What does a photographer do?

With their knowledge of cameras, lenses and camera accessories, photographers take still images for a variety of commercial and artistic purposes. Some types of photography, such as editorial and commercial, require elaborate lighting set ups and crew members, while others, such as photojournalism and sports photography, require more spontaneous work. Some daily duties may include: liaising with client and discussing briefs, hiring studios, setting up lights, selecting specific lenses and camera bodies, equipment hire, gear pick up and drop off, touching up photos, printing or uploading finished photographs and organising exhibitions.

Tasks:

  • Selecting appropriate camera gear
  • Setting up studio and location lights
  • Cleaning and changing lenses
  • Operating camera equipment
  • Providing creative advice

What skills do I need to be a photographer?

The difference between a good photo and a satisfactory one can come down to a seemingly tiny detail. Considering the camera placement, camera angle, type of lighting, framing and distance from a subject, a photographer must have a superb eye for detail, assessing the image field and selecting the right type of equipment. Photographers must have a love for the creative process and the ability to work both independently and with others. 

Skills/attributes
  • Attention to detail
  • Awareness of lighting and surroundings
  • Great spatial awareness
  • Ability to think creatively in the moment
  • Ability to work independently and in a team

Specialisations

The skills of a photographer are sought by a number of different industries and for a number of different purposes. Choosing your specialisation will allow you to apply your skills to a form of photography you really love. 

Sports Photographer

Sports photographers, like journalists, provide a visual account of a sporting event, giving the public beautifully executed still photography that gives some insight into the day’s events. Sports photographers get privileged access to sporting events, often working extremely close to the action. Sports photographers are masters at capturing movement.

Fashion Photographer

Fashion photographers are immersed in the fashion industry for a variety of different purposes. Whether it be taking photos of a clothing range in a studio setting or snapping pictures by the side of a catwalk, fashion photographers know how to utilise both gear and lighting to provide still images for an industry where aesthetics are everything.

Still Photographer / On-Set Photographer

Stills photographers, or on-set photographers, lend their expertise to capturing candid moments behind the scenes on a movie shoot. Still photographers operate on a film set, capturing photos for both documentary purposes and promotional use.

Study pathways for photographers

There are a number of study pathways available for the budding photographer. Choosing a specialisation will help tailor your study options and get you started on the right path.

Getting Started

Choose a course that will develop your skills with a camera

Skill Building

Elect to study courses specific to your interests in photography

Professional Development

Learn how to operate a wide range of photography equipment

Industry Recognition

A portfolio of work is usually required to accompany any accreditation or work experience history you provide to a potential employer.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your photography career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.

Job Prospects and Salaries

Your career prospects and salary are highly dependent on your chosen specialisation and the demand within your particular industry.