What Does a Studio Photographer Do?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 February 2020
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Various types of photographers exist to cover a wide variety of needs; one such professional is the studio photographer, who is tasked with creating high-quality photos of subjects within a studio space. This studio is usually equipped with various types of lights and strobes, as well as other equipment applicable to the job of the studio photographer. Many photographers work both in and out of the studio, though others may work exclusively in the studio because it is a controlled environment in which bulky or heavy equipment can be used without the need for transporting to an off-site location.

A studio photographer may work for a company or he or she may work independently. The requirements generally include a working knowledge of photography techniques, which can be gained from a formal education or an informal one, as well as access to a functioning studio. The studio itself can range in functionality, size, and even color, though most studios will be large enough to accommodate various types of photos shoots. Sometimes the studio photographer must take photos of more than one person, or even large objects such as automobiles or motorcycles, which means the space must accommodate such applications. Modular backdrop systems are often included in studio spaces as well, though some photographers prefer permanent backgrounds in the form of painted walls, brick walls, or other stationary surfaces.


One of the most important duties of a studio photographer is knowing how to manipulate various light sources to create attractive and/or dramatic photographs. The photographer may work with constant lights that remain on or off with the flick of a switch, though the majority of photographers use strobe lights that activate only while the photo is being taken. Such strobes or flashes can be camera-mounted, though most studio photographers will use strobes and flashes mounted on light stands that can be moved around a subject. The lights must then be triggered using cables or wireless triggers.

The studio photographer must also be able to help a model get into various positions in preparation for photos and make adjustments during the shoot as necessary. This means the photographer must usually be personable, friendly, knowledgeable, and patient. He or she will control every aspect of the shoot, which means the quality of the finished photos will depend solely on that photographer's skills, abilities, and preparation. Once the shots are taken, it is likely that the photographer will then be responsible for uploading digital images to a computer for processing, or developing film to create prints.


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