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Occupation Profile

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Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators
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Employment


Wages

Education





Job Details






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Description: what do they do?
Perform work involved in developing and processing photographic images from film or digital media. May perform precision tasks such as editing photographic negatives and prints.
Also known as:
Photo Technician, Digital Imaging Technician, Digital Printer Operator, Photo Lab Manager, Film Technician, Photo Lab Specialist, Photo Specialist, Lab Technician, Photo Printer, Photo Lab Technician (Photographic Laboratory Technician)

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center.

Career video
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Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
US
N/A
2014 Employment
N/A
2024 Employment
N/A
Percent change
N/A
Annual projected job openings
United States
28,800
2014 Employment
19,400
2024 Employment
-33%
Percent change
560
Annual projected job openings
N/A: We do not have employment projections in this state for this occupation.

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2014, the number expected to be employed in 2024, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions including a 5.2 percent unemployment rate in 2024 and labor productivity growth of 1.8 percent annually over the 10 years. While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central: Long Term Projections, through 2024.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Employment Projections: 2014–24.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators in United States
LocationUSUnited States
10%N/A$19,790
25%N/A$22,100
MedianN/A$26,470
75%N/A$35,970
90%N/A$48,030


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2016 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • No work experience
  • Less than 1 month on-the-job training

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Load digital images onto computers or websites.
  • Operate photographic developing or print production equipment.
  • Inspected printed materials or other images to verify quality.
  • Operate digital imaging equipment.
  • Load materials into production equipment.
  • Mix substances to create chemical solutions.
  • Measure ingredients or substances to be used in production processes.
  • Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
  • Read work orders or other instructions to determine product specifications or materials requirements.
  • Immerse objects or workpieces in cleaning or coating solutions.
  • Clean production equipment.
  • Maintain production or processing equipment.
  • Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.
  • Position raw materials on processing or production equipment.
  • Record operational or production data.
  • Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
  • Cut industrial materials in preparation for fabrication or processing.
  • Apply decorative coloring to photographs or printed materials.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Testing how well a product or service works.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - Noticing the difference between colors, including shades and brightness.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Select digital images for printing, specify number of images to be printed, and direct to printer, using computer software.
  • Create prints according to customer specifications and laboratory protocols.
  • Produce color or black-and-white photographs, negatives, or slides, applying standard photographic reproduction techniques and procedures.
  • Set or adjust machine controls, according to specifications, type of operation, or material requirements.
  • Review computer-processed digital images for quality.
  • Operate scanners or related computer equipment to digitize negatives, photographic prints, or other images.
  • Fill tanks of processing machines with solutions such as developer, dyes, stop-baths, fixers, bleaches, or washes.
  • Measure and mix chemicals to prepare solutions for processing, according to formulas.
  • Load digital images onto computers directly from cameras or from storage devices, such as flash memory cards or universal serial bus (USB) devices.
  • Operate special equipment to perform tasks such as transferring film to videotape or producing photographic enlargements.
  • Examine developed prints for defects, such as broken lines, spots, or blurs.
  • Read work orders to determine required processes, techniques, materials, or equipment.
  • Operate machines to prepare circuit boards and to expose, develop, etch, fix, wash, dry, or print film or plates.
  • Immerse film, negatives, paper, or prints in developing solutions, fixing solutions, and water to complete photographic development processes.
  • Load circuit boards, racks or rolls of film, negatives, or printing paper into processing or printing machines.
  • Examine quality of film fades or dissolves for potential color corrections, using color analyzers.
  • Reprint originals for enlargement or in sections to be pieced together.
  • Clean or maintain photoprocessing or darkroom equipment, using ultrasonic equipment or cleaning and rinsing solutions.
  • Thread filmstrips through densitometers or sensitometers and expose film to light to determine density of film, necessary color corrections, or light sensitivity.
  • Monitor equipment operation to detect malfunctions.
  • Examine drawings, negatives, or photographic prints to determine coloring, shading, accenting, or other changes required for retouching or restoration.
  • Place sensitized paper in frames of projection printers, photostats, or other reproduction machines.
  • Upload digital images onto Web sites for customers.
  • Maintain records, such as quantities or types of processing completed, materials used, or customer charges.
  • Produce timed prints with separate densities or color settings for each scene of a production.
  • Set automatic timers, lens openings, and printer carriages to specified focus and exposure times and start exposure to duplicate originals, photographs, or negatives.
  • Splice broken or separated film and mount film on reels.
  • Apply paint, using airbrushes, pens, artists' brushes, cotton swabs, or gloved fingers to retouch or enhance negatives or photographs.
  • Retouch photographic negatives or original prints to correct defects.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

Other resources

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.