Job Family: Arts, Communications, Media, and Design Photographic Specialists
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | Marine Corps  | National Guard

Photo 1:
Photographer's assistant edits a tape.
Photo 2: Man photographs a security forces mission.

Short Description
The military uses photographs for many purposes, such as intelligence gathering and news reporting. The services operate photographic laboratories to develop the numerous photos taken by the military. Photographic specialists take and develop still color or black and white photographs.


What They Do
Photographic specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Select camera, film, and other equipment needed for assignments
  • Determine camera angles, lighting, and any special effects needed
  • Take still photos of people, events, military equipment, land areas, and other subjects
  • Develop, duplicate, or retouch film negatives, photos, or slides
  • Maintain photographic equipment
  • Transmit images via satellite, computer networks, telephone, or secure transmission systems

Helpful Attributes
Helpful school subjects include photography, chemistry, art, and mathematics. Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to recognize and arrange interesting photo subjects
  • Accuracy and attention to detail

Training Provided
Job training consists of classroom instruction, including practice in taking and developing photographs. Length of training varies depending on the specialty. Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses. Course content typically includes:
  • Photographic processing and reproduction
  • Principles of photojournalism
  • Operation and maintenance of photographic equipment

Work Environment
Photographic specialists work both indoors and outdoors while photographing their subjects. They may take photos from aircraft or ships. They process photographs in photographic laboratories on bases or aboard ships.


Civilian Counterparts
Civilian photographic specialists work for photography studios, newspapers, magazines, advertising agencies, commercial photograph developers, and large businesses. They perform duties similar to military specialists. Depending on the specialty, they may be known as photojournalists, aerial or still photographers, film developers, automatic print developers, or print controllers.

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