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Fashion Photographer Job Description, Career as a Fashion Photographer, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Associate’s Degree

Average Salary: $36,000 Annually

Job Outlook: Fair

Job Description

Though many may dream of being a fashion photographer, few get to experience what it is really like. There are various types of assignments that a photographer of this type may get, and ultimately they are working to capture photos of models or sets for any number of clients. They may work on different subject matters each and every day, as it all depends on the needs and types of their clients.

Fashion photographers not only work to capture the photos at that moment of the shoot, but they also do a lot of preparation work. They are always looking for good sites for their shoots, or the right props to use in the setting that they rely on. They need to mix things up depending on the nature of the photo shoot, and are therefore responsible for the full set up and the take down of the shoot itself. They work to ensure that the lighting is just right and that all of the elements are well prepared ahead of time.

Most fashion photographers work for themselves, so they are also responsible for handling all aspects of running their own business as well. They must use marketing to find new business or try to land consistent clients. They must work to keep their clients happy, and manage all aspects of payment and the financials. It’s imperative that they keep up with all of these business and administrative responsibilities as it is what will set them apart from others in their field.

They work with a variety of clients, subject matters, and settings to get the right photo. They handle the development of the photos and do whatever is necessary to ensure that the creative direction is handled appropriately. They are considered to be the subject matter expert and are therefore who people go to with questions. They are held responsible for capturing the right photographer, even when it may be challenging at times.

Education and Training Requirements

Though you will find that the typical fashion photographer usually has a minimum of an associate’s degree, the educational component may vary quite dramatically. Some photographers in this field may have a bachelor’s degree, and some may have only taken a few classes. There are some fashion photographers who have turned their passion and their skills into a viable career, and have done quite well with it. Having an educational background within photographer and even fashion can never hurt, as it will help in the preparation. There is often ongoing training that may be helpful to a photographer in this capacity so that they can keep up with current trends and the industry as a whole.

Getting the Job

As the world of fashion photography can be a rather competitive one, it’s important to have experience. Initially it may help to work for a publication or to work under a well known or well respected fashion photographer. This helps to gain experience and exposure, but that’s only helpful at the beginning. As one moves throughout this career, it is quite important to build up experience and relationships of their own. They must create a portfolio that speaks to the experience that they have gained, and it really should show depth and breadth. Clients and employers alike want to see that a fashion photographer has the ability to work with any subject matter and can be successful in any setting.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

This can be a very competitive field, and therefore it’s important to know that opportunities may be limited. For those fashion photographers that happen to have great work experience plus great relationships, then they can expect to do quite well and have a long career. There are however many who wish to break into the world of fashion photography, and therefore the demand can be far less than the number of qualified candidates. As photography is a career for some and a hobby for others, this can be a tough type of job to land as there are many people who think that they have what it takes to be successful.

Working Conditions and Environment

There may not necessarily be a standard or typical work environment for a fashion photographer. Though they may have a studio of their own or one that they work out of often, they may very well take many of their photos elsewhere. They may expect to travel to other locations, either local or anywhere in the world. It all depends on who their client is and what the need is for the particular photo shoot. They may travel to runway shows or be responsible for setting up photo shoots in unusual locations. Their location may vary from day to day and therefore there may be no such thing as a typical day. Additionally they may find that there is a great deal of stress on the job. Though they are usually doing something that they love, they may have to work within tight deadlines and of course deal with tough personalities at times.

Salary and Benefits

Though the average salary for a fashion photographer is estimated to be around $36,000, this is only a median. The reality is that somebody in this position who has a great deal of experience and connections may expect to earn upwards of $100,000 — and much more for the select few who rise to the top of fashion photography. Though this may not necessarily be the norm, there is always the potential there if they are working consistently as a well known photographer in the fashion industry. It all depends on the geographical location of the job, the employer, the type of work, and the level of experience that the photographer possesses. Many fashion photographers tend to work for themselves, and in this capacity they are responsible for their own benefits. Though they may be lucky enough to work directly for an employer and have access to a standard benefits package, most photographers in this industry work for themselves and handle their own health insurance and other benefits.

Where to Go for More Information

Professional Fashion Photography Organization
256 Robertson Blvd #101
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(818) 396-PFPO

American Society of Media Photographers
150 North Second Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 451.ASMP

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCommunication and the Arts