Those pursuing careers as Commercial Photographers in the United States may have to make do with less; average incomes for people in this area hover around only $46K annually. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. The majority of Commercial Photographers claim high levels of job satisfaction. Health benefits are not claimed by all — slightly less than a third lack any form of coverage — but more than half have medical insurance, and a little more than half have dental, too. Men make up the majority of Commercial Photographers (60 percent) survey respondents. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$29,933 - $74,159
(Median)
$30K
$46K
$74K
MEDIAN: $45,602
10%
50%
90%

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$10.43 - $30.00
(Median)
$10
$15
$30
MEDIAN: $15.00
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$25K$50K$75K
Salary
$29,933 - $74,159  
   
Bonus
$245.34 - $9,863  
Profit Sharing
$1,100  
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).
)
$24,357 - $73,008  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | 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
$10.43 - $30.00  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.81  
Overtime
$16.98 - $38.20  
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
$245.34 - $9,863  
   
Profit Sharing
$1,100  
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).
)
$24,357 - $73,008  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 119
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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

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

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Popular Skills for Photographer, Commercial


Commercial Photographers who responded to the survey report just a handful of professional skills. 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. Those proficient in Adobe Photoshop are, more often than not, also skilled in Editing and Adobe Illustrator.

Pay by Experience Level for Photographer, Commercial

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


Experience seems to be a major factor in determining the incomes of Commercial Photographers. The average beginner in this position makes around $33K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $46K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $52K. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $58K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $39,744

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

Commercial Photographers will find that Chicago offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 51 percent. Commercial Photographers will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+7 percent). One of the biggest compensable factors for Commercial Photographers is geography, with workers in Philadelphia earning a whopping 42 percent below the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in Los Angeles and Atlanta (3 percent lower).

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Experience Affects Photographer, Commercial Salaries




National Average
$40,000


Skills That Affect Photographer, Commercial Salaries

National Average
$40,000

Product Photography
up arrow 3%

Adobe Photoshop
up arrow 4%

up arrow 7%

Graphic Design
up arrow 21%

Adobe Illustrator
up arrow 21%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 24 votes.

Gender

Female
40 %
Male
60 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
43%
5-9 years
25%
10-19 years
16%
20 years or more
12%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 67%
dental benefits
Dental: 52%
medical benefits
Vision: 43%
dental benefits
None: 29%
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