ENGINEERING Photographer

As an RAF Photographer, you will play a varied range of roles, capturing everything from aerial reconnaissance images to public relations portraits.

Learn more about this role

Pay During First Six Months £16,840+ + Benefits

Pay Until Completion Of Phase Two Training* £21,420+ + Benefits

Is this for you?


  • Be aged 16 – 47 years old (Must attest before 48th birthday)
  • Minimum of GCSE grade C/4, Scottish National 5 grade C or equivalent in English Language and Mathematics
  • Be a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, holder of dual UK/other nationality or have been a Commonwealth citizen since birth
  • Commit minimum 3 years post Phase Two Training
  • Meet the health and fitness criteria
  • Pass the Defence Aptitude Assessment
  • Pass a Fitness test - Details below


  • Being creative
  • Travelling the world
  • Gaming & Computers

Apprenticeships available

Advanced Apprenticeship In Photo Imaging




  • Gather photographic evidence for engineering, security and accident investigations
  • Print target identification images for aircrew
  • Shoot video training films

Be the eyes of the RAF, and create high quality stills and video imagery to support Air Power during times of peace, and periods of conflict. To carry-out your role, you will learn photography skills from a highly respected training provider, which works closely with the internationally recognised British Institute of Professional Photography.

Once trained and assigned to your first Photographic Section, you will use cutting edge digital technology to produce stills and video imagery in a wide variety of disciplines: ceremonial, engineering, executive portraiture, scenes of crime, sports and VIP visits (including royalty).

After your first assignment, you could be part of a specialist photographer team; capturing air-to-air imagery of the Red Arrows to promote the RAF brand, processing aerial reconnaissance film to assist UK security forces, flying in rotary and transport aircraft recording airborne delivery trials, or being rapidly deployed worldwide to cover breaking news stories.


Thanks to subsidised food, travel, accommodation and free gym you get more money in your pocket.

Benefits Salary
Civilian Role
RAF Role
  • Rent from £75p/m
  • Free gym
  • Subsidised food
  • Health care
  • World travel
  • 6 weeks holiday

See All Benefits



Your career will start with a 10-week Basic Recruit Training Course at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you will also learn about the RAF lifestyle.


The next steps are specialist training courses at the Defence School of Photography (DSOP) RAF Cosford, near Wolverhampton.
Training consists of two packages: a 15 week Defence Visual Communicator Specialist (DVCS) (Foundation) course, followed by your first assignment to consolidate your basic skills, followed by a further 5 week DVCS (Practitioner) course.

You will be taught all aspects of still and moving imagery, where the training received will give you all the skills required to perform as a Visual Communicator within the RAF/MOD environment. As part of the course, you will be enrolled on an Advanced Apprenticeship scheme which you are given 18 months to complete.

More Details +


On your first tour, you will be assigned to a Photographic Section in the UK, where you will put into practice and develop the skills you have learnt during foundation training. Over this time, you will also complete your Workbook which is a prerequisite for to undertake your DVCS (Practitioner) course.


As a Photographer, where eligible, you will gain a Level 3 Diploma* (or similar) in Photo Imaging when the Advanced Apprenticeship is completed. Therefore, there will also be scope for an NVQ Level 4 in Digital Photography and Imaging as you continue through the ranks, and/or you could use your Enhanced Learning Credits and study for a Degree.

With training received there is also an opportunity to apply for membership to the British Institute of Professional Photography and the Royal Photographic Society.

*Due to a recent course redesign, the current Apprenticeship construct is being realigned, (but is likely to be level 3 or above)


As your career progresses, we will continue to train you in new skills. The Defence Professional Video Techniques course will teach you how to capture and edit moving imagery.
Whilst the Defence Media Operations Photographer course will give you the skills and knowledge required to provide targeted audiences with stills and video imagery relating to RAF and Defence key messages.
There may also be an opportunity for you to learn how to fly Remotely Piloted Air Systems (Drones), to capture imagery from an aerial platform.
You could also have opportunities to complete management and leadership training as you career progresses beyond Air Specialist Class 1.


The start of your DVCS Foundation and the end of DVCS Practitioner courses are programmed to be completed in approximately 12 months, after successful completion, you will be eligible for promotion to Air Specialist Class 1 (AS(1)).
Further promotion to the rank of Corporal and beyond is on merit by competitive selection.


The qualifications you can earn are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF - which means that whenever you decide to leave the RAF, you will be well placed to find a new job. These could include press photographer, commercial and industrial photographer, crime scene photographer, medical photographer, or employment within TV and video production.



Your training will start with a Basic Recruit Training Course consisting of 4 weekends at your chosen RAF Reserves Squadron, followed by a 15-day residential training course at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. This training course will prepare you for service life in one of the most respected military forces in the world; it is also designed to help you tune into the military environment and way of life. As well as military training, you will learn about the core values, code of conduct and history of the RAF, as well as its unique lifestyle.


