The staff photographer is employed by an organisation under a "contract of service". The organisation might be a large commercial corporation or it may be a newspaper, a government department, a hospital, a museum, a university, a research agency, or one of a number of other agencies that were formerly part of central government.
There are also a large number of
photographers and photographic technicians within the armed services,
particularly within the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.
Because of the continuing government policies of privatisation and market testing, the current need for photographers directly employed by government departments (for example, by the Ministry of Defence, or within public museums and galleries) is declining.
The disciplines within which staff photographers operate vary widely. In addition to the tasks mentioned in relation to the employed industrial and commercial photographer , the employed photographer might also be involved in medical or forensic photography , fine art photography, architectural photography , specialist film processing and printing techniques , video filming and cinematography, and digital photography and electronic post-production as well as in scientific and technical photography.
In scientific and technical photography practitioners photograph a variety of subjects to illustrate or record scientific or medical data or phenomena, using knowledge of scientific procedures. They typically possess additional knowledge in areas such as engineering, medicine, biology, or chemistry.
Scientific Photographers use
specialized equipment such as electron microscopes for producing
photographs of microscopic items and often assist in the preparation of
specimens to be photographed.
Many photographers are skilled in the use of 35- or 16-millimeter movie cameras or video camcorders.
The growing need for financial accountability of public and quasi-public bodies, with full recovery of running costs and other performance targets, provides the opportunity to develop business and management skills. The chance to specialise within a multi-skilled workforce makes for an attractive career choice.
Most vacancies are advertised within the professional photographic press and in local and national newspapers but, as with other areas of photography, a speculative approach to an organisation might bear fruit.