Does Graphic Design Include Photography?

The modern world is quickly getting more and more digital, meaning that more and more jobs are needing a professional to make things look nice to their customers. This is where a Graphic Designer comes in to play.

Graphic Design is such a broad field that it can include anything involving graphical design. Some jobs requiring a lot of photography and manipulation of it may require a background in photography as well, meaning that some programs even offer a course on the subject.

If there is anything graphical involved, technically a Graphic Designer could be hired for the job. For photography, often times the job is interchangeable with a Graphic Designer and might require skills of both. Keep reading to learn more about Graphic Design and its relationship with photography.

How Does Graphic Design Include Photography?

There is a lot more to Graphic Design than simply adding text over a picture, designing business cards, or even making assets for websites. It can also pick and choose from various other art forms, which includes photography.

Some ways that Graphic Design might include photography are:

  • Taking a picture for an ad
  • Adding a pretty flair to a package
  • Touch up for a beauty shot
  • Restoration of old photos
  • Showcasing a product
  • Photomanipulation

Photography is only one of the many tools in a Graphic Designer’s belt. While not every job is going to want or need photography services from their designer, many jobs actually look for someone with a photography background when selecting appropriate candidates.

Why Might a Graphic Designer Benefit from Learning Photography?

A lot of a Graphic Designer’s work is going to involve layout, placement, staging, and how to make things look aesthetically pleasing. This can also be used to make some amazing photography as a Graphic Designer is also adept at composition. This knowledge of composition is also extremely beneficial to photographers as it will in turn lead to a much more stunning photograph.

Learning photo composition, how lighting works, how to stage things to still look natural, and generally how to make things look pleasing is a skill both professions can utilize to great effect. It can then be turned into making better composition for other pieces and help get the best representation of a product or service.

Additionally, being proficient in photography helps make the designer more marketable and hirable within the industry. People with more tools in their belt are suddenly much more likely to be a worthwhile risk when hiring, and it shows that the candidate has strong skills and a good eye for aesthetics.

Pro Tip: If you’re not a photographer, you can use to create mockups, or download photos, with full usage rights that allow you to sell their graphics in your clients final product.

What are some Jobs a Graphic Designer with Photography Skills?

Graphic Design is an extremely versatile degree which can be used in a lot of various professions, and often times these skills are going to be overlapping with another job. Therefore, it is definitely worth pursuing if there is enough interest. However, having an idea of where to start can be daunting.

Here are some jobs that a Graphic Designer with strong photography skills can obtain:

  • Advertising Photographer
  • Art Director
  • Creative Director
  • Digital Retoucher
  • Fashion Photographer
  • Forensic Photographer
  • Layout Artist
  • Package Designer
  • Photojournalist
  • Studio Manager
  • Commercial Photographer
  • Travel Photographer

Additionally, there is never anything wrong with branching out alone and picking up freelancing. That way, all interests can come together to make one source of income. Just be sure to mind any tax information ahead of time to ensure things don’t quickly go south.

How are Graphic Design and Photography Similar?

Both Graphic Design and Photography have a lot of similarities. The point is to make something that is aesthetically pleasing to look at in both professions, which is why a lot of the jobs will overlap.

Here are some ways that Graphic Design and Photography are similar:

  • Heavy focus on aesthetics
  • Branding
  • Using images to communicate an idea
  • Layout and composition
  • Need for a portfolio

Neither profession really needs to have a degree as well. However, having a degree strongly advances the resume and makes the candidate far more hirable with a chance at a greater payout. Having a degree in both advances the possibility even further of landing a more lucrative position due to the fact that both of these skills are so overlapping.

What Should be Included in a Graphic Design/Photography Portfolio?

There is nothing like having a fantastic portfolio that highlights the best skills of the candidate, just be sure that anything included is work that can be done consistently and not just an amazing fluke. At the same point, potential jobs will assume that all of these are going to be some of the candidate’s best work, and they will use that to judge if they are a good fit for their company.

Some things that could be included in a blended Graphic Design and Photography portfolio includes:

  • Before and after retouching or restorations
  • Heavy layout work
  • Multiple views of the same object
  • Mockups of products utilizing these skills
  • Great photographs of varying subjects
  • Interesting photomanipulations
  • Mixed media designs

Remember that a portfolio is like a resume in and of itself. Therefore, what is included should be relevant and obtained through means such as education or previous jobs rather than just something done for the day. However, not everyone has a stellar portfolio, so making mockups relevant to the job at hand could also help boost the portfolio in a pinch.


Graphic design is an extremely broad topic of study, with their graduates going on to such a broad range of professions that most things that also focus on aesthetics are going to overlap with it. This includes photography, with many jobs wanting a strong background and skills in both fields. This will in turn make the candidate much more desirable and help boost their portfolio to lucrative heights worthy of some of the best jobs out there.