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Cinematographer Salary

Men make up the majority of Cinematographers in the United States, bringing in about $49K annually. Lower pay rates hover around $35K, and the higher rates verge on $162K per year. Not all workers are lucky enough to have benefits; in fact, the larger part are without coverage. Medical insurance is claimed by just over two-fifths and dental insurance is reported by over a third. The majority of Cinematographers claim high levels of job satisfaction. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$30,356 - $105,704
(Median)
$30K
$49K
$110K
MEDIAN: $48,568
10%
50%
90%

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$20.62 - $87.17
(Median)
$21
$44
$87
MEDIAN: $43.00
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
$30,356 - $105,704  
   
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).
)
$34,711 - $161,689  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 38
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$33$66$99
Hourly Rate
$20.62 - $87.17  
   
Overtime
$1.64 - $98.63  
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$70K$140K$210K
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).
)
$34,711 - $161,689  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 27
United States (change)

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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Cinematographer Job Listings

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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 $65K on average. Experienced professionals who have spent one to two decades on the job can score lucrative paychecks that average out to $100K. Survey participants with more than two decades under their belts actually report earning less than people with less experience; the former take home only $96K on average.

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

Experience Affects Cinematographer Salaries

Experienced
up arrow 60%

Late-Career
up arrow 53%

Mid-Career
up arrow 4%

National Average
$63,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 30%

Job Satisfaction

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

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
93 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
40%
5-9 years
31%
10-19 years
17%
20 years or more
11%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 44% dental benefits Dental: 35%
vision benefits Vision: 23% employee benefits None: 56%