to connect to people. Being excellent in communication and reading between the lines and acting upon it are important skills that you must have.

The bigger your network, the better chance of getting jobs through your connection is. With better communication skills you can win hearts. Therefore, you must hone this skill.

Tips for Growing Your Photography Career

In any industry to build one’s career one has to study first to understand the details of the trade. Then master the trade skills by being an apprentice or doing internship somewhere.

The next step will be to build a portfolio where one he can showcase his mastery of skills learned so far. All these steps are also common when we are talking about photography.

We have to study the theory and techniques and then practice the skills under someone with more experience. Then he will have to start looking for jobs by first networking with his own family and friends.

He will need to work for free for some period of time. Slowly with his skills, he will be able to gain trust from many people.

Moreover, these people will start referring his name to their own circle and people will slowly start coming to him for a photo. He will also take indirect and direct approaches to find jobs. This way he will be able to progress in his career.

Originally published: May 11, 2021 , Last updated: May 11, 2021

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