As a photographer, your work involves capturing moments in a single frame. While you’re an expert at this magical art, when it comes to writing a photographer resume, you’d much rather just stay in your darkroom.
What you might not yet realize is that, in a way, resume writing is akin to photography. Your goal is to encapsulate your entire professional career and create a snapshot of it to show recruiters and potential employers.
The difference is that instead of modifying your shutter speed, ISO, and aperture, you’re going to fine-tune your skills and achievements until they leave hiring managers speechless. So, dust off your portfolio, adjust your white balance, and let’s dive right in!
Keep your resume one page long and include a link to your portfolio and relevant social media pages to show recruiters more information.
If you’re light on work experience, you can always focus on personal projects, volunteer work, freelancing gigs, and more.
Make sure to tailor your skills section to the role that you’re applying for and demonstrate some of your key skills throughout your resume.
You can also change which optional sections you want to include in your resume based on the job that you’re going for.
What is the Right Format to Use for a Photographer Resume?
The format of your resume is what composition is to photography. By arranging information to create a balanced structure, you’ll create a photographer resume that recruiters can easily navigate. Moreover, the right resume format can help your document pass the ATS scan.
With that in mind, there are three proven formats to choose from:
Common Resume Formats
The chronological resume format is used by the majority of candidates. It lists your professional history in reverse-chronological order, which is favored by recruiters. Such an arrangement also makes this format ATS-proof.
The functional resume format emphasizes skills over experience. It’s great for entry-level photographers, though it might run into issues with the ATS.
The combination resume format is perfect if you want to highlight your valuable skills but also have enough work-related accomplishments to support each one.
A resume layout refers to the aesthetics of your document.
What you need is a creative photographer resume that also looks clean and professional and is easy to read. Here are some tips that can help you achieve that:
Resume Layout Tips
Most recruiters skim through resumes for as little as 6–7 seconds, which is why you should keep it to one page.
Choose a clean font (e.g., Arial or Helvetica), and set its size to 10–12 pts. Increase section headings font size by 2–4 pts for visual hierarchy.
Depending on the amount of content in your photographer resume, use 1.0 or 1.15 line spacing.
Combine 1-inch margins with white space between sections for a sharp and orderly look.
What Sections Should a Photographer Resume Contain?
It goes without saying that your photographer resume should be split into sections for ease of use.
There are five must-have sections, which are:
Then, depending on circumstances, you can add some of the optional sections, such as:
But before you grab a random photographer resume Word template somewhere online to start working on your document, take a moment to consider our resume builder. It’s a specialized tool designed to do a much better job than all-purpose Word files can.
For starters, our templates are made by industry experts to conform to the highest standards and pass any ATS scan. Furthermore, you get an extensive selection of controls that allow you to modify every aspect of the template until you’ve created a document to your liking. Last but not least, you have preset blanks where you simply add your details.
In other words, you can have a finished resume in a fraction of the time it would take to build it from scratch.
Photographer Resume Contact Information
While there are sections that require a certain degree of creativity from you, your contact information section isn’t one of them. Here, you should keep it simple and accurate and include the following details:
Professional email address
(Optional) LinkedIn profile
Let’s check out an example:
+ 603 528 6526
Photographer Resume Objective or Summary
Think of your resume objective or summary as a snapshot of your professional career—a brief, impactful depiction of your most prominent achievements and abilities. Its purpose is to grab attention and attract recruiters to keep reading your photographer resume.
Both the objective and summary should be 2 to 4-sentence paragraphs at the beginning of your resume.
A resume objective is best suited for entry-level candidates, as it should emphasize the skills and motivation they possess even though they don’t have enough work experience.
A resume summary is tailored towards experienced candidates, and it should contain a couple of their most impressive accomplishments.
Photographer Resume Objective
The key to writing a strong photographer resume objective is to mention your leading skills. And if you have any experience in the field, be sure to include it in your document.
Here’s a good example:
“Passionate freelance photographer with a BA in Photography. Skilled in real estate photography and proficient in digital photography equipment. Participated in on-site photography shoots for an apartment listing, resulting in $650k in revenue for the client.”
Here’s an unimpressive resume objective where a candidate focused on what they could gain from the job instead of showing what they brought to the table:
“Motivated BA in Photography looking for my first job to apply my theoretical knowledge in practice.”
Photographer Resume Summary
An impactful resume summary should showcase your most impactful and relevant achievements.
Let’s see a good example:
“CPP-certified lead photographer with 9+ years of experience. Proficient in leading teams of photographers, editors, and technicians. Shot event photography at [previous organization], resulting in over $2.5M in sales for clients. People’s Choice Award winner, Event Photography Awards 2019.”
Here’s a poorly-written resume summary for comparison where the candidate didn’t include any substantial achievements, making their claims of experience unfounded:
“Experienced photographer with a BA degree looking to produce memorable shots and further refine my skills.”
Photographer Resume Work Experience
Your work experience section, in combination with your portfolio, can secure you an interview with a recruiter on the spot. So let’s see how to get the most out of this part of your photographer resume.
Remember that reverse-chronological order that we mentioned when talking about resume formats? You should follow it when listing your previous jobs, placing your most recent (and often most important) role first. For every position that you had, you should include the following details:
Organization and its location
Achievements and results
Now let’s see how you can make your achievements stand out:
Go for quality over quantity and include 3–5 bullet points of achievements and results per job instead of listing countless ordinary tasks and assignments.
