Music Photographer

Create images of Musicians at work in the studio.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$17,000 – $63,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Music Photographers do?

Music is as much about sight as sound. It’s full of iconic imagery, and a Music Photographer’s job is to collect, capture, and catalog it with a camera.

If you visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, for instance, you’ll see David Bowie’s painted face captured in a portrait; Michael Jackson on stage, moonwalking; Madonna doing her best “vogue” on a magazine cover; and the Beatles crossing Abbey Road on an album cover. When you’re a Music Photographer, that’s your brand of photography.

Sometimes, you do it for the Artist. Sometimes, you do it for the record company. Oftentimes, you do it for the media, including newspapers, magazines, and websites. Almost always, however, it’s an attempt at chronicling music events and personalities for consumption by fans and the general public.

Because potential images are everywhere, Music Photographers work wherever there’s music. For instance, you may work in a photo studio, taking photographs of Artists for album covers, magazine spreads, and promotional items, such as posters, programs, and press kits. Or, you may work in a recording studio, documenting the recording process with images that will be used in CD liner notes or in a retrospective about a band. Perhaps most often, however, you work on site at concert venues — stadiums, clubs, theaters, etc. — photographing live performances as a Concert Photographer, with your live-action shots being used later alongside concert reviews in magazines, on music merchandise that’s sold by the Artist, and in marketing materials created by record labels.

More than a Photographer, you’re also a Historian: Camera in hand, you keep a visual record of the world’s auditory culture.

Should I be a Music Photographer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • How to become a Music Photographer

    Most Music Photographers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9cddaa&chl=no+college+%2864%25%29|certificate+%2829%25%29|associate%27s+%284%25%29|bachelor%27s+%284%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,64,64
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