Cinematographer Salary

A sizeable majority of Cinematographers in the United States are men. In this role, average pay is around $44K annually. The income range spans the entire spectrum between $30K and $177K per year. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Cinematographers. Two in five enjoy medical while slightly less than a third get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to just under a fifth. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$28,177 - $96,644
(Median)
$28K
$44K
$97K
MEDIAN: $44,405
10%
50%
90%

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$20.93 - $99.10
(Median)
$21
$50
$99
MEDIAN: $49.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$60K$120K$180K
Salary
$28,177 - $96,644  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,933  
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).
)
$30,050 - $176,657  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 52
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50$100$150
Hourly Rate
$20.93 - $99.10  
   
Overtime
$23.55 - $133.15  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$100K$200K$300K
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,933  
   
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).
)
$30,050 - $176,657  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 33
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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.


Folks with fewer than five years of experience take home $47K on average, and those who have worked for five to 10 years see a bigger median salary of $64K. Six-figure salaries surface after one to two decades on the job — experienced professionals in this group reap a six-figure median of $100K. Folks who claim more than 20 years of relevant experience actually report a comparatively lower median income of $96K.

Cinematographer Advice

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.

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Experience Affects Cinematographer Salaries

Experienced
up arrow 61%

Late-Career
up arrow 54%

Mid-Career
up arrow 3%

National Average
$62,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 25%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 14 votes.

Gender

Female
7 %
Male
93 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
35%
5-9 years
36%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
11%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 39% dental benefits Dental: 31%
vision benefits Vision: 18% employee benefits None: 61%
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