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Employers usually seek applicants with a “good eye,” imagination, and creativity, as well as a good technical understanding of photography. Entry-level positions in photojournalism, industrial, or scientific photography generally require a college degree in journalism or photography. Freelance and portrait photographers need technical proficiency, whether gained through a degree program, vocational training, or extensive work experience.

Working conditions for photographers vary considerably. Photographers employed in government and advertising agencies usually work a 5-day, 40-hour week. On the other hand, news photographers often work long, irregular hours and must be available to work on short notice. Many photographers work part time or variable schedules.

The photograph has affected the way many cultures throughout the world understand and learn about their world. One of the main fields responsible for this paradigm is photojournalism. Photojournalism is the use of photographs in conjunction with the reporting of news in media such as print newspapers, magazines, television news and internet reporting. The incorporation of photographs into news reports is so ubiquitous that a story without photographs to a contemporary audience feels incomplete, as though they were only getting half the story.