Are you creative and imaginative with a good eye for composition and lighting? Then, a photography career might be for you!
Photographers are artists who work with various tools and techniques to create superior-quality commercial or artistic photos of sceneries, flora, fauna, people, products and more.
You don't need a formal education to become a Photographer. However, photography training in the form of a bachelor's degree or VET certification will help you learn and master the technical skills to produce quality pictures.
The article explains the job profile and the steps to pursue a career in photography. You will learn everything about becoming a photographer, from qualifications and skills to career opportunities and job outlook.
1. What Is Photography?
Photography is the art of capturing natural or artificial light with a camera using lighting equipment to produce an image. Besides the right photography equipment, a successful photograph depends on other critical elements such as light, emotion, composition, and the subject.
Photography comprises different genres such as landscape, wildlife, editorial, commercial, sports, architecture, food, street, news and documentary, fashion, cultural event, travel, macro, portrait, wedding, medical, and more.
2. Who Is A Photographer?
Photographers are experts at producing and modifying images that express emotion, tell a story, record an event, or paint a portrait.
They combine their artistic skills and technical knowledge to capture moments in time and transform them into representations for enjoyment.
Photographers are technical artists who are well-versed in using a film or digital camera to produce high-quality images for many purposes.
Where a landscape photographer works with different lenses, filters, and a tripod, a portrait photographer needs good lighting equipment and a lens to generate exceptional images.
Based on the niche, a Photographer can specialise in various fields such as weddings, cultural/ scientific/sports events, fashion, aerial, underwater, journalism, medical, wildlife, art, and architecture, and product shoots for promotion on websites and other advertising media.
3. Why Choose A Photography Career In Australia?
Photography is an industry that demands a desire and a love of creation. It may not be a career that can get you a lot of money, but it will give you inner satisfaction and recognition.
With the advent of digital cameras and the easy accessibility of innovative photo-finishing software, almost anyone can pursue a career in photography with considerable training, creativity, and patience.
Below is a compilation of the top reasons to become a photographer:
4. What Does A Photographer Do In Australia?
Looking at travel and landscape photography, a career as a photographer may seem to be a glamorous business. Still, its daily activities involve much more than just capturing photographs in exotic destinations.
Photographers work with cutting-edge technology-based electronic equipment and employ suitable techniques to produce the desired effect in the image.
They skillfully capture composed professional-level photographs for various events, including landscape, editorial, wedding, or portrait photography.
A photographer in Australia performs the following duties to create a perfect image:
Communicate with clients to define a photographic assignment's objective and understand the photoshoot's vision.
Determine each subject's appropriate setting and photography gear (lens, camera, etc.).
Set up a studio by assembling equipment and creating an artistic backdrop per materials, locations, job conditions, and subjects.
Operate photography equipment such as conventional or digital cameras, filters, flash attachments, light-measuring devices, and tripods to capture images in a studio setting.
Manipulate lighting system using online photo-editing tool to accentuate colours of a subject.
Adjust contrast and brightness in an image.
Clean and change lenses.
Crop and join images.
Adjust shutter speeds, camera angle, exposure, composition, apertures, focus-based lighting, subject motion, film type, field depth, light positions, and film speed.
Critically evaluate and enhance photographs using digital photo-editing software and online imaging techniques to produce high resolutions and best-quality images per client specifications.
Provide creative ideas, photographic approaches, technical solutions and advice on the selection of props, locations, colour coordination, and models
Process film and develop prints in a dark room
Use computers to produce images in digital or print form, manipulate images, and perform post-production work.
Travel to distant places to capture photographs
Work from a local studio or transport and set up equipment at different locations.
5. What Skills Are Needed To Become A Photographer In Australia?
Photographers who want to make a full-time career in photography must have in-depth knowledge beyond the lens.
They should also be good at editing, networking, and communicating with designers, clients, and advertising professionals.
Here are a few inherent traits and skills that allow a photographer to see beauty in the world around them and produce flawless creations:
Passion for photography
An eye for detail
Ability to handle work pressure
An artistic eye for composition, colour, and lighting
Great people skills
Good at problem-solving
Great spatial awareness
Able to work both in a team and independently
Able to take Initiative
Ability to stand for extended periods
Technical proficiency in operating computer software
6. Qualification To Become A Photographer In Australia
You don't need formal qualifications to work as a photographer in Australia. However, training in photography, digital imaging, or photo media makes it easier to enter this occupation.
Gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in English.
Get a Vocational Education and Training and a university-level degree while looking for internships or on-the-job training in your field. Applicants may need to present their work portfolio and attend a job interview.
Basic knowledge of web design, product design, and marketing is desirable.
7. Steps To Become A Photographer In Australia
Anyone can pursue this profession regardless of age, language, or culture. To start this career, you need a suitable camera and begin shooting.
Photography courses are the best ways to get fundamental knowledge and learn the technicalities involved in photography.
Keeping your talents with you won't earn you anything. You need to reach as many people as possible and get them to know about your work. Learning business and technical skills will help aspiring photographers with promotion and sales.
Here Are The Steps To Give You a Head Start In The Photography Occupation:
Step 1: Understand Your Career Goals
The first step to becoming a photographer is to learn your career aspirations. Asking the following questions would help you get clarity on your career.
Do you want to work in a company or run your own photography business?
Do you want to work part-time or full-time?
Do you have adequate resources to be a solo entrepreneur?
What photography niche interests you most?
Step 2: Focus on Your Niche
Photography is a vast and highly competitive field that provides ample opportunities for skilled professionals.
The correct course of action would be to focus on the niche you are passionate about and specialise in.
Step 3: Start From High School
To pursue this career, you must start from the high school level. Study a degree focusing on photography, technology and design, art, and visual arts.
Step 4: Get Qualified
The next step is to learn the ins-outs of the niche and develop aesthetic, technical art, and photography skills via education.
A degree, certification, or diploma in photography and related fields will educate you on the history and principles of photography, technical aspects like design and composition, photography methods, and time-tested marketing practices.
The artistic photography courses give you hands-on training in various photo editing to prepare you to start taking commercial-quality pictures that stand out in the crowd.
Study the following degree courses at a national-accredited university to establish a successful photography career.
Bachelor of Visual Arts
Bachelor of Arts (Photography)
Bachelor of Design in Photography
Bachelor of Design Arts (Filmmaking & Photography)
Master of Fine Arts,
Master of Visual Arts
Alternatively, consider taking a Certificate III in Visual Arts and Certificate IV in Photography and Photo Imaging at any TAFE institution or a Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging.
If none of the above options is possible, then consider attending an online training photography course or a private photography workshop under the instructions of a qualified photography professional.
Step 5: Start Volunteering
Volunteer in local schools and community and work on private projects for free to gain work experience in photography.
It will help you build a collection of your work and an impressive resume.
Step 6: Get A Suitable Photography Equipment
Research for an appropriate camera to help you capture your chosen photography style.
You can also invest in a few other niche-specific photography tools, such as portable lighting, backdrops, a tripod, and specialty lenses.
Darkroom is another good option for those who are interested in film photography.
Step 7: Refine Your Camera Operation and Editing Skills
To become a professional photographer, you need to gain expertise in operating a camera, its settings, and its functions.
Become proficient in photo editing software and other photography-related courses to capture the best shots in various settings.
Step 8: Practise, Practice, and Practice
Capturing photos in various settings can be enjoyable, but it takes extensive practice to reach a professional standard.
Keep taking photos with your camera and refine your skills till you become confident and achieve excellence in capturing professional-level photographs.
Use different types of filters and lenses to perfect your art of photography. Read relevant magazines and books to gain insights into the popular trends in the photography industry and work on developing those skills.
Step 9: Build a Collection of Your Best Works
The first thing an employer considers before hiring an employee is his skills and relevant experience.
A strong portfolio that lists your best works is the right way to showcase your creativity and abilities in the most impressionable way.
Not only will it give you a competitive edge over other job applications, but it will also enhance your employability.
Step 10: Create an Online Version of Your Portfolio
Along with a hard-copy portfolio, you can even create a digital version by making a website using a content management system and uploading your project works on it.
Share your online portfolio link on job portals, social media job sites, and other places for promotion to connect with your potential clients easily.
Step 11: Get Social and Do Networking
If you are pursuing a photography career to make a living, you should also consider its business aspects. You should learn what techniques successful photographers employ to get clients and business.
Social media is a fantastic platform for aspiring photographers who have yet to establish their presence in the industry.
Use this tool to share your photography content (images and videos), attract clients, and build a following from all parts of the world.
