Photographer, Commercial Salary

Commercial Photographers in the United States can expect only a modest salary, with average pay of just $45K annually. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Men account for the majority of Commercial Photographers who responded to the questionnaire — 62 percent to be exact. Most people in this profession are content with their work, and moderate levels of job satisfaction are reported. While nearly one in three report receiving no health benefits, more than half do receive medical coverage, and about one-half have dental, as well. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$29,765 - $75,067
$30K
$45K
$75K
MEDIAN: $45,375
10%
50%
90%

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$10.61 - $29.73
$11
$15
$30
MEDIAN: $15.28
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$26K$52K$78K
Salary
$29,765 - $75,067  
   
Bonus
$250.00 - $9,156  
Profit Sharing
$800  
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).
)
$24,594 - $74,148  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 130
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$13$26$39
Hourly Rate
$10.61 - $29.73  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.81  
Overtime
$17.22 - $37.72  
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$26K$52K$78K
Bonus
$250.00 - $9,156  
   
Profit Sharing
$800  
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).
)
$24,594 - $74,148  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 117

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United States (change)

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Job Description for Photographer, Commercial

The job of a commercial photographer is to photograph and document images which are often used in his/her company's promotional/advertising campaigns; these photographs may also be used in magazines, editorials, billboards, television commercials, and more. Aside from taking pictures for commercial use, these photographers may also be required to manipulate these images using computer software to achieve the company's desired feel and appearance.

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Photographer, Commercial Tasks

  • Photograph designated subjects, adjusting composition, and camera settings for optimal end result.
  • Schedule photo shoots, test equipment, and interpret client requests.
  • Review photographs and select the most suitable for the client.
  • Edit and deliver photos, providing metadata and context as necessary.

Photographer, Commercial Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Photographer, Commercial


Survey results suggest that Commercial Photographers put a wide range of professional skills to use. Most notably, skills in Product Photography, Adobe Photoshop, Editing, and Adobe Illustrator are correlated to pay that is above average. Those listing Graphic Design as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Adobe Illustrator and Editing also typically command lower compensation. Most people familiar with Adobe Photoshop also know Editing and Adobe Illustrator.

Pay by Experience Level for Photographer, Commercial

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


Commercial Photographers with a lot of experience tend to enjoy higher earnings. The average beginner in this position makes around $34K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $43K. On average, Commercial Photographers make $52K following one to two decades on the job. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $60K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $39,809

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For those looking to make money, Commercial Photographers in Chicago enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 54 percent above the national average. Commercial Photographers will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+23 percent) and New York (+2 percent). The lowest-paying market is Philadelphia, which sits 43 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Employers pay around 6 percent less in Los Angeles and 3 percent less in Atlanta, below-median salaries for those in this field.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Photographer, Commercial

Gender

Female
38 %
Male
62 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 21 votes.
Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
43%
5-9 years
26%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
10%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Photographer, Commercial Salaries

▲51%

▲30%

▲8%

National Average
$40,000

▼16%

Skills That Affect Photographer, Commercial Salaries

National Average
$40,000



▼5%

Adobe Illustrator
▼21%

Graphic Design
▼22%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 21 votes.

Gender

Female
38 %
Male
62 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
43%
5-9 years
26%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
10%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 63%
dental benefits
Dental: 49%
vision benefits
Vision: 40%
dental benefits
None: 33%
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