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Photographer Overview

Do you have a keen eye for what is beautiful in the world? Do you enjoy using Instagram and Photoshop to edit and share amazing pics? If so, you may want to consider a career as a professional photographer. In this exciting job, you will help others memorialize special events or capture breathtaking scenery. Photographers may work for themselves as freelance wedding or event photographers or in the commercial print industry.


  • Have a functioning understanding of and access to equipment. Knowing how to use digital cameras, lighting equipment, and digital photo editing software is the first step in becoming a photographer.
  • Analyze and create a composition list. Each client will have their own set of expectations, so be prepared to customize that for every session.
  • Edit. Touch up photos to remove problem areas and enhance the quality of the picture.
  • Create and maintain personal and commercial portfolios. You'll want to maintain one to have a way to outline your accomplishments and skills, all while building custom ones for clients.


  • Understanding aesthetics. This means seeing beauty in different places. Having an artistic side will help you create incredible shots.
  • Customer service and marketing. Being a freelancer means you are working for yourself and have to earn and maintain relationships in order to be successful.
  • Computer knowledge. Understanding software is key for professional photographers as nearly everyone utilizes digital cameras and editing equipment. Additionally, many clients will want access to online proofs or jump drives with their pictures - not to mention having a perfectly cropped and Photoshopped image that is both flattering and fun.
  • Communication skills. Being communicative is key when it comes to photography, as you will probably be working with people on some level to capture their families or special events. Being able to clearly discuss goals and shots with clients is essential to getting the perfect images.


Higher education is not required to become a professional photographer, but many people choose to take courses in order to enhance their technical and artistic skills. This may also help when it comes to landing jobs or clients, as many teachers and professors in this area are also working artists. Working as a photographer’s assistant or intern is also a great way to get your foot in the door while building your portfolio.

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