HOW MUCH DOES A PHOTOGRAPHER MAKE? Current Photographers’ Salary (2023 Updated)

How much does a photographer make
Image source: LuminarNeo

Although you’re probably familiar with the responsibilities of a photographer, you might be curious as to what a photo producer does and how much they make. Whether their businesses are capturing pictures of athletic events, movie premieres, underwater scenes, or client commercials, their pay differs, and besides photography producers manage the business aspect of photography sessions. Here in this post, you will get to know how much a photographer makes in a year, month, or week even as a beginner

How Much Does a Photographer Make?

Photographers produce a variety of visual images for either artistic or commercial objectives using their knowledge and a wide range of professional gear. Photographers’ careers can be personally and professionally fulfilling, but they typically require innate skills and years of experience.

What Is the Job of a Photographer?

Photographers create photos that capture and preserve various moments in time using their technical expertise, imagination, and technology. Photographers can operate in a variety of categories depending on the topic matter.

Commercial and industrial photographers frequently have to travel to a certain area in order to take pictures of a variety of topics, including products, scenery, or buildings. An average photographer’s yearly salary is $43,114. But as you can expect, there is a wide range of what a photographer can make. The usual range is from $14,000 to $102,000 each year.

Types Of Photographers

The location and type of photographer you are are the two key elements that affect how much money you can make. Below are the types of photographers:

#1. Portrait Photographers

They are frequently engaged in snapping photos of people or groups of people during specific events in their lives or for different purposes. Either they travel to venues for different occasions, such as weddings, school activities, or ceremonies, or they operate in their own studio.

#2. Aerial Photographers

Use drones, helicopters, and airplanes to take aerial pictures of locations, structures, and events. They frequently need specialist tools, such as gyrostabilizers, which help stabilize images despite aircraft motion.

#3. Professional Photographers

They employ photography to precisely document different events or scientific information. There is often little to no photo editing because the subject needs to be represented precisely in the image.

#4. Photojournalists or News Photographers.

They are paid to capture pictures of newsworthy people, locations, and events by media outlets like newspapers, television stations, magazines, and journals. The majority of news photographers are also proficient videographers.

#5. Photographing Artists

I create artistic photographs, then market them as fine art. For all types of photography, talent and technical proficiency are necessary, but art photographers, also need creativity and aesthetic ability.

Average Income

Photographers’ salaries vary depending on a number of variables, including the nature of the photography work, the employer, work experience, and geographic region. Photographers that focus on seasonal events may earn more or less depending on the season. Although updated income averages may be found on Indeed, and some wages range from $7.25 to $41.55 per hour, the national average for photographers in the United States is $17.13 per hour.

Location-Based Salaries

The amount of money that photographers can make is significantly influenced by their geographic location. Depending on the state in which they operate, photographers with the same specialization, talent, and competence may be paid differently for the same type of work.

How You Can Increase Your Photography Income

In order to capture better photos and earn more money as a photographer, you usually need to develop both your professional and marketing talents (to attract better-paying customers). If you are recruited by a company, developing your talents may enable you to request a pay raise. The following advice will help you earn more money as a photographer:

#1. Increase Your Freelance Work

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that until 2028, employment opportunities for photographers will decline by 6%. However, over the same time period, the job outlook for independent photographers is expected to improve by up to 12%. You’ll have greater freedom as a freelance photographer to pursue paying gigs and broaden your portfolio. This implies that rather than working for a single customer, you may end up being hired by numerous people or businesses who require excellent photography.

#2. Utilize Websites that Sell Stock Photos

A photographer can generate a sizable passive income by selling their images to stock photography websites. You may sell your photos on a number of stock photography websites for a fee that can range from a few cents to a dollar or more each time someone decides to purchase one of your images. You will generate more passive revenue as you upload more photos. A portfolio’s growth can be laborious, but once it reaches a certain point, it will begin to generate ongoing passive income.

#3. Boost Your Communication Abilities

Photographers frequently have to interact with people. Your reputation will likely increase and your long-term potential revenues will likely increase if you accurately comprehend the wants and desires of your clients, and actively propose the best solutions for diverse problems. Similar to how having the right interpersonal skills will help while photographing people, doing so will result in higher-quality images that will eventually bring in more money.

#4. Boost Your Business Acumen.

Making wise business decisions can boost the overall income of independent photographers because they are responsible for running their own companies. Having a strong understanding of your local market and knowing how to sell yourself will probably help you get more lucrative clients. Additionally, being knowledgeable about different legal matters, such as trademark and copyright regulations, will assist you to avoid incurring any potential legal costs.

