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How to become a Photographic Technician

photographic technician careers

What does a Photographic Technician do?

Photographic technicians work either in film processing, digital imaging or print finishing. They can work for large photofinishing operations, professional processing laboratories supporting photographers, or in mini-labs.

Film Processing technicians use computer-controlled equipment to process films before printing, or scanning on to a disc. Processing can be adjusted to take into account the lighting conditions and exposure of the film, to ensure the highest quality product. Technicians also check, label and sleeve prints or discs for customers. They need to be aware of health and safety issues when dealing with chemicals, and maintain equipment regularly. Film processing technicians can work in large processing labs or in small mini-labs.

Digital imaging technicians are skilled at design and layout. Using a computer, they scan images and manipulate them digitally before printing. They have regular contact with their customers to discuss the format and finish of the image. Before printing, technicians will resize and adjust the image, and find the most suitable paper and printer. Digital imaging technicians also build up image banks by cataloguing and archiving images. They often work with photographers or marketing and advertising clients.

Print finishers specialise in the mounting and finishing of prints, and are skilled at using laminating and precision cutting equipment. Attached to professional labs, they work on large format prints for exhibition and display purposes.

Skillset's website has more detailed information about job roles in photo-imaging - see Further Information.

What's the working environment like working as a Photographic Technician?

Most photographic technicians work between 37 and 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday, although shift work may be required in some larger laboratories.

The laboratory environment is usually clean, and gloves are worn when handling films. Protective clothing is worn when working with chemicals. In print finishing, the work can be physical with some lifting and standing.

What does it take to become a Photographic Technician?

To be a photographic technician you should:

  • have good colour vision and an eye for contrast and density when making corrections
  • have a calm, methodical and well ordered approach
  • be accurate, pay attention to detail and meet deadlines
  • have in an interest in photographic techniques
  • have numeracy skills for processing times, exposures and film speeds
  • have analytical and mechanical skills to maintain equipment and diagnose faults
  • have good communication skills to interpret clients' instructions
  • be creative and have design skills when working in digital imaging.

Photographic Technician Career Opportunities

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Photographic Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Skillset Careers
Tel: 08080 300 900 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Tel: 0808 100 8094 for Scotland

Prospect House
80-110 New Oxford Street

British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP)
Fox Talbot House
2 Amwell End
SG12 9HN
Tel: 01920 464011

The Association of Photographers
81 Leonard Street
Tel: 020 7739 6669