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Studio photographers photograph people, places, and products, and arrange all lighting, backdrops, and equipment as necessary to capture specific images. Photography studios hire studio photographers part-time, full-time, and seasonally to work flexible shifts that include evenings, weekends, and on-call hours as well. Studio photographers typically work inside the studio, but may travel to capture specific photographic subjects, such as buildings or landscapes. Studio photographers work independently, but ultimately report to the studio manager or head photographer.
Studio Photographer Duties and Responsibilities
Daily duties vary for studio photographers, depending on the subjects they’re photographing, the equipment they’re using, the size of the studio, and the various backdrops and props available to them. However, there are several core tasks associated with this job that are universally the same.
Manipulate Studio Lighting
Studio photographers move, adjust, and otherwise work with studio lighting in order to capture high-quality photographs of subjects.
Studio photographers use digital software tools to retouch photographs and remove imperfections.
Studio photographers arrange props, products, and backdrops in order to capture visually-appealing photographs.
Studio photographers maintain all photographic equipment and keep it in good working order.
Studio photographers keep the photography studio clean and well-organized.
Communicate with Subjects
Studio photographers communicate with human and animal subjects in order to get them to strike specific poses, look at the camera, or otherwise perform actions to capture needed images.
Studio Photographer Skills and Qualifications
Studio photographers use interpersonal and communication skills to work with multiple subjects, mechanical abilities to use various equipment, and computer skills to retouch photographs as needed. Employers look for studio photographers who have all the necessary skills to complete the various tasks associated with this job.
Interpersonal skills – studio photographers use interpersonal skills to make subjects feel relaxed and interact with people of all ages and walks of life, including young children
Communication skills – studio photographers use verbal communication skills to relay clear, easy-to-understand instructions to subjects being photographed
Physical ability – studio photographers lift and carry heavy equipment and stand, crouch, bend, and move into various positions in order to capture specific images, which requires physical stamina
Computer skills – studio photographers work with digital camera equipment and imaging software tools, which requires strong computer skills
Attention to detail – studio photographers use attention to detail to ensure that photographic compositions are well-lit and contain all elements needed to present an attractive, attention-getting image
Mechanical ability – studio photographers work with various pieces of equipment and use their hands, which requires mechanical ability
Tools of the Trade
Studio photographers work regularly with the following tools and equipment:
Lighting equipment (strobes, soft boxes, umbrellas, flash attachments)
Camera equipment (cameras, tripods, lenses)
Photography equipment (backdrops, props)
Studio Photographer Education and Training
Employers seek out studio photographers who have a high school diploma or equivalent. Past photography experience is preferred by many employers. Additional education is not necessary, but candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in photography are often preferred by employers. Many studio photographers maintain a portfolio of their past work, and this can show experience and ability that is even more desirable to employers than educational credentials. Because travel may be required, some employers additionally require candidates to have a valid driver’s license.
Some employers hire studio photographers on an entry-level basis and provide training to these workers. The training period varies by employer. During training, studio photographers work closely with a senior member of the photography staff and/or the head photographer.
Studio Photographer Salary Outlook
Photographers earned a median annual income of $32,490 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the equivalent of $15.62 median hourly salary. There were more than 100,000 jobs for photographers in 2016, a number expected to decline by six percent through 2026. Studio photographers are a specialized type of photographers and may sometimes be referred to as simply photographers. According to PayScale, studio photographers earn $40,963 median annual income.
Full-time studio photographers typically receive basic benefits packages from employers that include healthcare insurance. Sometimes dental and vision coverage are included in these packages as well. Paid vacation days, holidays, and sick days are also commonly offered by employers. Part-time and seasonal studio photographers do not typically receive benefits.
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