Photographers take pictures of people, landscapes or things.

What does a photographer do?

Photographers take pictures of people, landscapes or things. There are a number of different areas you could be working in as a photographer:

  • press and PR photographer – taking news pictures of people and events as they happen.
  • wedding or event photographer – taking pictures of weddings and other events.
  • portrait photographer – taking pictures of people.
  • landscape photographer – taking pictures of landscapes.
  • art photographer – taking artistic pictures of people, places or things.
  • product photographer – taking pictures of items which are for sale. 

What do I need to do to become a photographer?

You do not need any formal qualifications to become a photographer but a good eye, creativity and technical ability are essential. You can study courses at college or university to gain photography skills. Most professional photographers have taken a college or university course to develop their skills. 

To get on to a photography-related degree or higher education course, you will usually need five GCSEs (A-C) including maths and English and two/three A levels including one in art, design or media. Check with universities.

Alternatively, you could do a level 3 vocational course in art and design, or photography – check with universities. 

Related skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Business management
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • Organisation
  • Patience
  • Technical ability
  • Time management

Academic route

  • A levels including one in art, design or media

Vocational route

  • Level 3 course in art and design, or photography

Related subjects

  • Art
  • Computer science
  • Design technology
  • Media studies

Essential qualifications

  • Artistic portfolio

Desirable qualifications

  • Photography degree

Where could I be working?

You could be working inside at a studio or outside in the field, depending on the type of photography you are doing. You could be self-employed, or working for an agency or news organisation. You’ll often need to have your own photographic equipment wherever you work – this can cost a considerable amount of money. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

Related jobs

Job families