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Career profile Photography Technician

Also known as Digital Printer Operator, Film Processor, Film Technician, Lab Technician, Photo Lab Specialist, Photo Lab Technician (Photographic Laboratory Technician), Photo Printer, Photo Specialist, Photo Technician

Photography Technician

Also known as Digital Printer Operator, Film Processor, Film Technician

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Realistic
  • Artistic
Pay Range
$23,850 - $61,950 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Production and Processing
Core tasks
  • Select digital images for printing, specify number of images to be printed, and direct to printer, using computer software.
  • Create prints according to customer specifications and laboratory protocols.
  • Produce color or black-and-white photographs, negatives, or slides, applying standard photographic reproduction techniques and procedures.
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What does a Photography Technician do?

Photography Technicians perform work involved in developing and processing photographic images from film or digital media.

In addition, Photography Technicians may perform precision tasks such as editing photographic negatives and prints.

What kind of tasks does a Photography Technician perform regularly?

Photography Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Select digital images for printing, specify number of images to be printed, and direct to printer, using computer software.
  • Create prints according to customer specifications and laboratory protocols.
  • Produce color or black-and-white photographs, negatives, or slides, applying standard photographic reproduction techniques and procedures.
  • Set or adjust machine controls, according to specifications, type of operation, or material requirements.
  • Review computer-processed digital images for quality.
  • Operate scanners or related computer equipment to digitize negatives, photographic prints, or other images.
  • Fill tanks of processing machines with solutions such as developer, dyes, stop-baths, fixers, bleaches, or washes.
  • Measure and mix chemicals to prepare solutions for processing, according to formulas.
  • Load digital images onto computers directly from cameras or from storage devices, such as flash memory cards or universal serial bus (USB) devices.
  • Operate special equipment to perform tasks such as transferring film to videotape or producing photographic enlargements.
  • Read work orders to determine required processes, techniques, materials, or equipment.
  • Examine developed prints for defects, such as broken lines, spots, or blurs.
  • Load circuit boards, racks or rolls of film, negatives, or printing paper into processing or printing machines.
  • Reprint originals for enlargement or in sections to be pieced together.
  • Clean or maintain photoprocessing or darkroom equipment, using ultrasonic equipment or cleaning and rinsing solutions.
  • Insert processed negatives and prints into envelopes for delivery to customers.
  • Monitor equipment operation to detect malfunctions.
  • Maintain records, such as quantities or types of processing completed, materials used, or customer charges.

The above responsibilities are specific to Photography Technicians. More generally, Photography Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

What is a Photography Technician salary?

The median salary for a Photography Technician is $34,720, and the average salary is $39,390. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Photography Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Photography Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Photography Technicians earn less than $23,850 per year, 25% earn less than $28,140, 75% earn less than $47,870, and 90% earn less than $61,950.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Photography Technicians is expected to change by -8.6%, and there should be roughly 1,300 open positions for Photography Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$34,720
Typical salary range
$23,850 - $61,950
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-8.6%

What personality traits are common among Photography Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Photography Technician are usually higher in their Conventional and Realistic interests.

Photography Technicians typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Photography Technicians typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Photography Technician tend to value Independence, Support, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Photography Technicians moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Photography Technicians moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Photography Technicians moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Photography Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, self-control, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Photography Technicians, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Photography Technicians need?

Working as a Photography Technician usually requires a high school diploma.

Photography Technicians need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Photography Technicians

  • 4.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 18.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 20.2% completed some college coursework
  • 8.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 39.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 8.3% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.0% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Photography Technicians

Photography Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, computers and electronics, or production and processing knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Photography Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Chemistry
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Important Abilities needed by Photography Technicians

Photography Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Photography Technicians need abilities such as near vision, visual color discrimination, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Photography Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Visual Color Discrimination
The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Critical Skills needed by Photography Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Photography Technicians frequently use skills like operations monitoring, quality control analysis, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Photography Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Quality Control Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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