Photography is a competitive area so use your degree to build up your work portfolio, enter competitions and make industry contacts
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Advertising art director
- Film/video editor
- Graphic designer
- Magazine features editor
- Medical illustrator
- Press photographer
- Television camera operator
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Art therapist
- Community arts worker
- Digital marketer
- Media planner
- Multimedia specialist
- Museum/gallery curator
- VFX artist
- Visual merchandiser
- Web content manager
- Web designer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
You'll need a portfolio of your work to demonstrate your ability and style. You can develop this through work experience or volunteering, as well as getting involved in university projects, local competitions and final year degree shows.
Degree courses may provide opportunities for you to get work experience through placements and to undertake live briefs. Use these experiences to build up a network of contacts that can be helpful for finding work. Attending industry talks can also provide access to contacts.
It's also useful to gain membership of photographic societies, such as the Association of Photographers (AOP), as it gives you access to a network of students, assistants, photographers and agents and also allows you to be part of student awards to showcase your work.
You may be able to find paid part-time work in relevant settings such as image archiving, print services, framing services and photo developing centres within pharmacies, supermarkets and department stores. This type of work can demonstrate your interest in the area.
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.
Relevant employers can depend on your specialist area, which may cover:
- commercial advertising
- fine arts
- scientific and medical
- media organisations such as newspapers, magazines, film and television
- publishing companies
- wedding photographers or high street photography companies
- advertising agencies
- design companies
- large organisations such as universities, hospitals or airports
- cruise liners, holiday and leisure companies and theme parks
- the police - for 'scene of crime' photography
A large number of photographers are self-employed and work in a freelance capacity.
It's also possible to use your creative skills in related areas such as marketing and digital marketing, advertising, web design, graphic design, publishing and curating, where opportunities exist with a range of businesses and consultancies. Teaching is another option for photography graduates.
Skills for your CV
Studying photography provides you with expertise in sophisticated photography techniques, such as composition, manipulation, editing, processing, colouring and visual effects, as well as practical skills in relevant technologies.
You learn how to curate and exhibit your photography and develop the marketing skills needed to sell and promote it. You also learn about the key legal, ethical and cultural issues around taking, editing and selling photographic images.
The course also allows you to gain confidence in relationship building between image maker, subject and client.
In addition, you acquire a range of skills that are highly valued by many different 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
- project management
- literacy and communication through technical descriptions, reports, essays and a dissertation.
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.
Other areas of postgraduate research, study and training commonly taken up by photography graduates include advertising, design, film, editing, journalism, teaching and creative enterprise.
What do photography graduates do?
17% of photography graduates working in the UK fifteen months after graduation are working as photographers or audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators.
|Working and studying||7.4|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Retail, catering and customer service||34.6|
|Arts, design and media||23.4|
|Clerical, secretarial and administrative||9.3|
|Marketing, PR and sales||6.8|
Find out what other graduates are doing after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.