#5. Take Up a Job Outside of Your Primary Field of Competence.

Working exclusively in your chosen field is a terrific way to build a name for yourself and achieve long-term success, but occasionally taking on work in other facets of photography may help you grow your clientele and raise your earnings. A wedding photographer who also specializes in newborn infant photography is an example of how some fields are complementary to one another. Others call for the use of comparable abilities and tools, with wildlife photographers potentially making ideal sports photographers because of their proficiency in capturing moving things.

#6. Part-time Photo Editor Work.

In order to meet particular quality requirements, the majority of images require substantial editing and post-processing. Many photographers choose to outsource their photo editing because it is typically a time-consuming and demanding endeavor. There are numerous websites where editors can find employment possibilities. Part-time editing for other photographers will boost your overall income while also enhancing your editing abilities and possibly opening up new photographic chances.

States Where Photographers Get Paid the Most

  • $48,672 a year ($23.40 an hour) in Hawaii
  • $48,663 per year ($23.40 per hour) in Massachusetts
  • $46,987 per year ($22.59 per hour) in Rhode Island
  • $46,113 per year ($22.17 per hour) in North Dakota
  • $45,844 per year ($22.04 per hour) in Alaska

States Where Photographers are Paid the Least

  • $35,158 per year ($16.90 per hour) in North Carolina
  • $34,950 per year ($16.80 per hour) in Alabama
  • $34,838 per year ($16.75 per hour) in New Mexico
  • $33,730 per year ($16.22 per hour) in Florida
  • Mississippi’s annual salary is $33,631 ($16.17 per hour).

How Much Does a Photographer Make a Year?

Pay for photographers might vary greatly. The amount of money you make as a photographer can vary depending on your area, geography, and the industry you operate in.

According to, the average yearly wage for a photographer working in the US in 2020 was $66,116. However, there are differences in the pay grade for photographers; in the same year, the top ten percent of photographers made $83,367, while the worst ten percent made about $40,767.

On the other hand, in the UK, a photographer currently makes an average salary of about £44,112. Since only 15% of independent photographers earn between £20,000 and £30,000 annually, working as a freelance photographer may result in a slightly lower yearly income.

Countries With the Highest Photography Income

Your income potential as a photographer is influenced by your education, experience, and marketing strategies. But how much money you can make also depends on where you live, possibly the most.

We’ve ranked these five nations from high to low based on how much their wedding photographers make on average annually (translated into USD) to demonstrate how income can vary depending on your location:

  • Switzerland – CHF 77,511 ($87,171.82) annually
  • America – $45,775 USD annually
  • Australia – $54,544 AUD ($40,488) annually
  • Canada -$49,263 CAD ($38,501 USD) year
  • UK: £20,816 ($27,825.06 USD) annually

How much money do photographers make then? This information shows that a photographer’s pay varies greatly between continents. The nation where photographers make the most money isn’t quite clear-cut, though, because different nations have varying values for their currencies and some have a higher cost of living.

How Much Does a Photographer Make a Month?

In the United States, a photographer makes an average monthly salary of $3,752. While ZipRecruiter reports monthly earnings for photographers as high as $8,583 and as low as $1,250, most photographer incomes in the US are now between $2,250 (25th percentile) and $4,167 (75th percentile). The wide variation in the average salary for a photographer (up to $1,917) implies that there may be numerous options for career growth and higher income based on experience level, location, and skill level.

According to recent job ads on ZipRecruiter, Atlanta, Georgia, and the surrounding area have a very active job market for photographers. In your region, a photographer’s average monthly payment is $3,744, which is $8 (or 0%) less than the $3,752 national average. Out of 50 states, Georgia is ranked 49th in terms of photographer salary.

As millions of current jobs are listed locally around America, ZipRecruiter regularly analyzes our database to determine the most precise monthly salary range for Photographer positions.

What are the Top 10 Cities with the Highest Paying Photographer Jobs?

In ten cities, which we’ve identified, salaries for jobs as photographers typically exceed the national average. San Mateo, California, comes out on top, followed closely by Boston, Massachusetts, and Daly City, California, in the second and third spots. Daly City, California exceeds the national average by $7,069 (15.7%), and San Mateo, California continues this trend by exceeding the $45,029 average by an additional $8,082 (17.9%).

City Annual Salary Hourly Wage
San Mateo, CA $53,112 $25.53
Boston, MA $52,789 $25.38
Daly City, CA $52,099 $25.05
Berkeley, CA $52,063 $25.03
Renton, WA $52,045 $25.02
Santa Monica, CA $52,025 $25.01
Lowell, MA $51,391 $24.71
Green River, WY $51,061 $24.55
Irvine, CA $50,496 $24.28
Newark, NJ $50,198 $24.13

What are the Top 5 Highest Paying Photographer Jobs in the United States?

There are at least five positions in the Photographer job category that pay more annually than the average Photographer’s salary, according to our research. Wedding, travel, and food photographers are a few prominent examples of these positions.

Importantly, all of these positions pay between $36,890 (81.9%) and $81,350 (180.7%) more than the $45,029 average wage for photographers. If you meet the requirements, you could be able to earn more money than the typical Photographer work by being hired for one of these related positions.

Job Title Annual Salary Hourly Wage
Wedding Photographer $126,379 $60.76
Travel Photographer $85,623 $41.16
Food Photographer $82,154 $39.50
Unit Photographer $82,061 $39.45
Director of Photography $81,919 $39.38

How Much Does a Photographer Make a Week?

In the US, a photographer makes an average weekly salary of $866. In the United States, the majority of photographer salaries currently fall between $519 (25th percentile) and $962 (75th percentile). The wide variation in the average compensation for a photographer (up to $442) may indicate that there are several prospects for promotion and greater pay based on skill level, location, and years of experience.

According to recent job ads on ZipRecruiter, Atlanta, Georgia, and the surrounding areas have a very active job market for photographers. In your region, a photographer’s average weekly wage is $864, which is $1 (or 0%) less than the $866 national average. Out of 50 states, Georgia is ranked 49th in terms of average photographer salary.

As millions of current jobs are listed locally around America, ZipRecruiter regularly analyzes our database to determine the most precise weekly wage range for photographer positions.

How Much Does a Beginning Photographer Make?

Photographers are in response to both the actual and digital creation of their images, as well as some or all of the editing that occurs afterward. Simple editing techniques include cropping an image, adding or removing colors and shading, adjusting the sharpness and lighting, and removing objects from the image to make it look cleaner.

There are many photographic subgenres one might choose to specialize in, such as:

#1. Wedding Photography

The art of wedding photography is very specialized. One of the most significant and memorable days in a person’s life is often their wedding day, and they will remember it for a very long time. Most couples won’t be content with common photographs as a consequence. Professional wedding photographers are hired to take creative, spontaneous, and beautiful images throughout the wedding ceremony and reception to record the couple’s memorable moments.

Prior to photographing a wedding, the photographer speaks with the clients for several months, if not up to a year or more. In order for the couple to feel comfortable enough to show their true personalities on the wedding day, it is essential to get to know the clients, and discover their likes, dislikes, and ultimate aim. The future bride and groom, as well as the photographer, sign a customary written agreement after the terms have been agreed upon.

After the event, the photos are processed as soon as possible, the wedding photographer meets with the couple to check through the photos, and the purchase details are confirmed. Excellent customer service is crucial both before and after the event since strong relationships with customers can result in future family photos and child portraits.

#2. Fashion Photography

In addition to collaborating with hairdressers, fashion stylists, makeup artists, and fashion designers, fashion photographers also work with them to capture clothing, accessories, and models. A fashion photographer may work as a freelancer or an employee for a fashion designer, a fashion newspaper, a fashion company, an advertising agency, or a fashion/beauty magazine.

Through their images, fashion photographers are able to determine what is considered to be beautiful and fashionable. Common duties include organizing and leading photo shoots, coordinating with make-up artists and fashion designers to best express their vision, and editing the photos.

#3. Property Photography

A cutthroat industry, real estate sees ambitious agents competing for the next big deal. One approach to differentiate yourself from the competition when selling real estate is by capturing gorgeous and alluring pictures of a home that is for sale. This style of photography is a specialty for real estate photographers, who produce the photos for real estate agents’ listings of properties on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) (Multiple Listing Service).

The majority of the artistic freedom that other styles of photography offer are absent from this style of photography. In a field that develops at a dizzying rate, real estate photographers are a vital service. The photographer may concentrate on producing a high-quality output that can be repeated from one picture shoot to the next because the images are only temporary and lack sentimental meaning.

#4. Architectural Photography

In order to accurately represent buildings and other structures, an architectural photographer takes pictures of them. This might be the interior or outside of any building, from a single-family home to the highest skyscraper in the world. Most people think that architectural photographers just take pictures of buildings. Bridges, monuments, towers, and windmills are examples of additional structures that fall within the architectural category.

Arranging a shot properly is one of this type of photography’s most challenging tasks. Technical problems need to be handled, such as choosing the ideal vantage point for representing mass and shape or the best technique for representing spatial clarity and depth.

#5. Food Photography

The usage of food photography in cookbooks, blogs, magazines, social media, advertising, and packaging is a subset of still life photography. To capture the image in a way that makes the viewer’s mouth swim is the “essential factor.” The photographer’s thorough understanding of light, color schemes, and current fashion trends helps to achieve this.

Working in this industry requires a deep understanding of the food goods being photographed because many of them can suddenly melt or wither, which makes things challenging. Food photographers frequently work with art directors, directors, food stylists, prop stylists, and assistants. Similar to other types of photographers, food photographers should always have hard copies and digital copies of their best work on hand to offer prospective clients.

#6. National Geographic Photographer’s Salary

Although the pay for working as a nature or wildlife photographer for National Geographic is typically above average, there is no specific guaranteed income because the photographers are compensated by the project as independent contractors.

Having said that, National Geographic photographers typically earn around $500 per day before travel costs. Each assignment typically lasts between 10 and 14 days. We can quickly calculate that each project earns between $5,000 and $7,500. That works out to a respectable photography wage per hour or per year.

#7. Salary of a Freelance Photographer

Based on how well the photographer markets themselves, keep their project pipeline full, and fill their schedule with work, the freelancer’s compensation will probably be more volatile. Although freelancers have far more freedom and control, they still have to find their own clients, which takes time and work. Unless they are the greatest in their industry and region, a photographer who works only as a freelancer should expect inconsistent income.

#8. Salary of a Government Photographer

In 2016, the 323rd most common job in the U.S. government was photographer, with 242 people holding it and making an average pay of $80,161.27. The general schedule payscale was the most widely used payscale.

With an average pay of $87,920, the Federal Bureau of Investigation hired the most personnel in the category of photography in 2016.

What Qualifications are Necessary for a Profession in Photography?

Along with technical proficiency, photographers need certain personality qualities and skills. Photographers are designers who need to be creative in order to come up with fresh ways to tell stories via images. They must be highly skilled with regard to color, light, and composition.

  • Interpersonal skills: Whether it’s the people you’re photographing, your clients, or your coworkers, you need to be able to understand their needs, read their body language, and coordinate your actions with theirs.
  • Communication skills: If you can speak and listen clearly, you’ll be able to grasp what others are saying and clarify things to them.
  • Customer service: In order to flourish, freelance photographers in particular need to provide exceptional service to their customers.
  • Business resourceful: For people who work for themselves, the ability to sell oneself is crucial. They must take care of bookkeeping and keep tabs on their expenses and income. They must also be aware of potential legal issues, such as the need to get a model release form from the subject before using the image for commercial purposes.

You cannot afford to ignore any details if you want to constantly produce only the best images.

How Difficult Is Photography

Since it is easy to learn, anyone can take up photography. However, photography is difficult since it takes a period to become an expert.

Can You Be Rich Being a Photographer?

The usual annual salary for full-time photographers is between $30,000 and $75,000, while some make significantly more.

Is Being a Photographer Worth It?

Yes, it is. Being a professional photographer entails more than simply taking pictures, making money, and then using it all as you like. There are costs a great deal.

Is Photography a Stressful Job?

Regardless of how long you’ve been behind the camera, there’s always some underlying anxiety that lurks out of sight. It’s one of those things that persists invisibly in the background. Some photographers feel this way because of the inherent riskiness of their profession.

Where Can I Sell My Photos?

Selling images directly from your website gives you the most flexibility and freedom over your earnings. Selling your images online through services like Adobe Stock, Alamy, Shutterstock, and the others mentioned in this post is a great way to have your work seen by a wider audience.

Who Will Pay For My Photos?

To make as much money as possible selling images online, check out the following stock image websites:

  • Alamy.
  • Picfair.
  • EyeEm.
  • Foap.
  • Dreamstime.
  • Getty Images.
  • Shutterstock.

Is Photography a Side Hustle?

If you have a keen eye for detail and an interest in people and the environment around you, photography may be the perfect hobby for you. You do not need to be a skilled photographer to earn money through photography as a side gig.

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