Photographic Technician

Job Description:

Photographic technicians help photographers and produce images from digital files.

Job Category:
Culture, Media & Sport

What you will do:

Typically you could

  • transfer image files into a desktop publishing application
  • edit and adjust for good picture quality
  • print images onto photographic paper, canvas or other materials
  • quality check prints
  • deal with customers, give advice and take payments
  • help photographers during photo shoots
  • check and maintain equipment like cameras and printers



You’ll need:

  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work on your own
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a photographic technician, there are no specific subjects that are mandatory, as it is a field that involves technical and practical skills related to photography and equipment maintenance. However, certain subjects and skills can be advantageous for pursuing a career as a photographic technician:

  1. Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are important for understanding and working with various aspects of photography, such as exposure settings, calculations for lighting, and equipment maintenance.
  2. Science: A good foundation in science, especially physics and chemistry, can be helpful for understanding the principles of optics, light, and chemical processes involved in photography.
  3. Design and Technology: This subject can provide practical skills and knowledge related to equipment maintenance and repair, which is a crucial aspect of being a photographic technician.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Familiarity with computers, software, and digital imaging is essential in the modern photography industry.
  5. Art and Design: While not mandatory, art and design can help you develop an appreciation for visual aesthetics, composition, and creativity, which can be useful in photographic editing and post-production.
  6. Media Studies or Film Studies: These subjects can provide insights into the history and techniques of photography, as well as film and media production.
  7. Photography: Some schools offer photography courses, which can be a great way to gain foundational knowledge about photography techniques and equipment.
  8. English: Good communication skills, both written and verbal, are important for documenting equipment maintenance procedures and communicating with photographers and other team members.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in photography or digital imaging.


In professional labs, archive stores and picture libraries, you’ll usually need formal qualifications in photography.

In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Diploma in Photography and Graphics
  • Photography
  • Art and Design (photography option)
  • Diploma in Photography


You can get into this job through a photographic assistant advanced apprenticeship, following the photographic technician pathway.

This typically takes 18 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and off-the-job study.

Direct Application

You could apply directly to work as a photographic technician. For work in high street mini-labs, you’ll need basic computer skills and an interest in photography. You don’t always need formal qualifications, but some employers may prefer it.

For print finishing, you’ll usually need practical skills in woodworking and picture framing.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 39-41 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends on shifts.

You could work at a store or in a creative studio.

Your working environment may be physically demanding.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

You could work in specialist photographic processing work with organisations like the Police, hospitals or University photography labs.

With experience, you could move into management.

You could also choose to start your own photographic business or open a franchise to run a mini-lab.