Which companies hire photographers?

How do I become a photographer?

Do you have a good eye for detail and do you love to work creatively? Would you like to become a photographer? Then there are several options open to you to take on your dream job. On the one hand, photo schools or photo academies train you to become a photographer or photo designer in 3 years. On the other hand, you can complete an academic course at a private or state university in 6 to 8 semesters of standard study time. In order to get hold of one of the popular study places, you need to convince with your artistic talent in the form of a portfolio when applying. To do this, you put together various photos, drawings and drafts. With a master’s degree, you then have the option of expanding your knowledge in the field of photography. You then work as an employee, but mostly as a freelancer in your own studio or for various companies.

What does everyday work look like?

The working days of a photographer are usually quite varied. In the following, we present a daily routine for an advertising photographer for whom the realization of a shoe catalog for the autumn / winter season is due.

8:00 a.m.

Since you start taking photos in a vineyard, you and your assistant Nadine load the necessary equipment into the rented van and you are on your way.

8:40 a.m.

When you arrive at the location, the rest of the team is waiting for you - including the booked model Vanessa. You set up the equipment and concentrate on the first setting. The focus is on the model moving towards you between grapevines.

9:30 a.m.

After final arrangements you can start with the recordings. Again and again you give Vanessa short instructions on how she should move or which poses she should perform. Your assistant Nadine checks the photos directly on set with the help of a connected PC. You make a preselection and name the pictures appropriately.

11:30 a.m.

Now the focus is solely on the shoes photographed with the model. So that the photos can appear on the same page in the catalog, you use the same location for the recordings. You arrange the first pair on an old wine barrel so that it fits well into the format and looks appealing. While you are working, Nadine supports you in the optimal illumination of the subject.

13:00 'O clock

There is a small lunch break in which you not only have a few small things to eat, but also talk about the next position.

1:30 p.m.

You pack your equipment and drive to the next location - a winery. An old large wooden gate, which is bordered by grapevines, forms a perfect background for the model and the boots she is wearing. You photograph several settings.

2:30 p.m.

Suddenly the weather changes and the sky closes. As the catalog deadline is getting closer, you have to get through all the planned recordings for today - the time pressure is growing. You quickly position the next pair of shoes on an old bench and drape a plaid blanket over them.

4 p.m.

Fortunately, the sun comes out again, so that you can take the last pictures as desired. This time in the adjoining garden.


Back in the office you go through the first pictures and choose the best. You plan to edit the photos for tomorrow.

7:00 p.m.

After a long and intensive day at work, you finally go home.


  • Mittelreife or Allgemeine Hochschulreife
  • Passion for photography & a feeling for aesthetics
  • Attention to detail
  • Assertiveness & resilience
  • Teamwork
  • Diligence & patience

What does a photographer do?

One of the most important tasks of a photographer is taking pictures. You decide which motifs you want to photograph, among other things with your specialization. For example, if you want to become a portrait or wedding photographer, your focus is primarily on people. Commercial photographers often have products in front of their lenses. As an art or documentary photographer in particular, there are almost no restrictions. Here you capture both people and events, landscapes and objects in pictures. Before you start, you prepare the set. This not only includes your equipment such as a tripod or a separate flash, but also decorative elements. In action, you know exactly with which camera and which lens you can optimally stage the respective main actor. An important factor here is the lighting, which you use to evoke the desired intention in your picture.
Taking photos is not enough as a photographer, because in the second step you give the photos the finishing touches. After a job, you first look through all of the material and choose the best shots. This may already be done together with your customer on the set. Once the corresponding images have been determined, you can start editing the photos. In the digital age, this is done with the help of an image processing program on the computer. Among other things, you take a look at the color, the contrast and the sharpness of the image. You can also retouch unsightly areas if necessary. Then you print out the photos or send them digitally to the customer.
If you take your photos with an analog camera, you may develop your photos yourself in a specially set up photo laboratory. In addition to special equipment such as a developer tank, water basin or measuring beakers, you also need various chemicals such as developers and fixers. This type of development gives you the opportunity to work more individually and to generally achieve a higher quality than in the large laboratories.
The planning and implementation of a photo shoot or a photo trip also comes up to you as a photographer. This includes, for example, researching suitable locations, possibly inquiring about models and make-up artists as well as obtaining cost estimates. Once the decision has been made for a specific location, you make the corresponding bookings for the location and possibly the models, flights and hotels. On the day of the shoot, you finally take care of the smooth process.
In particular, in the areas of portrait, wedding and advertising photography, customer advice comes to you. You prepare accordingly for the preliminary talk and work out your own ideas. In the customer meeting, you go into the client, inquire about their individual ideas and work out the procedure or implementation together with them.
In most areas of photography, the payment of usage rights is declining - to the detriment of photographers and photojournalists. These usually receive a one-off payment for the recordings from the client. Nevertheless, you should try to grant the customer only a simple right of use for every order, that is, to limit the scope and duration of use. This gives you the opportunity to use the photo yourself. For example, if the client wants to use the picture for a longer period of time, you can ask for money again. When calculating the rights of use, in addition to the scope and duration, for example, it also depends on whether the photo was produced for regional or national use.
Especially as a young and still unknown photographer, it is important to present yourself and your work to a broader public in order to receive your first orders. Nowadays you can achieve this mainly through the various social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram or on your own website. The word-of-mouth propaganda should not be underestimated. If customers were satisfied with you, they might recommend you to their friends and acquaintances.
The job of a photographer is not only characterized by creativity, but also includes normal administrative tasks such as answering emails from customers, making appointments for location visits or creating invoices after a shoot.

