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Imagery Technician

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time

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Imagery Technicians are visual media specialists and are responsible for the operation, maintenance and management of a wide variety of imaging equipment and products. They provide both still and video coverage of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in support of operations, public affairs and internal communications.

Imagery Technicians operate still and video cameras; produce prints and video and multi-media products; perform quality control of products; and maintain imaging equipment.

The primary responsibilities of the Imagery Technician are to:

  • Produce still and video images
  • Use Infrared, Image Intensified, and thermal imagery equipment
  • Produce imagery using 3D animation
  • Download image data from imaging sensors to ground processing facilities
  • Process and duplicate aerial film
  • Catalogue, describe, store and retrieve imagery
  • Analyse, annotate and enhance imagery
  • Perform colour management on imagery systems
  • Produce imagery products
  • Maintain an imagery database
  • Test and evaluate new imaging equipment

Work environment

Imagery Technicians work alongside other CAF members, in the Army, Navy and Air Force to document the important events in the life and times of the Forces. They may work at any base in Canada, on ships at sea, and overseas as part of United Nations and NATO missions.

Career Overview




KUELZ: We are the eyes and ears of the Canadian Forces - the video journalists, photographers and editors who bring home the images that define and honour the work our soldiers do.

LANE: Images of combat and caring, precision and power, commitment and sacrifice - this is our mission and our pride.

I'm Corporal Evan Kuelz from Ottawa, Ontario, I'm an Imagery Technician with the Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre here in Ottawa.

And I'm Corporal Marcie Lane, an Imagery Technician originally from Petawawa, Ontario.

KUELZ: If you have a passion for video, photography and journalism and a yearning to be inside the story, then a career as an Image Tech in the Canadian Forces may be a perfect fit for you.



LANE: You can be out on a ship with the Navy sailing across the world, taking pictures of what it's like to be a sailor on a ship. Your next posting might be with the Air Force. You get the opportunity to fly in all sorts of different aircraft. Or you could be hanging off a tactical Griffon helicopter, taking pictures of an exercise. If it's the action that you like, your next posting could be on a combat arms base like Petawawa, Edmonton, Gagetown and you're right out there with the troops in the field, in their face, taking pictures of all the action.

KUELZ: But there's a lot more to being an Image Tech than just shooting video and taking photos.

I've worked Open Skies doing aerial photography over Europe, Sweden, Russia. I've had a chance to deploy to Afghanistan as a photographer, got to see a lot of the countryside and nice to be able to contribute in just a little way.

LANE: Nobody's standing beside you saying, "Take the photograph like this. Make sure you get this photograph". It\'s up to you to be creative, it's up to you to be unique and you have that independence in this trade to go out there and do your best and just put your own creative flair on all your photo shoots.

KUELZ: There's different rewards along the way. I think the greatest one is when you take a photograph and then later in the week or even down the road a couple of months, your parents give you a phone call and say, "You should check the front page of the Globe and Mail, one of your photos has made the cover."

If you're thinking of joining, you might be a lot like me. I studied graphic design in school, but I always had the military in the back of my mind as well. I started out in the Reserves with the infantry, then switched over to being an Image Tech full-time.

if you join us, you'll begin with the same basic training as all other soldiers. Then you'll head up to the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering in Borden, Ontario, about an hour north of Toronto.

LANE: When you get to Borden, you'll do a course that lasts a little under six months called the Imagery Technician Basic Photography Course. You'll learn the basics of lighting, composition, working with high-rank officials and taking formal military portraits.

KUELZ: You're earning your full salary and benefits while you're learning digital photography, multimedia, video camera operation, lighting and image editing -- skills that are in big demand in the civilian world as well.

LANE: When you finish the course at Borden, you're asked where you want to be posted. Most of the time, you'll get one of your three choices. You could be there for as long as 4 to 6 years. Once you're at your unit, you'll have 12 months to complete a portfolio that includes a formal portrait, sports action indoors and outdoors, technicians at work indoors and outdoors, that kind of thing. You send them in for grading and when you pass that course, you move on to a 3-month Advanced Photography Course back in Borden.

Something else I really like about our trade is you will travel. You'll have the opportunity to do a tour. Myself, I just got back from Afghanistan on a VIP trip, so we're in the villages of Kabul, working with the Canadian soldiers and you're capturing Canadians at their best.

KUELZ: We did a lot of investigation photography, some photos of battle damage on vehicles, so armour could be improved and to make sure the same incident wouldn't happen again. A lot of the pictures as well were of Taliban strongholds, so we could start gathering information on what type of equipment they're using and how they're deploying it.

When the military is out doing their job, it's usually in remote places and it's not easily accessible to the public or a lot of times, there's a lot of misconceptions of what the military is doing and as an Imagery Tech, you get a chance to sort of show the rest of Canada what the Armed Forces are doing and some of the great work that goes unnoticed.

I guess if I had to sum it all up, I'd say, "You go wherever the story takes you." I've been on foot patrols in Afghanistan documenting the mission of our troops over there. I've been on our Navy frigates and in our fighter jets. Incredible variety, good people and a great way to serve Canada doing something you love.

LANE: You're not only doing something diverse, you're doing something fun. Sometimes I come home from work and I can't believe I got paid to do that.


Related Civilian Occupations

  • Journalism Photographer
  • Video Camera Operator
  • Video Editor
  • Audio and Video Recording Technician


The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Imagery Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering in Borden, Ontario. Training takes approximately four months and includes:

  • Basic electricity and electronics
  • Use of video and still cameras, and appropriate lighting equipment
  • Processing of colour prints using automated equipment
  • Operation of digital acquisition and processing equipment
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Image management

Imagery Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Photojournalism
  • Advanced video production
  • Multi-media production techniques
  • Underwater photography
  • High-speed photography and videography techniques

Entry plans

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

If you already have a college diploma, the Forces will decide if your academic program matches the training criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military occupation training are required before being assigned.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at an Air Force Wing in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Imagery Technicians may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force. They are employed documenting events in the life and times of the CAF, with still or video imagery. When employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis, they usually serve at military locations within Canada.

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. Reserve Force members usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, the home unit will arrange for additional training for specialized skills. Training for Imagery Technicians takes about four months and is conducted at the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering in Borden, Ontario.

Air Reserve members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts and are employed in the same unit and perform the same job. Air Reserve members usually serve up to 12 days per month in a regular work day, with opportunities to serve full-time for short durations as needed. Reserve Force members are paid 92.8% of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.