The schedule of a photographer entirely depends on the type of photography that he specializes in and whether or not he is officially employed.
But, on average, how many hours do photographers work? Usually, these guys work 40 or more hours per week (just like most of us do). But there’s a twist. Some photographers might have a Monday to Friday schedule and work 8 hours per day. While others (wedding photographers, for example) will be working all these 40+ hours throughout one weekend.
If you want to become a photographer, because you assumed that it is an easy job that doesn’t require a lot of work – think again. Your passion will surely be occupying your thoughts 24/7. And the actual working process can sometimes require the whole day. After all, some photographers are ready to wait for the perfect animal shot for weeks…
Typical Day of a Photographer
When it comes to figuring out what photographers do on a daily basis it, once again, it depends on the type of photography that they have chosen.
If you are a freelancer and don’t have an agent that does the research for you, then you would have to spend a significant chunk of your day on advertising. Especially the photographers that are just starting. They admit that running their social profiles and websites, as well as commenting and responding to clients requires a lot of time. Usually, at least 2-3 hours per day.
Moreover, if you are the type of photographer who works with people (for example, portrait, wedding), you would certainly have to spend some time on meeting with the client before the actual photoshoot. A great photographer would want to get to know the client better before starting the gig.
Figure out if he or she has some ‘bad’ and ‘good’ sides. Ask what the client prefers and what he doesn’t want to see in the pictures… Every photographer that works with people is also a part-time psychologist.
What does a photographer do on a typical day, when it comes to the actual shooting process?
Well, no matter what type of photography you decide to choose, the chances are high that you would have to carry around a lot of bulky and heavy equipment. And if you want the job to be done well, a camera alone is just not enough.
Of course, studio photographers don’t have to do this weightlifting, but a part of their day is still dedicated to setting the scene and moving the light around. It certainly does help a photographer in his profession, if he is in good physical shape.
So, you have finished shooting the client/an epic sunset/an event, but that is not where the job of a typical photographer ends. This is where photo editing kicks in.
By the way, the majority of photographers confess that editing usually takes as much time as the shooting itself. And sometimes – even longer! You might be working on your computer for days. That’s why it is essential to invest in a great editing program. Moreover, even though it is considered that a photographer is more of a ‘creative’ kind of job, true professionals have to have exceptional computer knowledge.
A Photographer’s Working Conditions
What are the working conditions for a photographer?
Well, no matter what type of photography you specialize in, you have to be ready to work in any weather conditions. Even portrait photographers have to sometimes work in the middle of the pouring rain. But the reward might turn out to be priceless – usually, the most epic shots are created in such conditions.
Something as simple as an eating schedule might be irregular if you choose to be a photographer. Sometimes you would have to go a whole day without having a bite.
Perhaps, news photographers are the ones that have to face the most severe conditions. They work under very strict deadlines and sometimes in the most dangerous places of our planet. There can be threats to a photographer’s life if he needs to cover a natural disaster or an armed conflict.
We shouldn’t forget that a lot of photographers travel to distant places. If you are an independent photographer, the chances are high that you will be living in the most modest conditions, waiting for the perfect opportunity to take an unbelievable shot that will win various rewards.
Travel photographers might have to walk for miles and miles with a lot of equipment to get to a secret destination.
Commercial and news photographers usually spend long hours waiting for a particular event to happen. Even fashion and street style photographers can face all these difficulties.
The conditions certainly vary a lot. But if you want to become a professional photographer, you have to not only be in a great physical form but also be incredibly patient and undemanding to the conditions that you work in.
How Much Money Can a Photographer Earn?
This part entirely depends on which type of photography you specialize in. Indeed, the louder your name is and the longer you are in the business, the more you are paid. Typically, fashion photographers, war photographers, and wedding photographers are at the top of the earnings list.
By the way, there are different types of payments. You might be paid either for working hours or per shots. On average, a photographer’s working hour costs $15 in the United States. Some photographers manage to get around a hundred bucks for one single shot. But they might have spent a few days to capture that perfect image.
If you are a photographer whose works can be bought from an art gallery, then an image can be potentially sold to an art lover for thousands of dollars. There are cases when artworks were sold for millions of dollars on auctions. In November 2011, for example, Andreas Gursky’s Rhein II 1999 was sold for over 4 million dollars.
Indeed, if you are a photographer who works for a company, then you will be getting a salary. Independent photographers are more flexible when it comes to not only their working hours but also the size of their earnings. But you have to remember that the salary of a freelance photographer entirely depends on himself.
Whether or not you will be able to find enough clients – it’s all up to you.
What is the average salary for a photographer?
We have already figured out that it depends on a lot of factors. But a typical photographer salary in the United States is a little more than $43 thousand.
Especially the photographers that are just starting to choose to make photography their second job. It is up to you whether you want to pick this path or go all in at once.
Certainly, a professional photographer does not spend everything that he earns on a dream vacation or an expensive watch. It is wiser to choose to invest in your passion.
- The equipment is undoubtedly the number one priority when it comes to spending your money. Buying a better camera, a couple of new lenses or lights… Depending on whether you are a studio or a wildlife photographer, the ‘shopping list’ will vary. While the photographers that work outside can easily find a beautiful natural background, studio photographers have to invest not only into the camera gear but also into making sure that they can set different scenes in their studio, depending on the client’s wishes.
- A great editing program for your computer is a must. As well as a high-quality computer. Nowadays, a photographer can’t exist without outstanding editing skills. Make sure to do your research and invest in the photo editing program that you liked most (yes, these things may cost you a few hundred dollars).
- A lot of photographers choose to spend a lot on advertising. Whether it’s social media or pop-ups on different websites. These are the type of expenses that are required monthly.
- Your portfolio. One of the first things that a photographer has to invest his time and money is in creating the perfect portfolio. It can be a beautiful personal website with a page dedicated to your works. Or it might be a tangible album that your clients can flick through. Your portfolio is something that you should certainly invest in.
We have figured out what photographers do on a daily basis, how much they earn and what conditions they work in.
It is a widespread misconception that being a photographer is easy. You now know that this job requires not only a lot of dedication but also patience, physical activity, and stamina.
Unfortunately, all your effort is not always valued and well-paid. After reading this article, if you feel like being a photographer is your true destiny, then yes go for it.
And who knows?
Maybe one day a photo taken by you will be sold on the Christie’s auction for millions of dollars!