What they do

Photographers take pictures of people, places, products and other subjects for a variety of reasons and uses. The subjects they photograph are as varied as the ways their work is used. Photographers consult with clients to determine the objectives of the photographic assignments. They adjust lighting, camera angles, aperture and other settings to ensure the best quality photographs. Photographers may manipulate photographs using specialised digital photo editing software. Some photographers may mix photographic chemicals to process film and develop prints.

Working conditions

Photography is a competitive industry and many photographers work freelance. They tend to work in studios and darkrooms, but may also work outdoors in all kinds of weather conditions. Frequently clients dictate the work environment, especially for work involving weddings, birthdays or other large events. You will invariably find a wedding party in King's Park, for example, with a photographer hard at work!

Photographers may be required to travel and should be prepared to constantly be moving heavy equipment. Photographers that work in darkrooms handle chemicals during the developing process and must be aware of health and safety practices.

Tools and technologies

Photographers use cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, tripods and stands to take pictures, and computers, scanners, photographic paper and darkroom chemicals for processing. They also use specialised photographic software to modify and enhance photographs and often transfer pictures onto CDs or USB drives as well as printing photos. It can be helpful for photographers to have easy access to a car for transporting heavy equipment, especially if they freelance or take pictures offsite.

How do I become one?

Education and training

It is possible to work as a photographer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in photography or a related area.

The Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging and the Advanced Diploma of Creative Product Development (Photography) are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a training provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website or visit the My Skills website.

You can also complete a degree in photography or photo media. Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.