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A day in the life: professional photographer

If you have always wondered how to learn professional photography, you’ll be over the moon to know we offer an array of flexible, affordable and creative online courses to get you there! But once you have your skills and equipment ready, you might also wonder what your new career could look like day-to-day? Well, look no further than this post – a rundown of what a day in the life of a professional photographer looks like. Are you ready? Let’s go!

There are two types of days in the life of a professional photographer. Shoot Days and Non-Shoot Days. Shoot Days are usually spent on set or on location, and Non-Shoot Days are usually spent in your office or studio. Both require different skills and creative elements, which are taught in our online photography courses.

Let’s get started with a Non-Shoot Day:

Head To The Studio 

Turn off the snooze button, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and head into your studio! Some photographers use a room in their house, a purpose-built outbuilding, or hire a full studio in the city to turn into their workspace. A studio can serve as a storage space for important equipment, a workshop for maintenance, a shoot location for portraits, food or commercial photography and an editing suite all in one. Some even have kitchenettes for those well-earned tea breaks and work lunches. Second-home? Perhaps!

Bookings & Admin

A Non-Shoot Day is a perfect time to keep on top of your creative business administration. Liaising with clients, offering quotes, sending and processing invoices. Photography is a business after all, which is why we run specialised courses that cover all the intricacies that help your studio run smoothly. Learning how to put together a professional portfolio, negotiate your costs with clients and present your sales pitch. 


As well as ongoing business, great photographers are always getting their work into the world. Updating your portfolio, email marketing and managing your social media presence keeps clients up to date with the high quality of your work, as well as engaging potential new customers. Some photographers even have a Youtube channel, giving others an inside view of their studio life, connecting with photography fans. 

Shoot prep

In preparation for shoot days, there can be a lot of planning to do. Clients will sometimes come with a description of what they are looking for, other times they will leave you to come up with a creative campaign for them. 

This means you will spend some time scouting locations, planning equipment lists, organising shoot schedules, experimenting with palettes and styles, consulting with makeup, hair or artistic stylists and much more. No two shoots are the same! So it’s in the interests of photographers to keep learning and expanding their skills. 


After a shoot, Non-Shoot Days can be used to start sorting through all the photographs taken on the shoot. Using the client brief, you will begin to select and edit final choices to send to your customer for approval, using your skills in software such as photoshop and lightroom. These finished shots may stay on the web, be ordered for print or even become a  portrait! Being able to convert and process RAW files is a key part of professional photography, to give your best shots their new life. 

And what about Shoot Days? Well, they usually start early!

Shoot time!

Shut off the alarm, and get ready to travel to your location. This could simply be at your studio or a nearby location, or it could require you to hop on a plane! 

Travelling with a full photography kit requires some real planning and organisation, luckily you smashed your pre-shoot prep so you’re feeling excited for the creative day ahead. Plus the large thermos of industrial-strength coffee probably helps too!

Arriving at the client’s location or your new landscape, your job is to set everything up. Using your skills in lighting, aperture, shutter speed, composition and colour, you are ready to go and feel confident to find some incredible shots.  

Working the set

A professional photographer is adept at being a people person. Working to get the best from a shy portrait poser, helping models feel comfortable and ensuring the entire crew works in harmony. Efficiently directing and moving subjects into flattering angles or exciting shapes.

If you are a wildlife photographer? Patience is your best friend. Staying still and quiet, getting ready to capture remarkable nature in artistic ways.  

That’s a wrap

A shoot can be as short as a few hours, or as long as a few weeks, depending on the client’s needs or your own goals. Once your work is done, you wrap up, packing up your kit and returning to your studio to start the editing process, perhaps after a little sleep first. 

Does this sound like your ideal day? Can’t wait to pick up your kit and get started? Then look no further than our Professional Photography Courses. Specifically designed from over 15 years of development, we take you from eager beginner all the way to professional photographer. Covering different specialisms, including wildlife, food, journalism, as well as our online Photography Business Course, offering all the acumen needed to help your studio thrive.

Created to be accessible and affordable, our online Photography Courses in New Zealand are the most flexible way to start your new career. With 24 hour access, you can learn when it suits you with the full support of experienced tutors. As well as the opportunity to enrol in payment plans that spread the costs. Ours even include the all-important DSLR camera you need to start your studio. Online study in New Zealand has never been better!

Get started on your new daily routine today.


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