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Freelance Photographer Salary

Commissions constitute a big slice (just over two-fifths on average) of overall compensation for Freelance Photographers, and the median take-home for this group lies near $45K. The bottom of the pay range sits near $10.07 per hour, and the top verges on $103.16244450258382. Experience level is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Men are slightly outnumbered by their female counterparts who answered the questionnaire, who make up a slight majority at 53 percent. Fewer than one in ten report receiving medical and dental coverage from their employers and less than 10 percent collect vision insurance. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Freelance Photographers. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$17,210 - $74,497
(Median)
$17K
$29K
$74K
MEDIAN: $29,479
10%
50%
90%

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$10.07 - $103.16
(Median)
$10
$25
$100
MEDIAN: $24.00
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$80K$160K$240K
Salary
$17,210 - $74,497  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,787  
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).
)
$20,329 - $211,106  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 36
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$60$120$180
Hourly Rate
$10.07 - $103.16  
   
Overtime
$10.14 - $151.01  
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$120K$240K$360K
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,787  
   
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).
)
$20,329 - $211,106  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 112

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Job Description for Freelance Photographer

Freelance photographers usually find that the job has two sides, a creative side that involves the photography of subjects and a business side. Most photographers find the creative elements of the job to be rewarding enough to be willing to endure the vagaries and hassles of the business side. Most photographers will specialize somewhat in the subject matter they shoot. This specialty is usually based upon the aptitude and interest of the photographer. For instance, some photographers will work in nature and landscapes. Others will work in urban settings or portraiture. Some may specialize in sports work.

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Freelance Photographer Tasks

  • Edit photos.
  • Determine and use the best photography equipment for the situation.
  • Perform photo shoots for clients.
  • Meet with clients to discuss needs.

Common Career Paths for Freelance Photographer


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Freelance Photographers may not see large compensation differences if they transition into an upper-level role such as Commercial Photographer. Commercial Photographers on average make about as much as Freelance Photographers do. A lot of Freelance Photographers advance their careers by becoming Photographers and Graphic Designers. However, those positions offer $13K less and $6K less per year on average.

Freelance Photographer Job Listings

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Pay by Experience Level for Freelance Photographer

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $36K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $51K. Freelance Photographers see a median salary of $59K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Survey participants with more than two decades under their belts actually report earning less than people with less experience; the former take home only $41K on average.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Freelance Photographer Salaries

Experienced
up arrow 30%

Mid-Career
up arrow 14%

National Average
$45,000

Late-Career
up arrow 8%

Entry-Level
up arrow 20%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 18 votes.

Gender

Female
53 %
Male
47 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
48%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
22%
20 years or more
7%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 6% dental benefits Dental: 6%
vision benefits Vision: 5% employee benefits None: 93%
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