Photographic equipment technicians are usually employed by independent repair shops, equipment manufacturers, or retailers. They dismantle, repair, adjust, and clean cameras, lenses, projectors, and other types of photographic equipment. In smaller shops, technicians usually work on a variety of types of photographic equipment, while in larger shops, they usually specialize in a particular type of brand. Technicians determine the damage to the equipment, make the necessary repairs, reassemble the equipment, and test whether it meets manufacturer specifications.
Technicians use a variety of small hand tools, such as jewelers’ screw drivers, files, wrenches, soldering instruments, microscopes, micrometers, and gauges. They also use precision testing instruments, such as digital voltmeters, optical measuring devices, electronic timers and mechanical testing devices.
Because this work is meticulous and usually indoors, photographic equipment technicians need to be patient and persistent. They usually are required to interact with customers, so they should be able to communicate well and get along with others. In addition, they are often required to have good writing skills.
Photographic equipment technicians who have 3 to 5 years of experience and highly-developed skills may make from $9.00 per hour to $17.00 per hour. Some are paid by the job, rather than hourly. Still others may make a percentage of the shop rate charged to the customer. Employees of manufacturers or larger repair shops may receive vacation and health benefits.
Training and Education
Photographic equipment technicians can receive training through private vocational schools that teach photographic equipment repair, as well as through some community colleges. Employers usually prefer to hire technicians who have 3 to 5 years of experience and are fully qualified. Applicants without this level of experience must have received formal training or have a strong background in high school physical sciences and electronics theory. They must also be able to comprehend technical manuals and blueprints, as well as have an aptitude for mechanical work.
Another route into the occupation is through training in the armed forces. However, some general civilian experience or training may be necessary since military photographic work may specialize in specific types of equipment. Yet another way technicians enter the field is through on-the-job training from their employers.
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Between 2002 and 2012, the number of photographic equipment technicians is expected to increase about as fast as the average. Population growth and the popularity of amateur and family photography will contribute to a continuing need for repair and service of photographic and related equipment.