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Cinematographer Salary

Cinematographers in the United States are largely men, earning an average of $46K annually. Pay generally varies between $31K and $177K per year. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Most Cinematographers like their work and job satisfaction is high. Just over two-fifths enjoy medical while just under a third get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to just under a fifth. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$29,421 - $101,806
(Median)
$29K
$46K
$100K
MEDIAN: $45,774
10%
50%
90%

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$20.82 - $97.44
(Median)
$21
$50
$97
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
$29,421 - $101,806  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,899  
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).
)
$31,160 - $176,921  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 43
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
$20.82 - $97.44  
   
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 - $9,899  
   
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).
)
$31,160 - $176,921  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 31

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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.


Relatively untried employees who have fewer than five years of experience earn around $45K on average. People who have worked for five to 10 years can expect a higher median salary of $65K. Those with 10 to 20 years of experience under their belts can expect their paychecks to flourish around the six-figure median of $120K. Survey respondents who have worked for more than 20 years actually report somewhat lower incomes of $108K.

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.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Cinematographer Salaries

Experienced
up arrow 89%

Late-Career
up arrow 70%

Mid-Career
up arrow 2%

National Average
$64,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 30%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 15 votes.

Gender

Female
7 %
Male
93 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
35%
5-9 years
38%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
11%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 42% dental benefits Dental: 31%
vision benefits Vision: 19% employee benefits None: 58%