Fashion Advertiser: Employment & Career Information

Learn what kind of education and training is needed for a career in fashion advertising. Get information about job prospects to see if a job as a fashion advertiser is right for you.

Career Definition

Fashion advertising is a specialized, highly competitive area of commercial art and graphic design. Workers in the industry include photographers and copy writers. These creative workers contribute to the production of advertising messages, including shots of fashion models gracing glossy magazine ads, online and print catalogs, web pages, and department-store newspaper ads. Fashion photographers work with digital cameras and traditional silver halide film to create and store images, often of costumed models, that show styles in a way that makes them desirable to a specific market. Fashion advertising writers are good at using words that not only describe a high-style item, but create the impulse to buy it.

Become a Fashion Advertiser

Required Education

Since fashion advertising photographers most often freelance, they need demonstrated proficiency; this proficiency is often gained through classes at universities, community colleges, and trade and technical schools. Classes cover equipment, processes, and darkroom techniques. University courses in business as well as design and composition are also helpful. Aspirants may learn the ropes by working as assistants to accomplished photographers. Copy writers, like most salaried writers, generally need a four-year degree. Some employers of writers seek those with a broad foundation in the liberal arts. Others consider English, journalism, and communications majors, especially those with fashion knowledge and expertise.

Skills Required

All fashion advertising workers need polished portfolios of excellent samples. Photographers also need good vision, hand-and-eye coordination, patience, accuracy, a knowledge of copyright laws, and a combination of artistic, business, and people skills. Copy writers need to cope with stress, deadlines, and a high-pressure environment. They need to be comfortable with computer software, electronic publishing, graphics, and video.

Career and Economic Outlook

A total of 136,300 persons were employed as photographers of all types in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); of these, 60% were self-employed. The median annual income of all employed photographers was $28,490 in May 2012. Any photographer, let alone one in the competitive field of fashion advertising, will face stiff competition for salaried positions.

The median annual salary for all salaried writers and authors was $55,940 in May of 2012, per the BLS. The number of opportunities for all writers and editors is expected to grow slower than average from 2012 through 2022, also according to the BLS.

Alternate Career Options


A reporter gathers information gained from research and interviews and prepares it for delivery to an audience, such as through television news, a newspaper or magazine, or even online. Reporters accept assignments from editors as well as suggest their own stories; they take guidance, suggestions and direction from editors as well. A reporter often has a bachelor's degree in journalism, communications or a related field; previous experience in college-level reporting is also common among aspiring reporters.

Reporters and correspondents face an anticipated 14% decline in jobs from 2012-2022, per the BLS; many media companies have consolidated and fewer people are getting their information from print or television media. The BLS also reports that working reporters earned median pay of $35,870 in 2012.

Public Relations Specialist

A public relations (PR) specialist determines what audience would benefit from hearing about client products or services, authors press releases, and forwards them to media contacts. They also work with clients to hone their identity and message, and respond to media requests on clients' behalf. A PR specialist may also have a hand in crafting speeches, guiding advertising decisions, and fundraising efforts.

Public relations specialists typically have a bachelor's degree in public relations or a closely related field; on-the-job training is also carried out. PR specialists may be eligible for professional certifications once they gain experience. Job growth is expected to be strong for PR specialists - an increase of 12% from 2012-2022, per the BLS. The BLS reports that public relations specialists earned median pay of $54,170 in 2012.

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