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Photographer Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Photographer Do?

Photographers capture and edit images to tell a story, share information, advertise or create awareness for a product, and more. They are experts at framing their subjects to convey a specific point or message to the viewer.

Photographers are not only masters of their craft; they are masters of their chosen tools, with in-depth knowledge of the proper lenses and shutter speeds to capture their subject precisely as they envisioned it. Different types of image capture include lifestyle, portraits, landscape, fashion, product, macro, wildlife, and sports photography, as well as photojournalism. Learning to master these forms of image capture is crucial to a photographer’s ability to land consistent work.

A photographer’s expertise goes beyond operating their camera. Photographers must also rely on specialized equipment to best capture their subjects. This might include lighting rigs for indoor shoots, balancing and reflector cards for outdoor shoots, and various tripods and other stabilizing equipment. Photographers must also be proficient in using photo-editing software to produce the most captivating images possible.

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National Average Salary

Photographer salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Photographer is:


Photographer Job Descriptions

The first step when hiring a great photographer is a well-crafted job description. Below are real-world examples to help give you the best chance of success on your recruiting journey.

Example 1

[Your Company Name] is in search of a talented photographer. This candidate will be responsible for taking clear, dynamic photos according to client specifications. Duties include setting up backdrops, directing models and subjects, editing, communicating with clients to set up a time and place to take pictures, maintaining and managing photography equipment, submitting photos to appropriate persons, and managing sessions. This candidate will be able to work well with a team, be organized, self-motivated, and a critical thinker. Attention to detail is a must, and knowledge of photography and photography equipment is essential. This candidate must have one or two years of experience as a photographer, and the ability to work a camera, direct subjects, and edit photos as needed for print and digital publishing. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Work with the Art Director to determine the necessary images
  • Scout locations and contact subjects or clients before shooting
  • Set up the proper photographic equipment
  • Compose and frame the subject
  • Adjust apertures, shutter speed, and camera focus
  • Retouch and edit image files
  • Conduct reshoots, if necessary

Education and experience

This position requires a high school diploma or a GED; preferable is an associate or bachelor’s degree from a college or university.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Strong knowledge of visual design principles
  • A keen eye for detail
  • Expertise in camera operation
  • Critical-thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Exceptional creative-thinking skills
  • Proficiency in photo-editing and retouching software
  • Patience and flexibility
  • Excellent communication and research skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Ability to work independently with strong time management and organizational skills
  • Ability to work various holidays throughout the year
  • Reliable transportation
  • Ability to lift equipment (up to 40 lbs) with frequent sitting, standing, and moderate physical activity

Example 2

Staff Photographers are a key part to the success of the newsroom in producing a complete news report. Photographers use photos and video to complete visual reports on people, news, sports, lifestyle, entertainment, and business. They will also work on a series of in-depth projects and reoccurring photo and video features. The Staff Photographers at ABC Company are essential in its mission to inform and inspire its community with important and relevant journalism.

Essential job functions

  • Work to be in the right position to produce intimate, emotionally appealing, and graphically appealing photographs and video
  • Do the reporting and take the time necessary to give our community a unique perspective on a story
  • Develop and maintain professional judgment in the process capturing of videos and photographs
  • Represent ABC Company in a professional and courteous manner, and always project a professional image in the community
  • Show up to assignments on time to know what is happening and what needs to happen so you are ready to over deliver
  • Look for opportunities for video/multimedia and whenever possible report in those ways, too
  • File photos not only for the assignment for print but also enough photos for expanded coverage, ABC Company archive and for future use
  • Work with reporters to help gather information to best tell the story
  • File images early from breaking news assignments so they can quickly appear on
  • Dress appropriately for any event that you might be sent to cover
  • Work on at least one recurring project that can be published online and in print on a regular basis
  • Between assignments, travel the community and take videos and photographs you come upon
  • Pitch story ideas on a regular basis to editors
  • Establish contacts in the community for stories you are working on and what could be future stories
  • Write all cutlines so they are accurate and detailed with proper spellings that follow ABC Company style
  • Be mindful of changes in technology and style and how they can be used in your reporting and photography
  • Seek out new opportunities for education and growth in journalism, photojournalism and social media trends
  • Share photos, links to galleries and links to related stories on professional social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on every major assignment to promote your work and ABC Company
  • Maintain and engage with those who interact with your work on social media
  • Read ABC Company and other news sources to stay in the know on stories, trends, and opportunities for future stories

Education and experience

  • Must possess a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in photography/journalism, or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Minimum 2 years experience in photojournalism
  • Must have good computer skills and experience in effective social media use

Example 3


  • Capture photos that are fun and creative to exceed the customer’s expectations
  • Perform the sales process to achieve Sales Average expectations
  • Talk with potential customers and call existing customers to schedule and confirm sessions
  • Provide a wonderful customer experience


  • High school diploma, GED, or equivalent experience. 
  • Previous retail, sales, service-related or photography experience, preferred.
  • Ability to work a varied schedule including days, nights, holidays, and weekends
  • Strong communication, interpersonal and collaboration skills
  • Ability to quickly develop a good rapport with children and adults
  • Basic math and computer skills (e.g., navigation, data entry)
  • Ability to work in multiple studios (where applicable) based on business needs

Example 4

The E-Commerce Product Photographer is an instrumental role to get our product in front of our clients and customers.


  • Photograph all newly arrived & pre-owned products with our LightBox
  • Retouch all images in Photoshop with our website standard quality for product listings
  • Keep the photographs organized on the server in the correct folder structure
  • Other duties as assigned


  • Must be creative and know how to shoot with aesthetic composure
  • Must have strong knowledge of editing photos
  • Maintain an organized and tidy studio
  • A strong understanding of photography
  • Knowledge of the use of proper lighting to obtain high-quality photos
  • Review product images on the website to make sure they are always of the best quality
  • Photography of beauty and fragrance products is a plus

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • Certified Professional Photographer (CPP). This certification is offered through the Professional Photographers of America, and is an online program that helps candidates master their craft while gaining the knowledge they will need to succeed in this competitive field. 
  • Digital Photographer Certificate Program. eCornell offered a Digital Photography Certificate online through Cornell University. This program will certify candidates as professional photographers while teaching them the fundamentals, mechanics, and digital aspects needed to succeed as a professional photographer.

Sample Interview Questions

  • When working with clients, how do you determine their needs and preferences and incorporate their feedback?
  • Describe a time when you had to manage lighting and other environmental factors to achieve a photoshoot’s desired look and feel and what steps you took to meet the client’s expectations.
  • What steps do you take to ensure that deadlines are met when managing multiple projects and deadlines simultaneously?
  • How do you adapt your techniques to meet the unique requirements of different types of photography, such as portraits, landscapes, and commercial photography?
  • What is your experience with photo editing software? How do you use it to enhance and edit your photos?
  • Which lens do you prefer to use and why? 
  • What techniques do you use to help models or other subjects relax and be themselves during a photoshoot? How do you help them feel comfortable and confident during a photoshoot?
  • How do you collaborate with other creative professionals to ensure the final product meets everyone’s expectations when working in a team environment?

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