Cinematographers in the United States take home an average $49K annually. Career length is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. While roughly one-half report receiving no health benefits, approximately half do receive medical coverage, and just under a third have dental, as well. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Among survey respondents, men are more common than women; 86 percent of Cinematographers are male. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$24,697 - $102,702
(Median)
$25K
$49K
$100K
MEDIAN: $49,116
10%
50%
90%

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$9.68 - $98.26
(Median)
$9
$30
$98
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
$24,697 - $102,702  
   
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).
)
$22,431 - $176,012  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 82
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$90$180$270
Hourly Rate
$9.68 - $98.26  
   
Overtime
$14.30 - $242.40  
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$180K$360K$540K
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).
)
$22,431 - $176,012  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 39
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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.


For Cinematographers, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. Someone who has worked for fewer than five years earns around $47K on average. Individuals with five to 10 years of experience don't get much more, though; the average income in this group is $51K. On average, Cinematographers make $64K following one to two decades on the job. Old hands boasting more than twenty years of relevant experience report pay that is more or less commensurate with that extensive experience; average earnings for this group come out to approximately $70K.

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

Late-Career
up arrow 33%

Experienced
up arrow 23%

National Average
$52,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 2%

Entry-Level
up arrow 9%

Skills That Affect Cinematographer Salaries

National Average
$52,000

Video Editing
up arrow 1%

lighting
up arrow 20%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 7 votes.

Gender

Female
14 %
Male
86 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
45%
5-9 years
27%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
6%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 48%
dental benefits
Dental: 30%
medical benefits
Vision: 25%
dental benefits
None: 50%
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