What are the job prospects?

The photographer's profession is very popular. As a result, you not only have to assert yourself against many other applicants when applying for an apprenticeship or study place, but also later in your job. In addition, there are now many self-taught people who accept jobs for less money. Therefore, the job prospects are to be classified as difficult. So that you can better survive in the market, it helps you to specialize in certain areas at an early stage and to optimize your skills here - for example in advertising or fashion photography.

What qualities should I have?

    What specializations are there?

    A tasty burger, the trend jacket of the year or a new perfume: advertising photographers skillfully focus on the relevant food, clothing or cosmetics and try to win over as many potential customers as possible. This means that the photos created should specifically encourage people to buy. You not only photograph products, but also advertise special services or companies with your pictures. If you would like to go in this direction professionally, you will usually work permanently in or freelance for advertising agencies.
    Fashion photography is a related branch of advertising photography. As the name suggests, fashion is also the focus here, mostly for advertising purposes. The images appear in fashion catalogs, exclusive fashion magazines or form the basis for poster advertising. Over time, this form of photography has acquired an artistic character. So nowadays, numerous fashion photographs can be found in museums or galleries. As a fashion photographer, you are usually self-employed and work for various magazines or clothing companies. If you want to gain a foothold in this area, it is worthwhile for you to gain international experience in the fashion capitals of the world.
    In contrast to advertising or fashion photography, documentary photography does not want to create posed photos, but rather to depict reality as a contemporary document. The pictures are often peppered with a good dose of social criticism. Of course, this is always done from the perspective of the respective photographer. As a documentary photographer, which also includes the photojournalist and the war photographer, you work for publishers or press agencies, for example. The works can also be admired more often in exhibitions, which is why documentary photography is closely linked to artistic photography.
    Are you artistically gifted and like to give your pictures a deeper political, socially critical or emotional meaning? Then you have the opportunity to get started as an artistic photographer on an independent basis. In this case, you use your photos to create art that, ideally, you can exhibit in museums or galleries and possibly sell. There are now even online galleries that offer photo art. In a broad sense, artistic photography also includes fashion, documentary and landscape photography.


    • Creative activity
    • Opportunity to work internationally
    • Diverse specializations

    Did you already know, that ...

    • ... the word camera is derived from the Latin term "camera obscura" and means something like "dark chamber"?
    • ... the oldest surviving photograph dates from 1826?
    • ... photographers in left and right regimes often had to manipulate images for propaganda purposes or to cover up certain events?
    • ... the word photography comes from ancient Greek and translates as "drawing with light"?
    • ... the image processing was done on the negatives or the photos themselves with airbrush, brushes and special paint before digital photography?

    These celebrities are also photographers

    Annie Leibovitz

    Leibovitz is one of the most famous photographers in the world. Her studies in photography and painting should first prepare her for the profession of art teacher. But the photo portfolio submitted to Rolling Stone magazine thwarted their initial plans. As a photographer, she started out in the music scene and can still look back on a number of famous personalities in front of her lens today - for example the Rolling Stones, Yoko Ono and John Lennon as well as Whoopi Goldberg. (Photo: Robert Scoble from Half Moon Bay, USA)