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Photography Instructor Job Description, Career as a Photography Instructor, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

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Training/Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree preferable

Median Salary: $32,800 per year

Job Prospects: Fair

Job Description


Photography instructors teach students how to take better photos. Professional photographers teach their students about the art of photography and give them tips and insight as to the best way to take photos. Photography instructors may work on a freelance basis and offer their services through a community center or similar facility. In this capacity, they may be responsible for finding avenues in which they can teach their skill. It can be helpful for photography instructors to keep motivated by exploring new subject matters and environments for photos; this insight also may be of great help to the students.

If teaching as part of an academic staff, photography instructors must work in the same capacity as any other teacher. They must prepare their classroom, develop lesson plans, teach the provided curriculum, and grade students on their performance. This is a rather involved type of teaching position because the photography instructor may have a lot of hands-on time with students. These instructors may teach a large class or work with students on a one-on-one basis, depending on the curriculum. As this instruction can be performed on a contractual basis, some individuals may even hire a photography instructor on a case-by-case basis.

Photography instructors work to improve the skills and performance of their students. They provide insight from a firsthand perspective and demonstrate various techniques. These instructors also teach students how to develop their photographs, and they are often responsible for managing their own darkroom. Photography instructors must stock and maintain their darkroom and classroom to ensure they’re ready for the students to use.

Photography instructors must be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of camera use. This means that they must practice their own photography and display the pictures that show various techniques and tips that teach their students. These instructors work with students on their individual photo shoots and must be able to rely on their past experiences to teach. As they gain experience in teaching, photography instructors also must keep their own photography skills sharp.

Training/Educational Requirements


As with any type of teaching position, a bachelor’s degree is required if the photographer wants to work in an accredited school. If working as a full-fledged teacher or as part of an academic staff, photography instructors may also be required to have a teaching certificate. Ongoing education and training is required to keep the certification current.

Photography instructors must keep up with their trade to ensure they are current with new trends, ideas, and tips within the field. They can benefit greatly from taking photography training courses, even if they are established as a photography instructor. There are usually workshops or seminars that photography instructors may attend to keep their camera skills sharp. It is essential that photography instructors be well-versed in both teaching and photography, as they must be strong in both areas to be effective.

How to Get Hired


The best way to get hired is to demonstrate a strong passion for photography. Having a portfolio of photos is an excellent way to get a foot in the door because it’s important to show skills in this field. Photography instructors should have some experience in teaching students, and this can be a great help to getting hired. Though it is not always essential, any teaching experience in any capacity can be a good way to get the job.

Showing a passion for photography is an essential part of being hired. To be able to teach students, professional photographers should demonstrate a proven ability within photography. Additionally, personality is another great indicator. Photography instructors must have a personality that can deal with all types of students with a wide variety of personalities, and this should come through in an interview for a photography teaching position.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development


There is a lot of competition within the occupation of photography instructor. As many people want to turn their passion and hobby for photography into a career, there can be a lot of competition for this job. Additionally, not every college, university, and high school offers photography classes, so there may not be many photography teaching positions available within a geographic area.

There isn’t usually high turnover within the role of a photography instructor. Though it can be a tough field to break into, it can be a long-term position for the individual who holds it. Smaller schooling venues, such as community centers offering photography classes, can open up new positions. Though they may teach on a part-time basis, photography instructors can gain experience in teaching photography at community centers. Additionally, by working on a freelance basis, photography instructors gain clients to work with one-on-one.

Working Environment


The typical working environment for a photography instructor is a classroom with a studio. This often looks like a typical classroom for the instruction, but the studio is an important part to this environment as it is often where photos are taken and the skills are taught. There also is usually a darkroom that the photography instructor uses to demonstrate to students how to develop photos.

Salary and Benefits


Though the average salary for a photography instructor is around $32,800, there can be a very broad range for this position. Because photography instructors can work in a variety of environments, they can expect the pay to change dramatically between them. Those photography instructors who work in a full-time capacity as part of a university may expect to earn far more. Those who teach classes on a part-time basis or as a freelancer may charge an hourly rate that can vary by location and client. Usually photography instructors are responsible for their own benefits, but it depends on the position and employer that they have.
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