Photographer Salary

Earnings for Photographers in the United States come in at around $16.21 per hour on average. In the world of Photographers, overall cash earnings stretch from $22K near the bottom to $96K near the top; these packages encompass bonuses that run close to $7K and profit sharing that can (albeit rarely) exceed $5K, along with commissions approaching $29K. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by career length, but geography and the specific company are influential factors as well. Approximately one-half of professionals in this line of work do not receive benefits; however, slightly less than half report medical coverage and approximately one in three claim dental coverage as well. The majority of Photographers claim high levels of job satisfaction. Women make up a slight majority of Photographers (52 percent) survey respondents. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$24,255 - $75,648
$24K
$43K
$76K
MEDIAN: $42,792
10%
50%
90%

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$9.94 - $58.96
$9
$16
$59
MEDIAN: $16.21
10%
50%
90%

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$0$96K
Salary $24,255 - $75,648
Bonus $50.17 - $7,318
Profit Sharing $480.47 - $5,195
Commission $-0.49 - $29,361
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).
)
$21,806 - $96,216
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 25 Jul 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 805
Hourly Data $0$58
Hourly Rate $9.94 - $58.96
Hourly Tips $0.00 - $6.06
Overtime $9.26 - $36.01
Annual Data $0$96K
Bonus $50.17 - $7,318
Commission $-0.49 - $29,361
Profit Sharing $480.47 - $5,195
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).
)
$21,806 - $96,216
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 25 Jul 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 809

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Job Description for Photographer

Photographers use their creative and technical capabilities to capture photos of people, places, and things. Photographers generally spend a great deal of time coming up with ways to market their skills to the public, and they are often hired to take photos at memorable events such as weddings, birthdays, and graduations. They usually have in-depth knowledge of photo editing software which may or may not be used to enhance pictures. It is also common for photographers to offer photo album designs to serve as covers for customers' memorable photographs.

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Photographer Tasks

  • Take pictures either in studio or on location.
  • Work with clients or workplace teams to create photographic images.
  • Use creative knowledge to compose photographs.
  • Review sets of photographs to select the best work.
  • Operate various types of photographic and computer equipment to create photographic images.

Common Career Paths for Photographer


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As Photographers transition into upper-level roles such as Photography Director, they may see a strong upturn in salary. Photography Directors earn $64K on average per year. A Photographer often moves on to become a Commercial Photographer or a Graphic Artist & Designer.

Photographer Job Listings

Popular Employer Salaries for Photographer


Self-Employed leads the field in terms of pay, with a median salary of $35K.

Lifetouch, Inc. seems to offer the smallest paychecks with a median salary of only $24K. The pay range is quite narrow, too; compensation generally sits between $19K and $38K.

Popular Skills for Photographer


Photographers report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Lightroom, and Video Editing are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 23 percent, 13 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. Those listing Portrait Photography as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Customer Service and Sales also typically command lower compensation. Most people experienced in Adobe Photoshop also know Graphic Design.

Pay by Experience Level for Photographer

Pay by Experience for a Photographer has a positive trend. An entry-level Photographer with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $34,000 based on 876 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Photographer with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $41,000 based on 601 salaries. An experienced Photographer which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $46,000 based on 370 salaries. A Photographer with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $50,000 based on 163 salaries.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $40,248

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

For Photographers, Washington provides a pay rate that is 26 percent greater than the national average. Photographers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+24 percent), Indianapolis (+22 percent), Dallas (+20 percent), and Portland (+18 percent). Houston is the lowest-paying area, 11 percent south of the national average.

Photographer Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Photographer?

Photographer in Grand Prairie:
"I love it."
Pros: I get to greet people as they vome through. It is difficult sometimes because you have to deal with angry people ,but its worth it.you have to be able to accept rejection well cause you do get alot of people who dont want to take photos. However when you take the photos or you find out people but the photos you took it feels great.
Cons: Some customers are rude and will blame bad photos on you completely ,even if its nothing you could fix. I work in the sun all day.

Photographer in Temple City:
"I love photographing objects, the world, and people."
Pros: What I do, that is it.
Cons: Being underpaid. Getting pulled into drama because I work for a dysfunctional family. Receiving pay late. Unrealistic deadlines. Nobody cares about what I think or say.

Photographer in Bartlett:
"My job is as relaxed as it gets."
Pros:
Cons:

Photographer in Seattle:
"Awesome Work."
Pros: I love the atmosphere, the people, the fashion.
Cons: Terrible management. Zero support, zero employee validation.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Photographer

Gender

Female
52 %
Male
48 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 197 votes.
Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
26%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
10%
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Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Photographer Salaries

▲25%

▲15%

▲1%

National Average
$40,000

▼15%

Skills That Affect Photographer Salaries

Apple Final Cut Pro
▲23%


▲10%


Adobe Illustrator
▲8%

photographer
▲2%


▼0%

National Average
$40,000



▼3%

lighting
▼19%

▼20%


Portrait Photography
▼29%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 197 votes.

Gender

Female
52 %
Male
48 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
26%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
10%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 47%
dental benefits
Dental: 34%
vision benefits
Vision: 29%
no benefits
None: 51%
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