How to write a professional photographer cover letter
Updated 12 April 2023
Professional photographers are responsible for taking photographs using different types of cameras. Their job revolves around capturing an image to reproduce it repeatedly. When you're preparing to apply for a photographer's job, the first step is knowing how to write a cover letter that convinces the hiring manager you're suitable for the role. In this article, we discuss the essentials of a photography cover letter and provide a professional cover letter sample to use as a guide when writing yours.
What is a photographer?
A photographer is an artist who captures images using a digital or traditional film camera and they know how to use and care for high-end cameras properly. Most photographers work as freelancers and clients hire them to capture memories of special events such as weddings, graduations, corporate events and commercial shoots. In addition to taking pictures, they can edit and prepare photographs for clients or publications.
How to write a photographer cover letter
While your CV lists the facts about your experience, education and certifications, your photographer cover letter gives you a unique way to express yourself to hiring managers and differentiate yourself from other applicants. You can tell creative and professional stories with your cover letter. You can share your views with your voice and style. Here's a guide to help you write a professional photography cover letter:
1. Select a standard photography cover letter format
Many creative hiring managers prefer when photographers format their CV structure using the following features:
Layout: Use 1-inch margins on all sides to make the content easy to read.
Fonts: Use professional fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman and Cambria. Avoid fonts such as Comic Sans.
Outline: Write three to four paragraphs. Fewer than three paragraphs make it too brief, while more than five could be too much information.
Line spacing: Use 1.15 or 1.5 line spacing to make your letter readable and presentable.
2. Begin with a professional cover letter header
A cover letter header is the same as your CV header and it contains your contact information. This includes your name, job title, address, phone number, professional email, portfolio URL or link to a social media profile with your best work. Next, skip a line and insert the date. After this, skip another line and insert the employer's or hiring manager's name and title, followed by the company's name and address.
3. Write a concise, creative first paragraph
The first paragraph starts with a salutation to the employer. Try not to use the generic To whom it may concern salutation. Instead, find out the receiver's name and title. Ensure your first paragraph is concise by stating the job opening you're applying for and the requirements they need.
4. Highlight relevant photography milestones and achievements
In the second paragraph, write your top achievements in previous and current photography positions. As you write, blend your talents with the requirements highlighted in the job description. This way, they can see that you're skilled enough for the role and they may want to review your CV. It's better to narrow your skills to the photography niches you've covered. For instance, if a restaurant needs a food photographer, mention how many restaurants or private chefs you've worked with and use statistics to prove your success.
5. Show how much you want the photography position
In paragraph three, assure the hiring manager that you want the job. Discuss how your career goals, personality and skills fit the company's objectives. If the job description asks for a photographer who can thrive in all niches of photography, speak about how you love the variety of their work and why you'd love to express yourself with nature, portraits, weddings and event photo shoots.
Related: How important is a cover letter?
6. Conclude your photographer cover letter with a call-to-action
It's not enough for you to appreciate the employer for reading your letter. Ask them to contact you. Ask for an interview or a meeting so you can prove yourself further. Don't forget to point them to your portfolio and CV. For instance, you can write about your knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and how you uniquely use both tools to enhance your photos. Finally, offer the idea of a chat with them to explain your creative process. Then, add a professional sign-off on the next line, which contains your name and signature.
Tips to make your cover letter unique
The following tips can help you write your cover letter in a way that presents you as the best photographer for the role:
Showcase your portfolio
The best way to convince a hiring manager to invite you for an interview is to show them your past work. It's not typical to include photographs or other forms of media in a cover letter but you can use the letter to lead potential employers to your portfolio. In the header of your cover letter, insert a link to your website, Instagram or Flickr profile. Remember to test the inserted link to confirm it's working correctly before applying. Ensure your portfolio is professional and related to the photography niche of your potential employer.
Emphasise your technical photography skills
How well you highlight your technical skills in your cover letter can determine whether you get the job or not. As an experienced photographer, your technical skill set matters. Some of these skills tell the employer what equipment you're used to, the training you've completed and your proficiency with editing software. For instance, you can mention how you've edited pictures captured with drones and the Nikon D60 camera with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. You can also note that you can handle both image and video editing.
Personalise your cover letter
Recruiters also want to know about the person behind the lens. Write about your passion for capturing moments and turning them into beautiful memories. If you have a preferred niche, include it. Also, insert necessary keywords based on the traits and soft skills you noted in the job listing.
Proofread your cover letter before submitting
Spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes distract the readers from appreciating your accomplishments and skill set. Read your photography cover letter aloud to identify and resolve any errors, remove irrelevant information and ensure the letter is easily readable. You can also ask a friend to review it.
Cover letter template
Consider using the following template when drafting a cover letter:
[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification if applicable]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City] | [Link to website or portfolio]
Dear [Hiring manager's first name] [Hiring manager's last name],
[Express excitement for the position including the role title and the company name]. [Introduce yourself by explaining why you're applying for the job and how the job aligns with your career goals and what specifically draws you to the company].
[Explain your relevant experience and qualifications without repeating what's in your CV]. [Highlight one to two relevant achievements with facts and data when possible.] [Explain why you'd be a good fit for the company]. [Optional - address employment gap or career transition].
[Express gratitude]. [Summarise qualification]. [Restate interest in role]. [Call to action + availability and preferred contact method].
Sample of a professional photographer cover letter
Here's a sample to serve as a guide when writing your own:
+44 (0) 7899 465443 | Maxineburroughs@email.com | London | maxineburroughsphotographyhome.com
13 October 2022
Ambient Gazes Photography,
Dear Ms Matthew Lizzie,
I am writing to apply for the Ambient Gazes Photography position of lead photographer. I have been a professional photographer for three years and I am passionate about catching the ideal moments in time. I think that your team would benefit greatly from my abilities and experience.
As a freelance photographer, I have had the opportunity to photograph sumptuous meals, birthdays, weddings, red-carpet events, celebrity parties, fashion shows and nature in numerous places across London. In my current position as a freelance photojournalist with the Guard Mirror Newspapers, I have managed photo shoots, briefed clients and edited photos and videos independently.
I have a photography diploma and I am constantly getting certifications in relevant online media courses to broaden my knowledge. I use Lightroom, InDesign and Photoshop to edit pictures. My extensive experience in various photography niches has continually refined my skills and communication abilities.
Thank you for your time and attention. I adore the jobs that Ambient Gazes Photography has completed and would welcome the chance to contribute to the group's efforts. Above is a link to my portfolio. Please feel free to contact me to schedule a time we could meet to review it. Call me at +44 (0) 7899 465443 or contact me at Maxineburroughs@email.com.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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