How to Become an Art Director

Visual arts and advertising are virtually everywhere. To appeal to the consumer and targeted audience, visual elements need to be appealing and persuasive. Behind nearly every magazine, newspaper, billboard, commercial, movie or website, there is a skilled professional calling all the shots concerning artistic layout. This professional is the art director.


This How to Become an Art Director review has been thoroughly researched with information and testimonials that are available to anyone in the public. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.

What does an art director do?

Art directors develop design concepts and review the content for advertisements, television, magazines, newspapers, and other digital, film or printed media. They use their experience and skill to choose the visual elements that will be used in published material. Artists may create the artwork and illustrations, but the art director is the head manager who makes the final decision on the visual presentation of information to ensure that it is organized, appealing, and catches the viewer’s eye. The art director guides and examines how the information communicates mood, emotion and the quality of the product.

Art directors are often charged with managing artists, developers, designers, copywriters and layout artists. They corroborate with managers of other departments involved in the creative process to discuss the needs of the client and the presentation.

Art directors are also responsible for managing projects and staying within the designated budget and adhering to the schedule. They meet with clients to set goals and budgets and discuss the background information and visual concepts. They also present the final layout for the clients to approve. Click here to learn how to become an art director.

What kind of training does an art director need?

Most people who become art directors start their careers with a bachelor degree in arts and design and work as an entry-level artist in advertising, design, motion picture production, and publishing firms. After a time, if exceptional artistic ability and leadership qualities are demonstrated, they may be promoted to an art director job.

Some colleges and universities offer art director courses as part of their curricula for art majors. Based on their roles and responsibilities, some art directors pursue degrees in art administration, which offers non-artistic coursework in finance and project management. Click here to see a list of programs to get your art administration degree online.

What are the prospects for a career in art direction?

Art director job opportunities are expected to grow faster than average for all occupations, growing 16% from 218,000 jobs in 2006 to more than 252,000 jobs in 2016 (1). Employers and clients are always looking for creative and talented art directors to lead their production projects.

Prospects for art director jobs will be the best for candidates who are highly qualified with significant experience. Competition for art director careers will be keen, so the more experience and education, the more opportunities.

How much do art directors make?

Art director salaries are extremely attractive in specific areas of the country, but across the U.S. as well. Average art director salary runs between $83,960 and $133,450, with the highest 10% making over $156,000. (2)

Art director careers are ideal for creative people with excellent visual orientation and an abundance of new and fresh ideas, in addition to having strong leadership skills and enjoy working as part of a team. Art directors must also be adaptive, organized and manage their time well. Click here to get a list of online art degree programs.

What Does A Photographer Do?

Photographers create and preserve images that capture a moment, tell a story or document an event. They use professional equipment, creativity, and technical know-how to produce quality photographs.

Photographers select particular subjects to generate a specific effect and choose the right camera and other tools to create a desired image. They use different angles, lighting (natural or artificial), exposures and backgrounds to achieve the goal of the photograph. They can draw attention to or away from certain aspects of the image by using different lenses, filters, and distances. They also use a variety of flash attachments and tripods to create different moods or feelings.

Most photographers today use digital cameras instead of traditional film. Some photographers use both types, depending on the situation. Digital photographs allow photographers to edit them quickly and easily on a computer. Film from traditional cameras is often sent to a laboratory for processing, but some photographers have their own darkrooms in which to develop the film themselves. Photographers specialize in specific areas such as commercial portraiture, journalism, scientific, nature, or industrial photography. Click here to learn how to become a photographer.

What Kind Of Training Does A Photographer Need?

To pursue positions in industrial or scientific photography or photojournalism, a college degree in photography or other related area is usually required. Many photographers begin as assistants to experienced photographers to gain the necessary technical knowledge and skills. Most photographers freelance — meaning that they are paid by the job or photo, and not directly employed by a company. Freelance photographers are sometimes self-taught, have received informal photographic training or have entered photography internships from a degree program.

Photographers also need to have good hand-eye coordination, be detail oriented and accurate. They should have a strong technical knowledge of photographic process and fundamentals, creativity, imagination and an eye for composition. They also need to know how to use computer and software to edit and prepare photographs for clients. Click here to find your path to a photography career.

What Are The Prospects For A Career In Photography?

Opportunities for jobs in photography are projected to increase about as fast as average for all professions through the year 2016, increasing 10% from 122,000 jobs in 2006 to more than 134,000 jobs. (1) Self-employed photographers, including those in freelance photography jobs, make up more than 50% of all photography careers. Click here for a list of online photography degree programs.

Since photography is an appealing field, competition is expected. Photographers with formal education, significant work experience, and distinctive talents and skills can expect the best job prospects. A computer or electronic background can also improve job opportunities.

How Much Do Photographers Make?

Currently, the average entry-level photographer salary ranges between $42,368 and $62,996. The highest 10% earn over $71,000. (2) Freelance photographer salaries are generally quite varied, depending on the discipline and how many photographs are sold.

A photography careers are a great choice for people who have artistic talent and can capture meaningful images. Photographers must have good communication skills, adjustable schedules, and a great deal of patience. They often have to work in undesirable conditions and they must be able to adapt to the needs and requirements of their clients. Click here to get a list of programs to get your degree in photography online.

Elijah Olivas
Founder | 9 To 5 Renegade

Hey, I'm Elijah! I ditched the typical 9-to-5 after realizing it wasn't for me. Once I graduated, I launched a garage door and fence business but struggled to attract customers. That changed with a local marketing course, which skyrocketed my business.

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