Professional Photography Salaries
Find out what you might earn once you become a photographer.
Factors That Influence Salary
Each photographer is different, and there are any number of factors that could affect your earning potential. Here are some of the most common variables that may affect your photography paycheck:
- Will you live in a large city or a smaller town? Cost of living is a factor when you live in a cities as opposed to rural locations.
- How much work experience will you have? As you gain experience and build a client base (if you're self-employed), you may be able to charge more for your services. Or if you take a salaried position at a company, you may command a higher paycheck from your employer.
- Will you have a photography degree? While this is a career you can do without a degree, having those credentials can make you more hirable in a variety of fields.
- Will you be working full time? Especially if you're self-employed, you can set your own hours. However, the number of hours you work will directly affect your photography salary.
- What kind of photography will you do? Different kinds of work will command different photography salaries (see chart below).
Average Photography Salaries
There are many paths you can take in professional photography. Here is what you can expect to earn in various industries within photography:
|Industry||Median Annual Salary*|
|Motion Picture and Video Industry||$73,415|
Sources: Salary.com's June 2012 Survey; Camera Operator, Television and Motion Picture; Photographer, Scientific; Photographer.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
Start Earning a Professional Photography Salary
Ready to start earning a professional photographer salary? Getting career training is a good first step. Find photography schools in our directory, and prepare for a future in professional photography.
Photographer Career Guide
- Job Description
- Reasons to Attend Photography Schools
- Choosing a Degree
- Photography Courses: What You'll Study
- Should You Go to an Online School?
- How Far Should You Take Your Education?
- Portfolio Tips
- Photographer Profile