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What to Expect from a Career in Photography

What to Expect from a Career in Photography

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor


Use this report to find out what to expect from a career in photography.

• Nature of the Work
• Working Conditions
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
• Employment
• Job Outlook
• Earnings
• Related Occupations
• Sources of Additional Information

Significant Points

Competition for jobs is expected to be keen because the work is attractive to many people.

Technical expertise, a “good eye,” imagination, and creativity are essential.

More than half of all photographers are self-employed; the most successful are adept at operating a business and able to take advantage of opportunities provided by rapidly changing technologies.

Nature of the Work

Photographers produce and preserve images that paint a picture, tell a story, or record an event. To create commercial-quality photographs, photographers need both technical expertise and creativity. Producing a successful picture requires choosing and presenting a subject to achieve a particular effect, and selecting the appropriate equipment. For example, photographers may enhance the subject’s appearance with natural or artificial light, shoot the subject from an interesting angle, draw attention to a particular aspect of the subject by blurring the background, or use various lenses to produce desired levels of detail at various distances from the subject.

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