What would it mean to work professionally as a photographer?

Professional photographer requirements

‘There are no formal educational requirements for professional photographers; however, many employers prefer to hire college graduates with training in photography and other areas like business and communications. These skills prove useful for photographers who are business owners as well. Bachelor’s and associate degrees in photography are offered through many colleges and universities and are often coupled with degrees in art. Many would-be photographers choose to take independent classes to further their knowledge in a particular area, like black and white photography.

With or without a degree, many photographers start out professionally as photographers’ assistants and gain experience through on-the-job training. Concurrently, they work on developing a portfolio of their best photographs, which often acts as their resume. For freelance photographers especially, an outstanding portfolio can be more important than a degree.’

Equipment needed

Camera bodies – ‘At all times, under any circumstance, you should always have at least 2 camera bodies. Not only is it important to have an extra in case one shuts down or quits working, but it’s also nice to be able to have two cameras ready with different lenses – so you are ready to capture anything at any time.’

Lenses – ‘I feel lenses are a personal choice, depending on the type of photography you will offering. Have a variety to use in many circumstances. Fast shutters are great for low light situations. Telephoto lenses are great for working event photography.’

Flash cards – ‘Most photographers are now shooting with digital cameras. Having a variety of flash cards handy is a must. I recommend having several available for each of your camera bodies. I don’t recommend buying large cards with capacity to do an entire shoot. If you have an error in your card (low chance, but you never now), you’re better off using a variety of cards for different portions of your shoot.’

Flash units and lighting options – ‘Depending on your photography specialization, you will need to have at least one on-camera flash unit, and at least one stand alone flash unit for a more controlled light source. You may also need lighting kits, including power sources, lights, softboxes, umbrellas, light stands, and reflectors.’


Cases and Storage – ‘Storage cases are very important, especially for the photographer that shoots on location. Don’t skimp on storage and cases – they will protect your investment. And if you have cases with designated spots for everything, you can take a quick inventory before closing up and leaving a location.’

Accessories – ‘Depending on the type of shooting you are doing, you may need additional items to help you perform.’

  • A tripod for shooting formal portraiture and long exposures.
  • A monopod for quick movement.
  • Filters
  • Radio slaves (Wireless Trigger)
  • Backdrops
  • Props
  • Posing tools
  • Shooting tables
  • Printers



What does a professional photographer do after a photo shoot?

‘Professionals use Photoshop to correct colours on photos, change dimensions, straighten, colour manage, print photos…’

Other sources used


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