Photographer Kaitango Whakaahua

Photographers take photographs of people, places, products or events.

Photographers may do some or all of the following:

  • use digital camera and lighting equipment
  • work out ideas for photo shoots
  • arrange cameras, lights, locations, props and models
  • digitally process and edit photos for print or web
  • manage and market their own businesses
  • plan, produce and edit video footage. 

Useful Experience

Useful experience for photographers includes:

  • amateur photography, including darkroom experience
  • art experience
  • experience with photography editing software.

Personal Qualities

Photographers need to be:

  • good communicators and able to make people feel relaxed and at ease
  • patient and organised
  • able to work well under pressure
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • confident and motivated
  • creative and artistic
  • practical and technically skilled
  • good at solving problems
  • good at networking to establish a customer base. 


Photographers need to have knowledge of:

  • cameras, flashes, lenses and computers
  • how to control light and achieve different photographic effects
  • how to process digital images and use software such as Photoshop and Lightroom
  • latest photographic methods, equipment and trends.

Self-employed photographers also need small business and marketing skills, and an understanding of relevant legislation.



  • usually work regular business hours, and may work long, irregular hours, including evenings and weekends
  • work in studios, offices and outdoors in various locations
  • travel locally, nationally or internationally to photograph locations.

Photographers can earn around $23-$35 per hour.

Pay for photographers varies depending on experience, how often they work and the type of photography.

  • Photographers in training can expect to earn minimum wage. 
  • Photographers with two to three years' experience usually earn between $25 and $30 an hour. 
  • Self-employed photographers can earn $50 to $250 an hour.

 Many photographers are self-employed and their income depends on the success of their business.

Source: Woolf Photography, 2020.  

Photographers may progress to set up their own photography business, or move between different areas of photography with further training. 

Photographers may specialise in a particular area of photography, such as:

  • advertising, food, fashion and editorial
  • artistic – producing photographic artworks
  • corporate and commercial
  • press, sports photography and photojournalism
  • medical photography
  • social, including weddings and portraits
  • stills photography in the film industry
  • photographic styling
  • photographic retouching.  

Years Of Training

There are no specific entry requirements to become a photographer as you gain skills on the job. However, a relevant tertiary qualification such as a Bachelor of Fine Arts may be useful. 

Some employers prefer to train new photographers themselves. They may also support them to work towards a photography qualification.