After successfully completing initial training, you will be trained for your specific role in the RAF either at your squadron or another RAF station in the UK.

Commitment and location

You will have to commit to 27 days per year for 12 years minimum.

Each year includes a 15-day block for general RAF training, and 12 separate days for extra training or exercises.

You might be deployed to a UK or overseas base for up to 6 months after the first year.



You must be a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, holder of dual UK/other nationality or have been a Commonwealth citizen since birth.

Be aged 16 – 47 years old (Must attest before 48th birthday)

*Until at least you have completed one year of service and successfully completed Professional Workplace Assessments on first posting.


Applicants will be expected to hold a minimum of GCSE grade C/4, Scottish National 5 grade C or equivalent in English Language and Mathematics and to achieve the required Defence Aptitude Assessment score.


You must be a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, holder of dual UK/other nationality or have been a Commonwealth citizen since birth (with ‘right to work’ immigration status).

Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have resided there for the 5 years immediately preceding your application. However, candidates with a minimum of 3 years will be considered.


You must be physically fit to complete both initial and specialist training, and to do your role effectively. To check your fitness levels, we put every candidate through at least two separate fitness tests as part of the application process.

The first of these is the Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT) which takes place at a fitness centre local to you. This consists of the following:

  • 2.4km (1.5m) run on a treadmill (set to zero incline)
  • Achieve the required number of press-ups - within 60 seconds
  • Achieve the required number of sit-ups - within 60 seconds

The second fitness test will take place at RAF Halton on day one of your initial training. This consists of the following:

  • Achieving the required score on the Multi-Stage Fitness Test (MSFT or Bleep test)
  • Achieve the required number of press-ups - within 60 seconds
  • Achieve the required number of sit-ups - within 60 seconds

How fit you need to be to pass these tests can vary depending on role, age and gender. The requirements are listed on the charts below (Male and Female).

MALES - 100% pass rates:
AGE 2.4 Km Run Multi-Stage Fitness Test Press-ups Sit-ups
  (Mins) (Score) (No.) (No.)
15-16 11.39 9.03 20 35
17-29 11.11 9.10 20 35
30-34 11.36 9.04 19 32
35-39 12 8.09 18 29
40-44 12.26 8.03 17 26
45-47 12.54 7.07 16 23


FEMALES - 100% pass rates:
AGE 2.4 Km Run Multi-Stage Fitness Test Press-ups Sit-ups
  (Mins) (Score) (No.) (No.)
15-16 13.54 6.07 10 32
17-29 13.23 7.02 10 32
30-34 13.47 6.08 9 29
35-39 14.13 6.04 8 26
40-44 14.48 5.08 7 23
45-47 15.19 5.04 6 20

You can see the protocols for Press Ups & Sit Ups here:

PJFT/PRFV Protocols

You can download an MP3 file of the Multi-Stage Fitness Test below, listen to the introduction file first:


RAF MSFT: Bleep Test

You can see a video demonstration of the PRFV Fitness Test here:

RAF PRFV Fitness Test

A 12-week fitness plan with detailed information to help you get ready for all of the fitness tests can be downloaded here.



There are health requirements that must be met by all applicants:

  • Body Mass Index requirements:
Age Male and female minimum Male and female maximum Male maximum with additional assessment Female maximum with additional assessment
18 + 18 28 32 30
16 to < 18 17 27 27 27
  • Eyesight requirements vary for different roles. A requirement to wear glasses or contact lenses may be allowed for aircrew.

Get in touch if you have any questions about the health criteria, or would like to find out if any additional health requirements apply to your role of interest.


The Medical Risk Assessment that all candidates undergo is there to make sure that you are healthy enough for the intense training required by the RAF. Your application will be rejected if you fail to meet the minimum acceptable medical standard for entry. Your medical history is confidential and is not disclosed to those not authorised to hold this information.



  • Declare any previous spent and unspent convictions
  • Check if you qualify under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 through this summary
  • Have a basic background check to get Security Check level clearance



  • Have been or are a member of a group that stirs up racial hatred and violence
  • Are waiting to appear in court, or have unspent convictions. You may also have to declare spent convictions for certain roles
  • Misuse drugs, solvents and anabolic steroids. But each case is considered upon its own merits
  • Have tattoos, brands or bead implants that are obscene or offensive. 
    Any permanent or temporary tattoos, whether ordinarily visible or not, must not be obscene or offensive (eg, racist, anti-religion or belief, crude, overtly sexist, homophobic, drug related or of an extreme political nature). Tattoos may be worn on the side and back of the neck but tattoos on the back of the neck must not extend above the natural hairline (scalp tattoos are not permitted). In addition, tattoos must not be visible below the sleeve cuff while wearing uniform, although a single finger (not thumb) tattoo that could be covered by a ring may be permitted
  • Have body piercing which causes holes that do not close up
  • Declare yourself to be an 'undischarged' bankrupt

If you don’t have any of the above, you might still be able to apply. For more information contact your local AFCO.


Start your application here.

Register Interest