Claire Guy, Careers adviser
March, 2016

Studying photography will enhance your creative, social and cultural understanding as well as develop your specialist technical knowledge

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

You will need a portfolio of your work, which can be further enhanced through work experience or volunteering. Working as a photographer's assistant is particularly useful for developing essential skills and experience, but assistant roles in any capacity with creative professionals such as graphic designers, gallery managers, art curators, commissioning editors and art directors are also beneficial.

Paid or voluntary opportunities may exist within image archiving, print services, framing services and photo developing centres within pharmacies, supermarkets and department stores.

Interpersonal skills are critical for photography careers, so any experience which promotes customer service skills will be useful, as is experience at events, particularly social ones, where you can observe structure and organisation and practise your photography skills.

There are many online courses and tutorials available which could help you to develop skills in photo editing and image processing.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Most graduates who follow a photography route specialise in one of the following areas:

  • portrait;
  • fashion;
  • commercial;
  • wildlife;
  • fine arts;
  • scientific and medical;
  • press;
  • sports.

Typical employers include;

  • media organisations such as newspapers, magazines, film and television;
  • wedding photographers or high street photography companies;
  • large organisations such as universities, hospitals or airports;
  • cruise liners, holiday companies and theme parks;
  • the police - for 'scene of the crime' photography;
  • advertising companies.

A large number of photographers are self-employed and work in a freelance capacity.

Many photography graduates choose to use their creative skills in related areas such as marketing, advertising, web design and digital marketing, where opportunities exist witha range of businesses and consultancies.

Find information on employers in creative arts and design, marketing, advertising and PR, media and internet and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Studying photography will enhance your creative, social and cultural understanding as well as develop your specialist technical knowledge around equipment, techniques and style.

You will develop expertise in sophisticated techniques in photography composition, manipulation, editing, colouring and visual effects, as well as practical skills in relevant technologies. You will gain confidence in relationship building between image maker, subject and client.

In addition, you will acquire a range of skills highly valued by employers, these include:

  • critical, analytical and practical problem solving;
  • risk taking and making use of failure;
  • rigorous self-evaluation and critical reflection;
  • organising, planning and time management;
  • working independently and in collaboration;
  • presentation;
  • literacy and communication through technical descriptions, reports, essays and a dissertation.

Further study

There are a range of photography-related postgraduate courses available both in the UK and internationally. These courses may help develop the skills you need for self-employment or improve employability in what is a very competitive field.

Some courses focus learning into a specific area of photography, such as clinical photography or photojournalism, while others offer a more in-depth look at photography generally, perhaps with a research focus.

Other areas of postgraduate research, study and training commonly taken up by photography graduates include advertising, design, film, editing, journalism and creative enterprise.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do photography graduates do?

Almost a third of graduates working in the UK six months after graduation are working as photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators.

Further study4.5
Working and studying2.4
Graduate destinations for photography
Type of workPercentage
Arts, design and media39.0
Retail, catering and bar work27.5
Secretarial and numerical clerks5.9
Marketing, PR and sales4.2
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.