Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Photographers in San Francisco, California

If you want to be a photographer, the San Francisco, California area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 13,800 jobs for photographers in California and this is projected to grow by 15% to 15,900 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for photographers, which sees this job pool growing by about 11.5% over the next eight years. Photographers generally photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products.

Photographers earn about $17 hourly or $36,970 per year on average in California and about $14 hourly or $29,440 annually on average nationally. Earnings for photographers are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Media Technical in California and not quite as good as general Media Technical category earnings nationally. Photographers work in a variety of jobs, including: wedding photographer, photojournalist, and school photographer.

The San Francisco area is home to eighty-six schools of higher education, including twenty-four within twenty-five miles of San Francisco where you can get a degree as a photographer. The most common level of education for photographers is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be a photographer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Photographer

Photographer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, photographers photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products. They also may develop negatives and produce finished prints.

Photographers decide on desired images and picture composition, selecting and adjusting subjects, equipment, and lighting to produce desired effects. They also develop artificial light, using flashes and reflectors. Equally important, photographers have to test equipment before use to insure that it is in good working order. They are often called upon to perform maintenance tasks needed to keep equipment working properly. They are expected to use traditional or digital cameras, along with a variety of equipment such as tripods and flash attachments. Finally, photographers manipulate and enhance scanned or digital images to generate desired effects, using computers and specialized software.

Every day, photographers are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to visualize how things come together and can be organized. It is also important that they understand events and object details at a distance.

It is important for photographers to decide on and assemble equipment and required background properties, in line with subjects and conditions. They are often called upon to perform general office duties such as scheduling appointments and ordering supplies. They also adjust apertures and camera focus on the basis of a combination of factors such as lighting and film speed. They are sometimes expected to decide on project goals and equipment needs by studying assignments and consulting with clients or advertising staff. Somewhat less frequently, photographers are also expected to produce computer-readable, digital images from film, using flatbed scanners and photofinishing laboratories.

Photographers sometimes are asked to direct efforts of staff who are setting up photographic equipment. and design visual aids and charts for use in lectures or to present evidence in court. And finally, they sometimes have to test equipment before use to insure that it is in good working order.

Like many other jobs, photographers must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in San Francisco include:

  • Broadcast Technician. Set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to transmit radio and television programs. Control audio equipment to regulate volume level and quality of sound during radio and television broadcasts. Operate radio transmitter to broadcast radio and television programs.
  • Camera Operator. Operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.
  • Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
  • Dancer. Perform dances. May also sing or act.
  • Film or Videotape Editor. Edit motion picture soundtracks, film, and video.
  • Musician. Play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Photographer Training

Los Medanos College - Pittsburg, CA

Los Medanos College, 2700 East Leland Road, Pittsburg, CA 94565. Los Medanos College is a medium sized college located in Pittsburg, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,360 students. Los Medanos College has an associate's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated one student in 2008.

Holy Names University - Oakland, CA

Holy Names University, 3500 Mountain Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619-1699. Holy Names University is a small university located in Oakland, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,103 students and an admission rate of 74%. Holy Names University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated one student in 2008.

Saint Marys College of California - Moraga, CA

Saint Marys College of California, 1928 Saint Marys Road, Moraga, CA 94556. Saint Marys College of California is a small college located in Moraga, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,809 students and an admission rate of 81%. Saint Marys College of California has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated five students in 2008.

College of San Mateo - San Mateo, CA

College of San Mateo, 1700 W Hillsdale Blvd, San Mateo, CA 94402-3784. College of San Mateo is a large college located in San Mateo, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,215 students. College of San Mateo has 2 areas of study related to Photographer. They are:

  • Photography, associate's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Art/Art Studies, associate's degree.

University of California-Berkeley - Berkeley, CA

University of California-Berkeley, , Berkeley, CA 94720. University of California-Berkeley is a large university located in Berkeley, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 35,353 students and an admission rate of 23%. University of California-Berkeley has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated one and six students respectively in 2008.

Chabot College - Hayward, CA

Chabot College, 25555 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA 94545. Chabot College is a large college located in Hayward, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,299 students. Chabot College has 2 areas of study related to Photographer. They are:

  • Commercial Photography, less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated two, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Art/Art Studies, associate's degree.

Contra Costa College - San Pablo, CA

Contra Costa College, 2600 Mission Bell Dr, San Pablo, CA 94806-3195. Contra Costa College is a medium sized college located in San Pablo, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,147 students. Contra Costa College has an associate's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated one student in 2008.

City College of San Francisco - San Francisco, CA

City College of San Francisco, 50 Phelan Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112-1898. City College of San Francisco is a large college located in San Francisco, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 49,897 students. City College of San Francisco has an associate's degree program in Photography which graduated six students in 2008.

Las Positas College - Livermore, CA

Las Positas College, 3033 Collier Cyn Rd, Livermore, CA 94551-7650. Las Positas College is a medium sized college located in Livermore, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,098 students. Las Positas College has 2 areas of study related to Photographer. They are:

  • Commercial Photography, less than one year and two to four year which graduated four and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Art/Art Studies, associate's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.