Include numbers and percentages to quantify your work and give it perceptible value.
Use notable action verbs and power words to make this whole section more memorable.
Photographer With No Experience
No photographer is without experience whatsoever. Even if you've never worked for a professional organization, you likely have something to showcase, be it volunteer work, part-time photography gigs, personal projects, freelancing, and more.
Here’s an example of a freelance photographer resume, making the most of its work experience section:
San Diego, CA
April 2021–March 2023
Collaborated with a team of photographers to manage 3 wedding assignments simultaneously, delivering images promptly and surpassing client expectations.
Utilized Adobe Creative Suite for post-production, achieving a 100% client satisfaction rate.
Participated in a digital marketing campaign to create marketing material that resulted in a 15% sales increase for the client.
Experienced photographers often have much more to offer than just their technical prowess. You can use your work experience section to show that you’re capable of taking on more responsibility.
Let’s see that in an example:
Lead Automotive Photographer
Led a team of 7 photographers and editors to achieve a 31% increase in overall productivity.
Coordinated 70+ on-site automotive photoshoots, managing everything from logistics to models and stylists.
Developed a consistent visual style and branding for a client, resulting in a 40% increase in brand recognition.
Photographer Resume Education Section
A degree might not be as important as your portfolio or work history, but it’s still vital in depicting you as a skilled and accomplished candidate. If you have a lengthy work experience section, you should simply list your most recent degree and call it a day. However, if you’re an entry-level candidate, you can make your education section more prominent.
Here are the details to include:
The institution that issued it
Years of attendance
Notable achievements, relevant courses, projects, extracurricular activities, etc.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Bachelor of Arts in Photography
University of California, San Francisco, Ca
Relevant coursework: Studio Lighting, Commercial Photography, Fashion Photography, Digital Photography
Photographer Resume Skills
As a photographer, you likely have an extensive collection of hard, technical skills. Moreover, since you often work with other people—be they colleagues, clients, or models—you have polished soft skills, too.
But you can’t just put them on paper haphazardly and call it a day. After all, a wedding photographer resume should likely feature a different skill set than that of an architectural photographer. The trick to properly demonstrating your skills on your photographer resume is two-fold:
Your skills need to be relevant to the position that you’re applying for. So, instead of listing every ability that crosses your mind while writing your resume, you should only include those that recruiters want to see. You’ll find what those skills are by reading the job advertisement and maybe even by researching your potential employer.
You need to prove your abilities by adding measurable value to them. That means, in addition to creating a list in the skills section of your resume, you want to validate your key skills by mentioning them in connection with relevant achievements in your work experience and summary or objective sections.
Hard skills that you can add to your photographer resume include:
They can also include software skills, such as:
Soft skills, while valuable, are much harder to prove. That’s why you should only include a select few highly desired abilities, such as:
Attention to detail
Photographer Resume Optional Sections
Optional sections are a great way to enhance your photographer resume.
Adding a certification to your resume means you’re adding dependable proof of your skills. This is all the more important if you’re an entry-level candidate. If you have any certifications, put them in a standalone section by adding the name of the certification and the institution issuing it.
Awards represent recognition of excellence. They add credibility to your skills and instill trust in clients. They enhance your professional reputation and can give you a competitive edge in your job-hunting endeavors.
Similar to awards, adding publications to your photographer resume represents the validation of professionalism. It represents a great way to show that you’re recognized in the industry for your expertise, increasing your chances of getting ahead of the competition.
Additional Optional Sections to Include
There are many other optional sections that you can include in your photographer resume, depending on your experience and circumstances. Here are some of them:
Should You Submit a Cover Letter With Your Photographer Resume?
You wrote a stellar photographer resume, and your portfolio is top-notch, so why should you submit a cover letter? There are several good reasons for it:
You show diligence by going the extra mile to write another (often optional) document.
Writing a photography cover letter represents a great opportunity to talk more about your skills and experience.
You can start the letter by personally addressing the recruiter, building rapport from the get-go.
You can include a call to action at the end to increase your chances of getting contacted by recruiters.
Expert Tips for Creating a Photographer Resume
Before we start packing our gear, here are a few final tips to help you refine your photographer resume:
Your job title and skills (among other parts of your resume) act as keywords for the ATS. That’s why they should match the requirements in the job ad since the scanning software is likely set up to look for those terms.
A professional online portfolio is one of the most powerful tools in the photographer’s arsenal. However, if you’re an entry-level candidate and don’t have one already, you can include portfolio substitutes such as your Instagram or Pinterest profiles and similar.
One neat trick to perfecting your resume summary or objective is to omit personal pronouns. That can help you shift focus from yourself to what you offer to potential employers.
Submitting a soft copy of your photographer resume as a PDF file helps preserve its formatting across any device.
It’s about time we put a lens cap on our journey through crafting a professional photographer resume. As we’re approaching the final frames of our adventure, remember that a well-written resume is like a flawlessly composed image—it grabs attention, tells a story, and leaves a lasting impression.
So remember to demonstrate your skills, showcase your experience, and highlight your unique perspective through bits of personality. That way, your resume will be as sharp as your focus and as vibrant as your color palette. Best of luck in your job-hunting endeavors!