Photography Apprenticeships

Ever taken a photo and realised that everything from the juxtaposition to the lighting was just on point? Or even already have a portfolio but are unsure of where to take your skills? Read all about photography apprenticeships and where to find them.

Photography Apprenticeships

Ever taken a photo and realised that everything from the juxtaposition to the lighting was just on point? Or even already have a portfolio but are unsure of where to take your skills? 

Creative jobs can always seem a little unattainable, like some sort of career equivalent of a Birkin bag. Well, we’re here to let you know that just isn’t true. Why not consider a photography apprenticeship?

It’s the perfect chance for you to take your creativity and skills to the next level and apply them to a real-life photography job.

Read on to get the full lowdown on photography apprenticeships and how you can get one for yourself.

Can you do a photography apprenticeship?

100% YES. This is not a drill. You can absolutely accomplish your dreams of becoming the next Rankin through an apprenticeship.

Currently, one apprenticeship is available: a Level 3 (Advanced) Photographic Assistant apprenticeship.

Photography apprenticeships are one of the best ways to jump-start your career. Mainly because they combine real-life work experience with gaining an official qualification. You’ll be able to gain valuable skills right out of school, and the best part is you’ll earn a salary.

What do you do in photography apprenticeships?

Photography apprenticeships take place mainly in a studio where you’ll create imagery and video for multiple clients.

The photography assistant apprenticeship lasts around 18 months. You’ll get a ton of practical experience and key skills to help you develop your business sense and become a photography pro.

Some of your tasks will include…

  • Assembling and dismantling photography equipment

  • Making sure images are to the customer's brief

  • Scouting locations and preparing set design

  • Using software to edit and process images

  • Art direction and taking photos.

Modules will cover…

  • Lighting your shoot

  • Photography direction

  • Photoshop and retouching

  • Legal training

  • Cybersecurity, storage and backup.

You'll put that knowledge into practice and get out in the field. You’ll spend much of your time working on campaigns ranging from commercial advertisements to magazine editorial images. Don’t get too comfortable in the studio. 

Shoots can often be on location where you’ll be expected to work in various conditions. It’s a bit like being in a nature documentary, just more glamorous.

Depending on who you do your apprenticeship with, you’ll also join the Master Photographers Association (MPA). It’s run by photographers for photographers, and there are some pretty decent perks with joining. These include…

  • Premium Qualifications & Certifications

  • Inclusive Mentoring

  • Monthly Critiques

  • Membership to the Royal Photographic Society

  • Annual International Competition & Event.

Many training providers offer this membership as part of the apprenticeship. Being an MPA member costs £22 per month outside of an apprenticeship.

What GCSEs do I need to be a photographer?

You’ll need five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a Level 3 photography apprenticeship.

However, working on a solid portfolio with a variety of work is the best thing you can do when applying for photography apprenticeships. You don’t need a top-range camera or equipment, either.

A lot of photographers use smartphones to take their photos. So if you have a good quality camera on your phone, a decent light source and a big imagination - you can create some beautiful shots.

Think about getting some friends together for portraits and candid group shots. Go for a walk, see what you can spot and snap it. On holiday? TAKE PHOTOS. It’s your opportunity to show off your skills and creativity.

Having a physical portfolio can be helpful to take to an interview, but those are expensive to put together. There are other ways you can show off your work…

  • A photography Instagram page

  • A blog/website

  • A Tumblr page, Flickr or Deviant Art account.

    RateMyApprenticeship is home to the Best Apprenticeship Employers table. They’re a wonderful way to find out who the Taylor Swifts of the apprenticeship world are. Plus, they’re made up of 40,000+ reviews written by students just like you. Find out who they are below…

    The Best 100 Apprenticeship Employers

Where can I do a photography apprenticeship?

JGA Group

Training provider JGA Group offers the Level 3 Photography Assistant apprenticeship.

Led by Anthony Milner, who has a really impressive CV, including work for Vogue, Savills and Aston Martin, you’ll learn everything a photographer needs to know, plus some essential skills such as developing a strong work ethic and how to be organised.

If you’d like to know more about training providers offering photography apprenticeships, you can check out for more information.

The Royal Air Force

You read that correctly. The RAF does indeed offer photography apprenticeships as well as photography jobs. As a photographer, you’ll sit within the engineering team, where you’ll create still imagery for varying aspects of life in the RAF. 

You’ll capture everything from brand photos and crime scenes to sports and VIP visits (including royalty). Some of your responsibilities include;

  • Shoot training video films

  • Gather photographic evidence for engineering, security and accident investigations

  • Print target identification images for aircrew.

You’ll work towards a Level 3 apprenticeship qualification awarded by the British Institute of Professional Photography and be paid £16,840 in your first six months, which will move up to £21,420. 

You’ll also receive many very generous benefits, including subsidised rent, food and a free gym membership.

Read Armed Forces Apprenticeships

Watch this video about photography apprenticeships at The RAF to see what it's really like.

How much does a photography apprentice get paid?

This totally depends on your employer.

Currently, the national minimum wage for apprentices is £5.28 per hour. However, an apprenticeship employer will pay much more.

For example, a trainee school photographer could make anything between £22,000 to £23,000 per year. Whereas an apprentice property photographer might earn a wage of £10,500 plus a year.

Some apprenticeships are privately taught between a photographer and an apprentice.

While in theory, these can be great, especially if you find yourself working under someone well-known. In practice, they can be severely underpaid or only pay expenses like lunch and travel (usually after you’ve paid for this yourself). 

Don’t do this. When looking for an apprenticeship, research and ensure you’ll be paid and receive a qualification.

Once you’ve qualified, your salary can start anywhere between £16,000 and £22,000, which will increase to anywhere between £25,000 and a whopping £65,000 (this end of the scale comes with experience and reputation).

Picking the right company can be a tough gig. Perhaps you’re looking for an employer who cares greatly about diversity in the workplace or hosts a pizza party every Friday. Well, look no further. We host over 43,000 apprentice-written reviews. Have a read!

Browse Apprenticeship Reviews

What can I do after my apprenticeship?

Many photographers are freelance and go on to start their own businesses. If you want to get a little bit more experience before you go it alone, there are photography jobs you can do after you’ve finished a photography apprenticeship.

Content Creator

This might be the most obvious one, but photography apprenticeships will prepare you for content creation and then some. Firstly, photography is content generation, so you’ll already have insider knowledge of different shots, angles and lighting. 

You’ll be a pro. Thousands of companies moving into the digital space dream of having someone like you on their team.


Also known as news photographers, photojournalists tell stories through pictures. You could be taking pictures of conflicts abroad, stills of the next Prime Minister, then papping celebrities at a movie premiere. 

It’s non-stop, demanding, but super rewarding. You could end up taking a photo that changes culture.

Medical photographer

Also known as clinical photography, you’ll take pictures of medical conditions and patients to help diagnose illnesses and document the treatment process.

It’ll also involve specialist skills like thermography, 3D modelling and ultraviolet imaging. Entry requirements include a degree in photography and a master's in clinical photography.

Property photographer

If you’re obsessed with architecture and homes, this is exactly where you need to be. Property photographers take pictures of properties on sale. 

You’ll typically work for an estate agent and spend a lot of time travelling. This is one of the photography jobs requiring you to be a driver and already own a car, as you’ll be lugging around heavy equipment.

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