What do Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators Do?
Photographic process workers and processing machine operators typically play an important role in the development and processing of photographs. These images can be digital or film, and involve the operation of various equipment. In this career, you may also do more precise work like editing negatives and prints. In the United States, there is projected to be 1,390 job openings annually, with a steady 47,100 employed in 2012 and 47,200 in 2022.
Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators Skills and Abilities
It is crucial that you have the skills necessary to operate certain machinery such as processing machines, printing machines, and circuit boards. It helps to have knowledge of how computers and other electronics work due to wide range of hardware and software that can be used. It is recommended that you have basic chemistry knowledge so that you may understand the transformation that the photographs undergo, as well as have the ability to recognize proper techniques and any potential signs of danger. Some other abilities that may be useful include:
- Near vision
- Visual color discrimination
- Control precision
- Selective attention
- Reading comprehension
- Writing comprehension
- Active listening
- Quality control analysis
Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators Duties
Since this position works so specifically with negatives and photographs, you may be expected to retouch them, enhance them, color them, examine their quality, or create their prints according to specifications made by the customer. You will also spend a lot of time working with the machines, which will involve various maintenance duties such as:
- Fill tanks with the proper solutions
- Load rolls of film
- Mount work pieces onto the production equipment
- Put sensitized paper in frames for reproduction
- Set specific focus and exposure times
- Splice film on reels if separated or broken
- Clean equipment
- Check operating equipment for any malfunctions
- Position raw materials before processing
- Set or adjust machine controls
- Load circuit boards
Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators Tools and Technology
If you are working with negatives that require developing in a darkroom, there are specific tools that you would want to become familiar with, such as film pickers and leader cards. You will likely utilize developing trays and various types of film splicers. Since you will be working with a mass quantity of photos, you may want to use a portable flash drive to store all of your work digitally. Common technology for this occupation is all found on a computer and includes:
- Data base user interface software
- Graphics or photo imaging software
- Desktop publishing software
- Word processing and spreadsheet software
Education and Training for Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators
Most photographic process workers and processing machine operators enter with at least a high school diploma, though many have some college experience. Only a small percentage has attained education at the Master’s degree or professional degree level. On-the-job training is relatively short term.
Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators Salary
The salaries for this occupation vary depending on what state that you live in and how established you are in your profession. The state with the lowest annual wage is an estimated $18,700 and the highest is $39,600. The median salary for the United States is $24,600.
Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators Jobs by Geography
If you are looking for a state with a high median wage, then your best options are Alaska, Vermont, and California. There has been a 10.5% increase in employment in Indiana, even though there has only been a 0.2% increase across the United States. Washington and Utah have also seen an increase in employment at 9.8% and 8.9% respectively.