Originally, the primary purpose of the Photographic Branch was to aid in the production and reproduction of maps, but later expanded to include such activities as the photo-lithography of maps and plans etc., photo transfers, production of silver prints from plans, heliography, production of negatives, bromide prints and lantern slides, and the production of photographic views.
As well as providing photographic services for the Survey Office and other Branches of the Lands Department, the Photographic Branch undertook photographic work on behalf of nearly every Government department (including the Main Roads Board and Sugar Bureau).
According to the Queensland Blue Book, the first Officer in Charge of the Photographic Branch was officially appointed in 1904. The head of the Branch was assisted by two assistant photographers and was under the immediate direction of the Chief Draftsman.
Following a review by the Public Service Commissioner in 1922, the structure of the Survey Office was revised and streamlined. Under the new structure, which came into effect on 1 October 1922, the Photographic Branch was subsumed by the Cartographic Branch.