To make the most of the platform, ensure that the images you promote are original and reflect your niche and authenticity.
Step 12: Start Your Photography Business
With the intense competition, it may be challenging for a budding photographer to earn a place and professional standard in the industry.
It is a good idea to start as a freelance photographer and equip yourself with the necessary skills and experience.
Once you develop professional photography skills, it becomes easier to locate your ideal clients and begin to earn as a freelance photographer.
Step 13: Apply For Photographer Jobs
Step 14: Register on Popular Job Sites in Your Area
It will improve your chances of getting into photo studios, camera stores, newspaper agencies, and more.
Step 15: Stay Patient and Perseverant
8. Photography Relevant Diploma and Certifications In Australia
Certifications and diploma courses teach you creative techniques and tricks of the trade in a flexible learning environment to get you a professional start in your career.
Photography TAFE courses cover every aspect of photography right, from technique to composition, lighting, and photo development.
You get comprehensive coverage of videography content, online photography skills, and practical elements that help you establish yourself in the photography industry.
You can find plenty of courses to specialise in your niche, such as innovative digital SLR photography, black and white wedding photography, etc.
Certificate III in Visual Arts
Certificate III in Visual Arts (Photography)
Certificate IV in Photography and Photo Imaging
Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging
9. Work Conditions For A Photographer In Australia
The working conditions of a photographer significantly vary based on their niche and employer.
You are mistaken if you think photographers spend maximum time capturing photos throughout their workday. They pay only a fraction of their time working with the camera.
Most of the time, they sit in front of computers executing business-related work such as planning, accounting, administration, and marketing.
They either develop photographs independently in a darkroom or get the films processed via specialised photographic processors.
A photographer may need to work odd hours to accommodate clients' requirements. Those on an overseas shoot must carry heavy equipment from one location to another.
Many modern photographers work with advanced technology-based electronic digital cameras and high-end gears and accessories for photo development.
A photographer works in the following settings:
In photography studios/ photography vendors/ photographic services providers
Outside at events
At home (for the publishing of magazines, books, and newspapers)
In news and media agencies for television broadcasting
Overseas travel assignments
In front of a computer for a prolonged period carrying out administration, advertising, and post-production work.
Nature of Employment
A career in photography offers alluring flexibility with several opportunities for both part-time and full-time work.
Considering that only half of the nation's population is engaged in full-time work, the career is well-suited for professionals looking for flexible work conditions in a creative industry.
10. Employment Opportunities For A Photographer In Australia
From weddings to battles, photographers document significant events in our lives. This is a fabulous career that presents umpteen opportunities to work and grow.
Familiar places to find photography jobs in Australia are:
Newspapers and magazine agencies as photojournalists
Graphic design studios
Retail, manufacturing, and service companies
Freelance/ self-employed photographers are in high demand for cultural events, weddings, real estate/property shooting, or travel publications.
Areas of Specialisation
The industry offers ample scope of specialisation for photographers to grow and expand their skill set continuously.
They can choose from any of the following fields of specialisation:
Still Photographer / On-Set Photographer
Real Estate Photographer
11. How Much Can You Earn As A Photographer In Australia?
The earnings of a photographer depending on their qualification, abilities, and experience.
In Australia, the average hourly earnings for a Photographer are AU$29 or an equivalent of 50,800 AUD per year.
Their salaries range between 23,900 AUD (minimum) and 80,200 AUD (maximum).
Approx. Annual Earnings Based on Experience
Less than two years - 27,500 AUD
2 to 5 years - 38,000 AUD
5 to 10 years - 54,000 AUD
10 – 15 years - 65,900 AUD
15 to 20 years - 69,500 AUD
More than 20 years - 75,700 AUD per year
Approx. Annual Earnings Based on Education
Like in any industry, higher education equates to a bigger salary in the photography industry.
A high school qualification holder - 34,000 AUD
A relevant Diploma or Certificate holder - 39,600 AUD (17% more than a high school degree)
A bachelor's degree holder - 57,700 AUD (45% more than a Certificate or Diploma holder)
A master's degree holder - (31% more than a bachelor's degree holder)
Approx. Earnings in Australia Based on Role
Freelance Photographer Salary - $57.80 per hour
Photographers Assistant Salary - $24.17 per hour
Wedding Photographer Salary: AU$50.00 per hour
Full-time Portrait Photographer Salary - $60,000 per year
Fashion Photographer Salary: $44,099 per year
Approx. Hourly Earnings in Australia Based on City
Below is the list of the top-paying Australian cities (in ascending order) for photography occupations:
Brisbane, Queensland - $38.47
Perth, Western Australia - $38.13
Sydney, New South Wales - $38.04
Photographer salary Melbourne, Victoria - $36.87
Gold Coast, Queensland - $32.80
Alexandria, New South Wales - $26.48
12. FAQs On Becoming A Photographer In Australia
What Are The Places To Find National Resources on Photography?
