Explore: Media

Photographer - Red Arrows

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Hi. My name’s Abby, and

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I’m one of the photographers for the Red Arrows.

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My job involves taking imagery to post on social media.

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We also do the safety filming

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for when they practice the displays.

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And another special thing about our role is we get to sit in the back of the jet

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for the season and capture imagery from the air.

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So at school I took the normal GCSEs.

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I also took media studies and travel and tourism.

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I then went on to sixth form

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and also studied media studies and health and social care.

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I then realized I didn’t actually like it as much as I thought,

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so I left after a year.

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I then had a year out

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searching for every job you can imagine.

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I really struggled with this.

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I basically ended up getting a Friday job at a cake shop

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and then I started researching about photography jobs

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because I’ve always been

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interested in photography.

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One aspect was wildlife photography, but

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you need so many qualifications, it’s very competitive.

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So – done a bit of research and the photography

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in the Air Force came up – basically applied

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and now I’m here.

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So after doing my basic training, trade training,

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I was posted to RAF Wittering

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for about two years and then to Brize Norton,

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which was more of a trials unit doing technical photography.

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And then I was posted to RAF Scampton with the Red Arrows

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and this is more of a public relations type role.

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The turning point for me was when I joined the military, I wasn’t

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in the mindset that I wanted to travel, but

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later down the line

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I realized, actually, I want to make the most of the military

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whilst I’m in and I want to take advantage of all the opportunities they had.

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And I’ve actually been really lucky.

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So when I was at Brize Norton, I got to travel to America

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quite a few times and I took advantage of

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doing a ski expedition to Germany.

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And now I’m in the Red Arrows. It’s

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it is very busy with

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travel and actually it’s

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probably the best post I will get whilst I’m in the military. So

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I’m eagerly going to make the most of it

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while some here and enjoy the travel I get.

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In my role it’s important to have good teamwork skills – leadership skills

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is also very important

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because you need to be able to tell people where to stand, what to do.

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You have to be able to make them feel confident and comfortable in the situation

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of taking their photos or videoing them.

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If I was to give myself any advice to my younger self, I would tell myself

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not to overthink, because over the years you will make plenty of mistakes.

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But these mistakes make you who you are and get you to a point in life

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where you’re meant to be.

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So try not to beat yourself up because

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we’re only human and we will make mistakes.

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So just try and plan and prep yourself as much as possible for every situation.

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And you can only do your best.


“When I joined the military, I wasn’t in the mindset that I wanted to travel…now I’m in the Red Arrows, it’s very busy with travel…so I’m eagerly going to make the most of it.”

Abi takes photographs for the Red Arrows and gets to sit in the back of the jet for the season and capture imagery from the air.

Realising she wasn’t enjoying sixth form, she left after a year and then had a year out. She came across the role at the Air Force while researching photographer jobs and hasn’t looked back.

More information about Photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

75%  male 
25%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Workers in this unit group operate and assist with still, cine and television cameras and operate other equipment to record, manipulate and project sound and vision for entertainment, cultural, commercial and industrial purposes.
There are no set academic requirements although entrants usually possess GCSEs/S grades, A levels/H grades and are able to demonstrate proof of pre- entry work experience. A variety of diplomas, degrees and postgraduate qualifications are available. NVQs/SVQs in Photography are available at Levels 2, 3 and 4.
  • Selects subject and conceives composition of picture or discusses composition with colleagues;
  • Arranges subject, lighting, camera equipment and any microphones;
  • Inserts lenses and adjusts aperture and speed settings as necessary;
  • Operates scanning equipment to transfer image to computer and manipulates image to achieve the desired effect;
  • Photographs subject or follows action by moving camera;
  • Takes, records and manipulates digital images and digital video footage;
  • Controls transmission, broadcasting and satellite systems for television and radio programmes, identifies and solves related technical problems;
  • Checks operation and positioning of projectors, vision and sound recording equipment, and mixing and dubbing equipment;
  • Operates equipment to record, edit and play back films and television programmes;
  • Manages health and safety issues;
  • Operates sound mixing and dubbing equipment to obtain desired mix, level and balance of sound.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Film &  music 18957
Employment activities 11399
Other professional 8467
Arts & entertainment 6523
Head offices, etc 6026
Broadcasting 5529
Publishing activities 4918
Gambling 3771
Sport & recreation 3734
Education 2489
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