Fashion Photographer Job Profile

Fashion photographers are employed by catalogs, magazines, Web sites, and fashion houses to conceptualize, shoot, develop, and print still photos and/or videos to show off clothes and accessories in a creative manner that catches the eye of consumers. Professional fashion photographers must have a good eye for style and beauty and be skilled at working with models to achieve the best possible poses and photos. In addition to taking pictures, photographers may also be responsible for scouting locations and hiring models and personnel for the photo shoot

Salary Range:

Earnings potential up to $100,000+ Top level pay for experienced fashion photographers is around $50,000, but those who are able to establish themselves as brand names - like Herb Ritts or Annie Liebowitz - can make upwards of $250,000 annually.


Employment of photographers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations, according to the US Dept of Labor. Salaried jobs in particular may be more difficult to find as more companies contract with freelancers rather than hire their own photographers. Competition for jobs in magazine and commercial photography is stiff, and aspiring fashion photographers may outnumber the available assignments. However, increased use of the Internet may spur further growth in fashion photography, as Web sites look to continuously refresh their content. Starting as an assistant or an apprentice is one way to get a foot in the door. With experience comes more opportunity, and those who can develop a solid portfolio (body of work) may attain full-time staff positions or set up their own studios and work with more exclusive or well-known fashion clients.


A degree in Photography or Art is not required but is very helpful for getting the first job and making contacts. Knowledge of or coursework in fashion design and merchandising is also a plus.


A portfolio of previous work that demonstrates skill, imagination, and personal style is required. Internships, apprenticeships, and other on-the-job training is essential.

Personal Characteristics/Skills:

Artistic and creative expression; thorough knowledge of the technical and aesthetic aspects of photography, including camera operations, lighting, composition, darkroom procedures, and special characteristics of films and paper; good business and networking skills; solid interpersonal skills to communicate with models and convey your ideas; ability to promote oneself; knowledge of trends in both photography and fashion industry.

Career Path:

  • Photographer’s Assistant
  • Staff/Freelance Photographer
  • Photo Editor
  • Director of Photography

Also called:

  • Photographer
  • Catalogue Photographer
  • Magazine Photographer