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Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators - 51-9151.00

O*NET-SOC Description

Perform work involved in developing and processing photographic images from film or digital media. May perform precision tasks such as editing photographic negatives and prints.

Sample of Reported Job Titles

  • Digital Printer Operator
  • Film Processor
  • Film Technician
  • Lab Technician
  • Photo Lab Specialist
  • Photo Lab Technician (Photographic Laboratory Technician)
  • Photo Printer
  • Photo Specialist
  • Photo Technician

SOC Occupation Groups

51-0000 Production Occupations
51-9000 Other Production Occupations
51-9150 Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators
51-9151.00 Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators

Related Occupations


  • Apply paint, using airbrushes, pens, artists' brushes, cotton swabs, or gloved fingers to retouch or enhance negatives or photographs.
  • Clean or maintain photoprocessing or darkroom equipment, using ultrasonic equipment or cleaning and rinsing solutions.
  • Create prints according to customer specifications and laboratory protocols.
  • Dry prints or negatives using sponges, squeegees, mechanical air dryers, or drying cabinets.
  • Examine developed prints for defects, such as broken lines, spots, or blurs.
  • Examine drawings, negatives, or photographic prints to determine coloring, shading, accenting, or other changes required for retouching or restoration.
  • Examine quality of film fades or dissolves for potential color corrections, using color analyzers.
  • Fill tanks of processing machines with solutions such as developer, dyes, stop-baths, fixers, bleaches, or washes.
  • Immerse film, negatives, paper, or prints in developing solutions, fixing solutions, and water to complete photographic development processes.
  • Insert processed negatives and prints into envelopes for delivery to customers.
  • Load circuit boards, racks or rolls of film, negatives, or printing paper into processing or printing machines.
  • Load digital images onto computers directly from cameras or from storage devices, such as flash memory cards or universal serial bus (USB) devices.
  • Maintain records, such as quantities or types of processing completed, materials used, or customer charges.
  • Measure and mix chemicals to prepare solutions for processing, according to formulas.
  • Monitor equipment operation to detect malfunctions.
  • Operate machines to prepare circuit boards and to expose, develop, etch, fix, wash, dry, or print film or plates.
  • Operate scanners or related computer equipment to digitize negatives, photographic prints, or other images.
  • Operate special equipment to perform tasks such as transferring film to videotape or producing photographic enlargements.
  • Place sensitized paper in frames of projection printers, photostats, or other reproduction machines.
  • Produce color or black-and-white photographs, negatives, or slides, applying standard photographic reproduction techniques and procedures.
  • Produce timed prints with separate densities or color settings for each scene of a production.
  • Read work orders to determine required processes, techniques, materials, or equipment.
  • Reprint originals for enlargement or in sections to be pieced together.
  • Retouch photographic negatives or original prints to correct defects.
  • Review computer-processed digital images for quality.
  • Select digital images for printing, specify number of images to be printed, and direct to printer, using computer software.
  • Set automatic timers, lens openings, and printer carriages to specified focus and exposure times and start exposure to duplicate originals, photographs, or negatives.
  • Set or adjust machine controls, according to specifications, type of operation, or material requirements.
  • Shade negatives or photographs with pencils to smooth facial contours, soften highlights, or conceal blemishes, stray hairs, or wrinkles.
  • Splice broken or separated film and mount film on reels.
  • Thread filmstrips through densitometers or sensitometers and expose film to light to determine density of film, necessary color corrections, or light sensitivity.
  • Upload digital images onto Web sites for customers.

Detailed Work Activities

  • Apply decorative coloring to photographs or printed materials.
  • Clean production equipment.
  • Cut industrial materials in preparation for fabrication or processing.
  • Immerse objects or workpieces in cleaning or coating solutions.
  • Inspected printed materials or other images to verify quality.
  • Load digital images onto computers or websites.
  • Load materials into production equipment.
  • Maintain production or processing equipment.
  • Measure ingredients or substances to be used in production processes.
  • Mix substances to create chemical solutions.
  • Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
  • Operate digital imaging equipment.
  • Operate heating or drying equipment.
  • Operate photographic developing or print production equipment.
  • Position raw materials on processing or production equipment.
  • Prepare outgoing mail.
  • Read work orders or other instructions to determine product specifications or materials requirements.
  • Record operational or production data.
  • Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
  • Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.

Military Crosswalk Titles

  • Advanced Visual Information-Graphics Marine (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Advanced Visual Information-Photojournalism Marine (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Aerial Cameraman (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Biomedical Photography Technician (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Combat Camera (COMCAM) Officer (Marine Corps - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • Combat Graphics Specialist (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Combat Photographer (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Combat Videographer (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Communication Strategy and Operations Chief (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Dental Assistant (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Dental Assistant Apprentice (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Dental Assistant Craftsman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Dental Assistant Craftsman, Dental Hygienist (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Dental Assistant Helper (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Dental Assistant Journeyman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Dental Assistant Journeyman, Dental Hygienist (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • EH-38 Photographic Quality Control Technician (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Health Services Management (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Health Services Management Apprentice (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Health Services Management Craftsman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Health Services Management Craftsman, Health Information Technology (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Health Services Management Helper (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Health Services Management Journeyman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Health Services Management Journeyman, Health Information Technology (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Health Services Management Superintendent (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Health Services Technician (Coast Guard - Enlisted)
  • Hospital Corpsman (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Information System Technician (Coast Guard - Enlisted)
  • Mass Communications Specialist (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Medical Administration Specialty (Coast Guard - Warrant Officer only)
  • Photographic Officer (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • Photographic Quality Controlman (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Photojournalist Journeyman (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Pictorial Editor (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • Public Affairs (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Public Affairs Apprentice (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Public Affairs Craftsman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Public Affairs Helper (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Public Affairs Journeyman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Public Affairs Specialist (Coast Guard - Enlisted)
  • Public Information Specialty (Coast Guard - Warrant Officer only)
  • Visual Information Specialist (Army - Enlisted)

Apprenticeship Crosswalk Titles


DOT Crosswalk Titles

  • Airbrush Artist
  • Color-Printer Operator
  • Colorist, Photography
  • Computer-Controlled-Color-Photograph-Printer Operator
  • Contact Printer, Printed Circuit Boards
  • Contact Worker, Lithography
  • Developer
  • Developer, Automatic
  • Developer, Printed Circuit Board Panels
  • Film Developer
  • Film Laboratory Technician
  • Film Laboratory Technician I
  • Film Laboratory Technician II
  • Film Printer
  • Microfilm Processor
  • Mounter, Automatic
  • Photo Mask Pattern Generator
  • Photo Mask Processor
  • Photo Technician
  • Photograph Retoucher
  • Photographic Aligner, Semiconductor Wafers
  • Photographic Processor, Semiconductor Wafers
  • Photostat Operator
  • Print Developer, Automatic
  • Printer Operator, Black-and-White
  • Projection Printer
  • Rectification Printer
  • Reproduction Technician
  • Spotter, Photographic
  • Step-and-Repeat Reduction Camera Operator
  • Take-Down Sorter
  • Template Reproduction Technician
  • Utility Worker, Film Processing