Resume Template: Photographer

by | Resume Templates, Resume Templates: Creative

Impressive phone cameras – they’ve got three lenses now, a portrait option, and did we mention it’s all high resolution?

So will professional photographers become obsolete?

Not even close.

A real photographer is more than just a fancy camera – you’ve got to have a vast range of technical and creative skills that all play a role in creating stunning photos.

Not to mention all of the work you do in post after taking the photos, that most people don’t even realize takes place.

And no, we’re not talking about Instagram filters.
It takes an exceptional person to combine the artistic vision and commitment necessary to become a professional photographer.

Now, how to describe all of your skills in just the right way to land the gig?

That is a separate skill that we are prepared to help you with.

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a sample photographer resume to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best photographer resume you possibly can.

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Photographer Resume (Text Version)

Contact Info:

Jake Dexter
JDexter@email.com
1 (503) 555-0055
Seattle, WA
DexterImages.com
Instagram: @DexterImages

Summary Statement:

Photographer: Stylistic photographer with 15 years’ experience in the fashion and advertising industry. Expert at communicating brand and image via lighting, design and angle of photos. Started own business after gaining 1 Million followers on Instagram.

Skills:

  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • Genbook
  • WordPress
  • Microsoft Access
  • Adobe Creative Cloud/Illustrator/Photoshop
  • SmugMug
  • FaceTune
  • Adobe After Effect
  • Apple Final Cut Pro

Professional Experience:

DexterImages | Owener/Head Photographer
Denver, CO | April 2008 – Present

  • Coordinate 10+ project shooting schedules with a team of 3 photographers
  • Create and implement a streamlined process for booking clients, providing invoices and creating quotes
  • Build relationships with community leaders to provide photos to publications on breaking stories
  • Onboard and mentor a team of 3 photographers, 1 graphic designer and 1 sales professional

Denver Daily | Staff Photographer
Denver, CO | June 2007 – March 2008

  • Researched and developed news stories utilizing local contacts, social media and online resources
  • Conducted on site interviews with eyewitnesses in high pressure situations
  • Cultivated relationships with community organizations & officials to gain access to top story information
  • Produced and hosted numerous 10 minute on air segments on political and crime stories

Your Event Fairytale | Assistant Photographer
Denver, CO | August 2005 – March 2007

  • Assisted photographers in capturing the perfect moments for clients at large events
  • Provided lighting to photographer when needed
  • Maintained the setup and break down of all equipment while on site
  • Demonstrated excellent problem solving in inclement weather and unforeseen circumstances

Education/Certifications

Bachelor of Arts in Photography
Academy of Photography, Denver, CO
Class of 2005

Certifications

  • Forensic Photography & Imaging Certification: International Association for Identification (2007)
  • Total Body Photography Certification: Biocommunications Association,INC.- Board of Registry (2009)
  • Adobe Photoshop CC: Adobe Systems Incorporated (2018)

Formatting

As a photographer, you understand the importance of visual aesthetics.

When formatting your photographer resume, your main goal is going to be selecting a layout that is going to enhance the most significant details that you want to stand out.

Using a precise format to draw the eye to key aspects is crucial when you consider that most hiring managers only spend about 6-seconds looking at individual resumes.

Luckily there are some basic “rules” to follow to help achieve this.

Listing resume items such as your work history in reverse chronological order allows for your most current and likely impressive work to appear first.

Selecting a legible font with neat spacing can assist with guiding the eye and allow your photographer resume to read smoothly.

When you list things out in bullet points, you can select particular items to separate themselves on the page.

Get creative with it, but make sure you are following an orderly template.

Start With Your Resume Summary

A good resume summary is specific, descriptive, and to the point.

To accomplish a summary that meets these specifications, you will want to narrow down your skills as a photographer to only the best.

Once you know what you want to cover, try to expand on each skill with strong and distinct keywords that set yourself apart.

Always keep in mind the kinds of skills and attributes the job you are applying to is looking for.

Yes!

Stylistic photographer with 15 years of experience in the fashion and advertising industry. Expert at communicating brand and image via lighting, design, and angle of photos. Started own business after gaining 1 million followers on Instagram.

No!

Photographer with many years of experience. Great at communicating brand and image through photos. Started own business after gaining 1 million followers on Instagram.

The “Yes!” example lends specific details and powerful descriptors to describe the candidate and their process.

The “No!” example is sparse when it comes to specifics causing the candidate to come off vague and ordinary.

PRO TIP: When describing yourself and your abilities, try to quantify and qualify details. Instead of saying that you have “many” years of experience, try saying that you have “over 15 years of success”.

