Photographers in the United States can expect wages of $15.40 per hour on average. Cash earnings for Photographers — including $10K in bonuses and $8K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $21K to $90K depending on individual performance. The specific employer is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure and location. Women Photographers who took the survey just slightly outnumber men. Job satisfaction for Photographers is high. Not all workers are lucky enough to have benefits; in fact, approximately one-half are without coverage. Medical insurance is claimed by approximately half and dental insurance is reported by nearly one-third. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Read More
$24,143 - $75,180
(Median)
$24K
$42K
$75K
MEDIAN: $41,885
10%
50%
90%

Add this chart to your site: 640px    300px

$9.74 - $51.48
(Median)
$9
$15
$51
MEDIAN: $15.00
10%
50%
90%

Add this chart to your site: 640px    300px

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$31K$62K$93K
Salary
$24,143 - $75,180  
   
Bonus
$96.35 - $9,735  
Profit Sharing
$15.10 - $8,109  
Commission
$0.03 - $10,304  
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).
)
$20,955 - $90,149  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 799
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$18$36$54
Hourly Rate
$9.74 - $51.48  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $6.21  
Overtime
$7.91 - $38.25  
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$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$96.35 - $9,735  
   
Commission
$0.03 - $10,304  
Profit Sharing
$15.10 - $8,109  
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).
)
$20,955 - $90,149  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 806
United States (change)

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)


Employers: Start Here »

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.

Read More...

Photographer Tasks

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

Common Career Paths for Photographer


Add this chart to your site:   640px 640px    300px 300px


Photographers' salaries may rise greatly for those who assume a higher-end position such as a Photography Director. The average Photography Director brings home $64K per year. More often than not, a Commercial Photographer role is the next step for Photographers moving up in the field. Commercial Photographers usually make $41K per year. Many other Photographers choose to take on a Graphic Artist & Designer role, where salaries are typically $36K.

Photographer Job Listings

Search for more jobs:

Popular Employer Salaries for Photographer


Those at Self-Employed can expect to make the most, with the company offering a median salary of $44K.

Popular Skills for Photographer


Photographers seem to wield many skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Retouching, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Lightroom are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 32 percent, 26 percent, and 17 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. For most people, competency in Adobe Photoshop indicates knowledge of Graphic Design.

Pay by Experience Level for Photographer

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


For many Photographers, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $34K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $41K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $46K. Photographers who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are only slightly higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years; the more senior group makes around $51K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $39,502

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

For Photographers, busy San Francisco offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 28 percent above the national average. Photographers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Washington (+26 percent), Indianapolis (+24 percent), Dallas (+24 percent), and Seattle (+19 percent). With compensation 7 percent below the national average, Miami is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market.

Photographer Reviews

What is it like working as a Photographer?

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

United States (change)

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)


Employers: Start Here »

Experience Affects Photographer Salaries




National Average
$40,000


Skills That Affect Photographer Salaries

Retouching
up arrow 32%

Apple Final Cut Pro
up arrow 26%

Adobe Lightroom
up arrow 17%



Adobe Photoshop
up arrow 1%

Photography
up arrow 1%

Editing
0%

National Average
$40,000

Product Photography
up arrow 1%


Adobe Illustrator
up arrow 8%

lighting
up arrow 11%

up arrow 20%

Customer Service
up arrow 25%

Portrait Photography
up arrow 27%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 170 votes.

Gender

Female
52 %
Male
48 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
27%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
11%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 49%
dental benefits
Dental: 34%
medical benefits
Vision: 29%
dental benefits
None: 49%
ADVERTISEMENT