The average Freelance Photographer in the United States earns approximately $25.58 per hour. Residence and career duration each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Job satisfaction for Freelance Photographers is high. Women account for the majority of Freelance Photographers who responded to the questionnaire — 61 percent to be exact. Nearly one in eight report receiving medical coverage from their employers and fewer than one in ten collect dental insurance. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$14,681 - $66,384
(Median)
$15K
$29K
$66K
MEDIAN: $29,249
10%
50%
90%

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$12.02 - $101.81
(Median)
$12
$26
$100
MEDIAN: $25.00
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$70K$140K$210K
Salary
$14,681 - $66,384  
   
Bonus
$9,826  
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).
)
$20,836 - $207,445  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 26
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$50$100$150
Hourly Rate
$12.02 - $101.81  
   
Overtime
$15.00  
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$100K$200K$300K
Bonus
$9,826  
   
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).
)
$20,836 - $207,445  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 75
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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 who transition into a Fashion Photographer position may see pay fall slightly. Median compensation for Photographer, Fashions sits around the $44K per year mark. Many Freelance Photographers choose to become Photographers and Commercial Photographers as their careers advance. However, folks in those positions report median salaries of $18K less and $11K less, respectively.

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Pay by Experience Level for Freelance Photographer

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


Average salaries for inexperienced employees average out to around $44K, but folks who have five to 10 years of experience earn a higher median of $56K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $87K in this role. Folks with more than two decades of experience actually report lower incomes overall; their average comes out to a mere $52K.

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Experience Affects Freelance Photographer Salaries

Experienced
up arrow 68%

Mid-Career
up arrow 9%

Late-Career
up arrow 1%

National Average
$52,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 15%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 3 votes.

Gender

Female
61 %
Male
39 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
50%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
16%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 13%
dental benefits
Dental: 5%
medical benefits
Vision: 8%
dental benefits
None: 87%
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