Portrait Photographer

Use a camera to capture the look of individuals, families, or groups.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$17,000 – $63,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Portrait Photographers do?

Portrait Photographers are paid to photograph individuals and groups. Traditionally this is done in a still position where your subject is not moving, but today all sorts of running and jumping and laughter is encouraged. A Portrait Photographer’s work captures the mood and likeness of a personage, as well as the feel of their setting if it is a special occasion.

As a Portrait Photographer, you need a general familiarity with all photographic techniques however you will rely most heavily on your positioning of lighting. This is because in portraiture you want to clearly depict the featured personages, so a lot of your technique will be focused on accenting and emphasizing the body and face. Lighting is your biggest aid in this endeavor.

It’s common for you to specialize in certain events, such as weddings, religious ceremonies, or family portraits. If you operate a studio on the more expensive side, you probably develop, mount, and frame your own pictures. So a strong background in photographic development will be necessary.

If you stay in this industry for a while, you most likely will own and operate your own studio. This means that your the artistic duties are only half your work. As a Small Business Owner you also have to take care of all the billing, advertising, and financial planning that all small businesses require.

Should I be a Portrait Photographer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • Also known as: Portrait Photographer Apprentice, Portrait Studio Photographer, School Portrait Photographer

    How to become a Portrait Photographer

    Most Portrait 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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