For Cinematographers, yearly average wages total $50K annually. Experience level is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. The vast majority (84 percent) of Cinematographers who answered the questionnaire are male. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — a little less than half lack coverage. On the flip side, more than half have medical insurance and approximately one in three receive dental plans. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
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$25,892 - $102,491
$26K
$50K
$100K
MEDIAN: $50,050
10%
50%
90%

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$9.71 - $99.55
$9
$30
$100
MEDIAN: $29.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$60K$120K$180K
Salary
$25,892 - $102,491  
   
Bonus
$1,000  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$22,601 - $166,400  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 83
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$60$120$180
Hourly Rate
$9.71 - $99.55  
   
Overtime
$19.27 - $154.56  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$120K$240K$360K
Bonus
$1,000  
   
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$22,601 - $166,400  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 41

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United States (change)

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Job Description for Cinematographer

When filming scenes for movies, television, or instructional or educational videos, a cinematographer fills a key role. He or she acts as the eyes of the director, typically working with that person to figure out what the vision of the film should be. The cinematographer then brings this vision into being by choosing the different ways and techniques the filmed or video project will be shot.

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Pay by Experience Level for Cinematographer

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Cinematographers with a lot of experience do not necessarily enjoy more money. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $49K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $57K. Cinematographers claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $64K. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $70K.

Cinematographer Advice

Q: What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?

Cinematographer in New York:
"Networking Is Very Important."
It is important that you stay in touch with your colleagues as well as potential employers. You cannot wait for them to find you.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Cinematographer

Gender

Female
16 %
Male
84 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 6 votes.
Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
44%
5-9 years
27%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
6%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Cinematographer Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 27%

Experienced
up arrow 17%

Mid-Career
up arrow 4%

National Average
$55,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 11%

Skills That Affect Cinematographer Salaries

National Average
$55,000

lighting
up arrow 5%


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 6 votes.

Gender

Female
16 %
Male
84 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
44%
5-9 years
27%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
6%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 52%
dental benefits
Dental: 34%
vision benefits
Vision: 26%
dental benefits
None: 47%
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