Academy of Art University - San Francisco, CA

Academy of Art University, 79 New Montgomery, San Francisco, CA 94105. Academy of Art University is a large university located in San Francisco, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 13,335 students. Academy of Art University has associate's degree, bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs in Photography which graduated two, thirty-eight, and twenty-five students respectively in 2008.

Canada College - Redwood City, CA

Canada College, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd., Redwood City, CA 94061-1099. Canada College is a medium sized college located in Redwood City, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,775 students. Canada College has an associate's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated one student in 2008.

College of Marin - Kentfield, CA

College of Marin, 835 College Ave, Kentfield, CA 94904-2590. College of Marin is a medium sized college located in Kentfield, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,577 students. College of Marin has an associate's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated six students in 2008.

Dominican University of California - San Rafael, CA

Dominican University of California, 50 Acacia Ave, San Rafael, CA 94901-2298. Dominican University of California is a small university located in San Rafael, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,073 students and an admission rate of 53%. Dominican University of California has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated two students in 2008.

San Francisco Art Institute - San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94133-2299. San Francisco Art Institute is a small school located in San Francisco, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 592 students and an admission rate of 71%. San Francisco Art Institute has bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree programs in Photography which graduated zero, five, and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

College of Alameda - Alameda, CA

College of Alameda, 555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway, Alameda, CA 94501. College of Alameda is a medium sized college located in Alameda, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,576 students. College of Alameda has an associate's degree program in Art/Art Studies.

San Francisco State University - San Francisco, CA

San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132. San Francisco State University is a large university located in San Francisco, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,014 students and an admission rate of 67%. San Francisco State University has 2 areas of study related to Photographer. They are:

  • Visual and Performing Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Art/Art Studies, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated two and three students respectively in 2008.

Mills College - Oakland, CA

Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94613. Mills College is a small college located in Oakland, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,481 students and an admission rate of 55%. Mills College has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated seven and twelve students respectively in 2008.

California State University-East Bay - Hayward, CA

California State University-East Bay, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd, Hayward, CA 94542. California State University-East Bay is a large university located in Hayward, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,353 students and an admission rate of 71%. California State University-East Bay has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated two students in 2008.

Berkeley City College - Berkeley, CA

Berkeley City College, 2050 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704. Berkeley City College is a medium sized college located in Berkeley, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,000 students. Berkeley City College has an associate's degree program in Art/Art Studies.

University of San Francisco - San Francisco, CA

University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117-1080. University of San Francisco is a medium sized university located in San Francisco, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,772 students and an admission rate of 64%. University of San Francisco has a bachelor's degree program in Visual and Performing Arts.

Skyline College - San Bruno, CA

Skyline College, 3300 College Dr, San Bruno, CA 94066-1698. Skyline College is a medium sized college located in San Bruno, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,515 students. Skyline College has an associate's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated four students in 2008.

Notre Dame de Namur University - Belmont, CA

Notre Dame de Namur University, 1500 Ralston Ave, Belmont, CA 94002-1908. Notre Dame de Namur University is a small university located in Belmont, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,478 students and an admission rate of 97%. Notre Dame de Namur University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated three students in 2008.

California College of the Arts - Oakland, CA

California College of the Arts, 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618-1487. California College of the Arts is a small college located in Oakland, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,688 students. California College of the Arts has 3 areas of study related to Photographer. They are:

  • Photography, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated twenty and six students respectively in 2008.
  • Film/Video and Photographic Arts, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated eight and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Art/Art Studies, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Laney College - Oakland, CA

Laney College, 900 Fallon St, Oakland, CA 94607. Laney College is a large college located in Oakland, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 13,104 students. Laney College has 2 areas of study related to Photographer. They are:

  • Commercial Photography, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated three, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Art/Art Studies, associate's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Forensic Video Technician: Forensic video analysis is an important science that can have a significant impact on the investigation process.

For more information, see the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association website.

Certified Photographic Consultant: PMA awards the Certified Photographic Consultant (CPC) designation to individuals who successfully meet rigorous testing on photo and digital imaging technologies.

For more information, see the Photo Marketing Association International website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California photo by Optigan13

San Francisco is located in San Francisco County, California. It has a population of over 808,976, which has grown by 4.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Francisco, 180, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Francisco cost $218,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, fifty-seven new homes were built in San Francisco, up from fifty-five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in San Francisco are professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 31 minutes. More than 45.0% of San Francisco residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.4%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of San Francisco residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Gold Mountain Monastery, Golden Gate Community Church of the Nazarene and Golden Gate Lutheran Church are among the churches located in San Francisco. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the United Methodist Church.

San Francisco is home to the Pier 88 and the Prayer Book Cross as well as Helen Wills Playground and Music Concourse. Shopping malls in the area include Yerba Buena Square Shopping Center, Fox Plaza Shopping Center and Galleria At Crocker Center Shopping Center. Visitors to San Francisco can choose from Astoria Hotel, A-1 Inn Motel and Best Western Canterbury Hotel for temporary stays in the area.