Photographer Salary

Average Photographers in the United States make around $43K per year. In the world of Photographers, overall income ranges from $21K near the bottom to $95K at the top; this can include more than $6K from bonuses and more than $8K from profit sharing in exceptional cases. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by career length, but the particular city and the specific company are influential factors as well. Work is enjoyable for Photographers, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Although around half have medical coverage and close to one-third have dental coverage, roughly one-half claim no health benefits at all. Women Photographers who took the survey just slightly outnumber men. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$24,085 - $75,540
$24K
$43K
$76K
MEDIAN: $42,559
10%
50%
90%

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$9.89 - $58.99
$9
$16
$59
MEDIAN: $16.15
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$32K$64K$96K
Salary
$24,085 - $75,540  
   
Bonus
$75.00 - $6,104  
Profit Sharing
$197.27 - $8,109  
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).
)
$21,388 - $95,282  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 4 May 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 837
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$20$40$60
Hourly Rate
$9.89 - $58.99  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $5.18  
Overtime
$9.79 - $36.42  
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
$75.00 - $6,104  
   
Commission
$-0.49 - $29,361  
Profit Sharing
$197.27 - $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).
)
$21,388 - $95,282  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 4 May 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 826

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United States (change)

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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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At the upper end, Photographers who move into a Photography Director role can end up with a hefty increase in pay. The average income for Photography Directors is a much higher $64K per year. A Commercial Photographer or a Graphic Artist & Designer is a typical transition from a Photographer role.

Photographer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Photographer


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

With a median salary of only $24K, Lifetouch, Inc. pays the least. It seems that the compensation range of $19K to $38K isn't that wide, either.

Popular Skills for Photographer


Photographers seem to wield many 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 24 percent, 14 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. Those familiar with Adobe Photoshop also tend to 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: $40,167

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 will also find cushy salaries in 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 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
51 %
Male
49 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 183 votes.
Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
26%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
11%
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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
▲24%


▲10%


Adobe Illustrator
▲8%


photographer
▲2%

▼0%


National Average
$40,000


▼3%

lighting
▼19%

▼20%


Portrait Photography
▼29%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 183 votes.

Gender

Female
51 %
Male
49 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
26%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
11%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 48%
dental benefits
Dental: 34%
vision benefits
Vision: 28%
no benefits
None: 50%
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