Photographers take and process pictures of people, places, products and events.

Average salary (a year)

£14,000 Starter


£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays as customers demand

How to become a Photographer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in photography.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information


You could take a photography course like a Level 3 Diploma in Photography.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information


You may be able to get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship in photo imaging or creative and digital media.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information


You could start as a photographer's assistant and work your way up. It's usual to specialise in one kind of photography, like fashion, advertising, wildlife or photojournalism.

More information

Career tips

You'll need a portfolio of your work to show your skills, interest and experience in photography.

Professional and industry bodies

The Association of Photographers (AOP) offers membership for anyone with an interest in professional photography.

You can also apply to be a provisional member of the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) and take professional qualifications.

Further information

If you're aged 18 to 30, the Prince’s Trust may be able to help you.

You can find out more information on a career in photography from ScreenSkills.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • you will be expected to use a computer confidently as part of this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your daily tasks may include:

  • discussing the project with the client and agreeing the 'brief'
  • finding and preparing the location for the photo session
  • choosing the right equipment and setting up lighting
  • composing and taking photos
  • using industry software to edit and process images
  • checking accurate colour match and image quality
  • choosing the best images for the client to use online or in print
  • promoting and running your business

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and physically demanding.

Career path and progression

Many photographers are freelance and you could do a mixture of contract work and following your own interests. You could extend your range into other areas of photography like product, property or corporate work. With training, you could also work as a press or police photographer.

With specialist qualifications, you could find employment in medical photography or illustration.

You may decide to become self-employed and set up your own business. Photography is very competitive, so you'll need creativity and technical skills to make money. You'll also need finance for equipment, a space to work in, and some business and admin skills.

Find out more about setting up your own business.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

UGC Video Desk Apprentice

  • Wage : £148.00 Weekly
  • Location: Birmingham B18 6BL

Graphic Design Apprentice

  • Wage : £168.75 Weekly
  • Location: Feering CO5 9SE

Courses In England

Photography Diploma Level 3

  • Start date: 04 September 2019
  • Location: Manchester

BTCC Photography Diploma

  • Provider: Bridgwater and Taunton College
  • Start date: 10 September 2019
  • Location: Bridgwater

Get help using this service

Call 0800 100 900

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

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