Key Accomplishments/ Skills & Qualifications

After you have laid out a brief paragraph describing your talents as a photographer, you will want to include a list of qualifications and key accomplishments.

You will want to lay this out in bullet points so that your chief skills can be noticed and read at a glance.

Bullet points work well when you are trying to make your strongest selling points stand out.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • Genbook
  • WordPress
  • Microsoft Access
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • SmugMug
  • FaceTune
  • Adobe After Effect
  • Apple Final Cut Pro

When deciding what to include on this list, you should consider that there are two main types of skillsets – hard skills and soft skills.

These skills can be described as follows.

Hard skills:

  • Teachable
  • Practicable
  • Easy to Quantify
  • Technical

Soft skills:

  • Personality Traits
  • Subjective
  • Harder to Quantify
  • Innate
  • Not necessarily teachable

It is essential to have a healthy balance of both kinds of skills when working in an artistic field that requires specialized talents.

Including all of your hard skills that apply is important, particularly when the hiring manager is well versed in photo editing software.

However, soft skills are still relevant when someone wants to know about your more natural abilities, or they aren’t familiar with the technical skills involved with photography.

PRO TIP: Always include the hard and soft skills listed in the job posting whenever possible. If the post says they are looking for an “enthusiastic” photographer or someone with experience in Lightroom, both skills are important to note.

Writing Your Work Experience

Your work history will make up the bulk of your photographer resume.

Now that you’ve completed your summary, the goal of this section is to back up the abilities you claimed to have.

Just like before, when you are describing your previous work, try to explain it in a way that relates to the job you are applying to.

It is also a good idea to lay things out in reverse chronological order; typically, your most impressive work is your most recent.

While this rule is helpful, always keep in mind that if you have unrelated jobs that are more recent, they might not be the best to include.

So if you are deciding between a job you had taking school photos vs. a front desk job, you will likely want to choose the former.

Once you have decided what jobs are best to include, you will want to describe each in three to five bullet points.

When describing each job, it is important to detail it in a way that highlights your abilities and how you were instrumental in doing it well.

Yes!

DexterImages | Denver, CO | Owner/Head Photographer| April 2008 – Present

  • Coordinate 10+ project shooting schedules with a team of 3 photographers
  • Create and implement a streamlined process for booking clients, providing invoices and quotes
  • Build relationships with community leaders to provide photos to publications on breaking stories
  • Onboard and mentor a team of 3 photographers, 1 graphic designer and 1 sales professional

No!

DexterImages | Denver, CO | Owner/Head Photographer| April 2008 – Present

  • Coordinate projects and shooting schedules
  • Book clients, provide invoices and create quotes
  • Provide photos for print and digital publications on breaking stories
  • Trained other photographers, a graphic designer, and a sales professional

The first example lists out the tasks required in the position in a way that highlights the candidate’s involvement and impact on creating a productive environment.

The second example lacks specific detail and strong wording that is necessary in order to highlight the candidate instead of the job tasks.

PRO TIP: When you are having trouble finding words to describe yourself look at the job post for inspiration. Using the words they use to define the candidate they seek will make you appear to be a perfect match.

(If you lack work experience, see below for a helpful section.)

More About Bots

While in most cases, you assume you are writing your photographer resume with who is reading it in mind, sometimes your reader isn’t a who, but a what.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), or bots, are becoming more and more utilized when it comes to the hiring process.

These bots are designed to sort through resumes and weed out the “bad” ones before a hiring manager has a chance to take a look.

For a bot to consider you to have “good candidate potential,” you have to include keywords that it associates with an ideal applicant.

These keywords often correspond with what is listed in the job posting; however, it is always smart to include as many powerful descriptors as possible.

Some resume writers have suggested writing your resume in paragraphs as opposed to bullet points to pack in more keywords.

Standard bullet point format:

Denver Daily | Denver, CO | Staff Photographer | June 2007 – March 2008

  • Researched and developed news stories utilizing local contacts, social media and online resources
  • Conducted on site interviews with eyewitnesses in high pressure situations
  • Cultivated relationships with community organizations & officials to gain access to top story information
  • Produced and hosted numerous 10 minute on air segments on political and crime stories

Paragraph format:

Denver Daily | Denver, CO | Staff Photographer | June 2007 – March 2008

Researched and developed news stories utilizing local contacts, social media, and online resources, and conducted on-site interviews with eyewitnesses in high-pressure situations. Cultivated relationships with local community organizations, police departments and political officials to gain access to top story information. Produced and hosted numerous 10 minute on-air segments on political and crime stories.