Australian Institute of Professional Photography
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
Creative Industry Skills Council
Australian Photographic Society
How To Become A Photographer At Home?
Digital photography resources and online help articles make it easy to gain photography knowledge.
You can find numerous YouTube tutorials, photography forums, websites, and e-books to learn the basics of photography and bring the knowledge into practice.
Also, many nationally accredited training institutes conduct online photography learning courses that can help you become a professional photographer from home.
Here are the steps to get started in photography:
Find your niche and what type of photographer you want to become
Start by playing around with a camera and familiarise yourself with it.
Explore the different functions and settings of a camera
Try capturing photos under varying lighting systems and conditions.
Practice different photography techniques such as High-Speed Photography, Motion Blur, Night Photography, Monochromatic Colour Photography, Black and White Photography, and more
Learn to use online photo editing software to edit your photos.
Take several photos using different settings/functions/ lighting systems/settings to get good hands-on practice. Practice will help you develop new skills, achieve perfection, and build confidence.
Create an impressive online portfolio demonstrating your photography skills and upload it on your website and online job portals.
Build your network and contact studios or businesses to get entry-level work in the industry.
Keep applying for jobs and stay persistent!
What Basic Gears Must Have You To Become A Photographer?
A dedicated camera with interchangeable lenses
Lens: They are essential as they determine the type of images you can capture
For everyday shooting, pick a standard zoom lens like an 18-55mm or 24-70mm. A prime lens (without zoom feature) for portrait photography at 85mm, 50mm, or 35mm.
For sports, choose a telephoto lens.
For macro photography, buy a dedicated macro lens.
Post-processing software such as Adobe Lightroom, Adobe and Photoshop.
The shoulder bag is appropriate for street photography, while a rolling suitcase is perfect for studio photography. A technical hiking backpack will be the right choice if you want to capture landscape photographs.
Large-sized Polarising filter for landscape photography
Computer monitor and a colour calibration device to edit your photos
Microfiber cloth to clean the lens and camera sensor.
Other photography accessories include flashes, remote shutter releases, GPS attachments, spare batteries, and printers.
How To Become A Photographer With No Experience?
Here is how you can become and work as a photographer in Australia without experience:
Step 1: Acquire Photography Skills
In this technological era, you can find loads of reading material online to develop new skills. Alternatively, you can attend workshops or take face-to-face guidance from a qualified photographer.
This way, you won't just learn but also build connections.
Step 2: Find A Guide
It may be tough to venture into a competitive industry without any experience. In such a case, the assistance of a mentor with a good amount of industrial experience in photography can prove beneficial.
A mentor would help you with networking opportunities and teach you how to apply photography in real life.
Step 3: Determine Your Niche
Finding your niche will ensure you maintain the general concept of photography. Compare your interests with different types of photography and choose the one you like the most.
Step 4: Invest In A Suitable Photography Equipment
You must research and understand the equipment to capture photos within your niche.
Start with mediocre-type equipment that is within your buying capacity, like a smartphone camera. Once you become skilled, you can invest in advanced equipment and accessories.
Step 5: Build an Online Work Portfolio
Associate with business brands or local models and work for them for free. You can use those works to create an impressive portfolio to show your talent to prospective employers.
Be open to unbiased feedback on the areas of improvement.
Step 6: Apply For Jobs
Join seminars, training workshops, and events to stay updated on vacancies. Keep applying on job portals, photo studios, media agencies, and other places to find your first job opportunity.
How To Become A Photographer Without A Degree?
You need not have an educational background to begin your photography career.
More than education, you need to have an enthusiasm for photography, commitment, and a hardworking attitude to succeed in the photography industry.
Many companies look for these attributes as they offer informal training to their employees.
Here Is a 5-Step Guide To Become A Photographer Without Attending A Photography School:
Useful Links to Explore: