How Much Do Companies Pay Photographers?

To capture and preserve diverse moments in time, photographers use their technical talents, imagination, and technological resources to create photos. Different categories of photographers exist, depending on the extent of the genre they are photographing.
Photographers operate in various markets, including portraiture, fashion, marketing, commercial, press, real estate, and products, amongst many others. The vast majority of photographers work as freelancers and run their own companies; opportunities for regular full-time photographers as employees are becoming more restricted, highly competitive, and hard to find. The pay rate of a photographer that a company employs is much different from the pay rate of a freelance photographer. Pricing is generally up to photographers to decide how much money they will charge per job photographed. For example, a small-scale project could command $500, and a large-scale project could cost $150,000.

Of course, not every market offers the same compensation for photographers. To make the most money while pursuing your passion for photography, research for a detailed analysis of where photographers’ earnings are the lowest and where photographers’ salaries are the greatest, and in which industry.

A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t work for compensation and benefits. For example, a fashion photographer who works full-time for a fashion magazine is likely to receive a much different wage than a wildlife photographer who works as a self-employed freelancer.
Compensation for photographers is determined by various criteria, including the photographic work performed, the usage of the photographs, the amount of work experience, the cost of pre and post-production, and the overhead of the photographer’s studio, to name a few. For example, photographers specializing in weddings might earn much more or less based on the time of year they work, known as the wedding season. Therefore, someone who plans to make photography a profession must research the niche they intend to photograph, gain experience in that area, and command prices that suit their lifestyle.