A third option is to write your work history in paragraph format and then add a few bullet points below.

Denver Daily | Denver, CO | Staff Photographer | June 2007 – March 2008

Researched and developed news stories utilizing local contacts, social media, and online resources, and conducted on-site interviews with eyewitnesses in high-pressure situations. Cultivated relationships with local community organizations, police departments, and political officials to gain access to top story information. Produced and hosted numerous 10 minute on-air segments on political and crime stories.

  • Natural Lighting Workshop
  • Field Shooting Experience

At Big Interview, we recommend that you stick with bullet point format to keep your photographer resume easily scannable for a hiring manager.

You can always include as much detail and as many keywords as you would like to get past a bot.

Writing Your Education Section

Now that you have nailed your work history, it is time to move on to listing out your education.

This section is a bit more straightforward in most resumes.

You want to include the title of your degree, the school, and the year of completion.

As usual, if you have multiple degrees to include, you will want to list them, starting with the most impressive (e.g., Master’s, bachelor’s, associates).

Example:

Bachelor of Arts in Photography
Academy of Photography, Denver, CO
Class of 2005

If you have any related workshops or certifications, you will want to include them here as well.

Example:

  • Forensic Photography & Imaging Certification: International Association for Identification (2007)
  • Total Body Photography Certification: BioCommunications Association, Inc. – Board of Registry (2009)
  • Adobe Photoshop CC: Adobe Systems Incorporated (2018)

Possible Sections to Include

At this point, you have hit all of the required sections of a complete resume.

However, depending on your background, you might consider including some additional sections.

Some of the sections you could include are:

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

What if You Have no Experience?

If you are a recent graduate or are newly switching careers, this is likely the most important question you will have when writing your photographer resume.

This question is common, and it is common because the saying holds true – everyone has to start somewhere.

While having a wide range of experience is helpful in finding a job, it is still possible to rise above the crowd despite being new to the game.

The first thing you will want to do is move your education section directly below your resume summary.

Usually, if you have no work experience that pertains to photography, your education is likely to be more impressive than your work history.

You will also want to enhance your education section with any extra details that stand out.

Did you have a high GPA?

Did you graduate with any honors or awards?

Did you take any coursework that directly relates to what this job is looking for?

These details can improve this section and make it stand out more than merely listing a degree.

In some cases, your education section won’t help you much more than the simple listing of a degree, and whether or not that is the case, you will want to include additional sections.

If you have done any volunteer photography or internships, you will want those details to draw some attention.

When starting out in a creative field, it is especially common to get your start by offering services for free or at a discounted rate until you can demand a more reasonable price.

This kind of experience helps build a resume that could eventually land you a job and get you on your way to success.

Resume Points to Remember

Reference the post

When writing your photographer resume, one of the most important things to do is to refer to the job posting. When you are deciding how to describe yourself or what skills and qualifications to include, typically, the job posting will say what they are looking for.

Check yourself

Before you submit a resume, you should always review it and check for mistakes. To do a thorough job, getting a second opinion is always the best. However, if that isn’t an option, make sure you read it through aloud – you will catch more mistakes or awkward phrases this way.

Who, what, when, where, why

When you are writing a resume, it can get overwhelming trying to decide how to say things and what to include. Don’t let all the finer details distract you from the basics. Always include your name and contact information, and when listing a job, always include the company, location, when you worked there, and what your title was.

Try to Avoid

Don’t do too much

When you write a resume, it is imperative to keep it on one page. Handing in a two-page resume will appear like you did not take enough time to narrow things down, and the hiring manager isn’t going to want to sift through the details for you.

Don’t say it twice

As you come up with keywords to describe yourself as a photographer, make sure you aren’t repeating anything. Having a variety of words is excellent at getting flagged by an ATS, and it will also help you sound more competent to a hiring manager.

Know when NOT to be creative

It is important to stand out and let your artistic skills shine in a photography resume; however, there are a few things you don’t want to mess with. Don’t select a font that isn’t easy to read or is distracting, and don’t use a format that is hard to follow. Creativity is important, but a photography resume should always be a quick and coherent read.

 

Helpful Tools:

Photographer Resume Power Words

  • Administered
  • Founded
  • Adept
  • Formulated
  • Built
  • Implemented
  • Created
  • Improved
  • Consolidated
  • Initiated
  • Coordinated
  • Launched
  • Developed
  • Pioneered
  • Designed
  • Organized

Photographer Resume Skills List

Hard Skills Soft Skills
Adobe Creative Cloud Creative
WordPress Organized
Portrait Photography Collaborative
Studio Lighting Perceptive
Fashion Photography Detail Oriented