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Cinematographer Salary

Men represent the vast majority of Cinematographers in the United States. People in this role can earn an average of $45K per year nationwide. Earnings generally vary between $30K and $176K per year. Geography and tenure each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. The majority of Cinematographers claim high levels of job satisfaction. Medical benefits are awarded to about two in five, and just under a third earn dental coverage. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$26,631 - $98,454
(Median)
$27K
$45K
$98K
MEDIAN: $44,531
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
$26,631 - $98,454  
   
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).
)
$30,201 - $175,879  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 47
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).
)
$30,201 - $175,879  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 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.


Those who have worked for fewer than five years take home a median salary of $44K, and workers with five to 10 years of experience earn a higher $64K on average. Experienced professionals who have spent one to two decades on the job can score lucrative paychecks that average out to $105K. Respondents who boast more than two decades on the job don't boast commensurate pay, unfortunately; these veterans see average earnings of only $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.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Cinematographer Salaries

Experienced
up arrow 68%

Late-Career
up arrow 54%

Mid-Career
up arrow 3%

National Average
$62,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 29%

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
37%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
12%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 41% dental benefits Dental: 31%
vision benefits Vision: 18% employee benefits None: 59%
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