How Much Do Photographers Make in 2021 (including Starting Salary)

Stan T.Career, SalaryLeave a Comment

2021 Annual Salary, Salary Range, and Highest Paying States and Industries


Photographers photograph people, landscapes, merchandise, or other subjects. May use lighting equipment to enhance a subject's appearance. May use editing software to produce finished images and prints. Includes commercial and industrial photographers, scientific photographers, and photojournalists.

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Table of contents
  1. Average salary
  2. Starting salary
  3. Salary rank
  4. Salary range
  5. Highest paying states
  6. Highest paying industries

Average salary

Annual salary
$50290 per year
Hourly wage
$24 per hour

Starting salary

Entry-level annual salary
$22,410 to $28,530 per year
Entry-level hourly wage
$11 to $14 per hour

Entry-level Photographers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $22,410 to $28,530 per year or $11 to $14 per hour. Similar to any other job, their salary will increase as they gain experience.

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Salary rank

Salary rank

We wanted to make it easy for our readers to compare the salary of Photographers to all the other careers out there. So we created Salary Rank. We compared the salary of all careers then we gave them a rank of A, B, C, or D depending on where their average salary sit in comparison to other careers.

Salary range

Level Hourly Annual
Highest (Top 10%) $42 $86,850
Senior (Top 25%) $30 $62,440
Middle (Mid 50%) $20 $41,280
Junior (Bottom 25%) $14 $28,530
No experience (Bottom 10%) $11 $22,410

Highest paying states

State Hourly Annual
DC $44 $91,720
NY $35 $73,110
MA $32 $66,120
MN $29 $60,630
CA $29 $60,150
TX $28 $57,230
IL $27 $55,990
UT $27 $55,470
WA $26 $53,410
RI $25 $52,410

Another simple way to increase your salary as a Photographer is to move to a higher paying state. However moving to a higher paying state like DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the expenses at DC might be much higher than where you are currently living at right now.

According to BLS, the highest paid Photographers are in the states of DC, NY, MA, MN and CA.

Highest paying industries

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing $91830 $44.15
Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services $79060 $38.01
Motion Picture and Video Industries $78470 $37.73
Other Information Services $77610 $37.31
Employment Services $70710 $33.99
Local Government $67680 $32.54
Nonscheduled Air Transportation $66320 $31.88
Management of Companies and Enterprises $64000 $30.77
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals $63680 $30.62
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods $61400 $29.52
Residential Building Construction $60770 $29.22
Computer Systems Design and Related Services $60010 $28.85
Printing and Related Support Activities $58260 $28.01
Offices of Physicians $58100 $27.93
Travel Arrangement and Reservation Services $57860 $27.82
Agents and Managers for Artists, Athletes, Entertainers, and Other Public Figures $57610 $27.70
Scientific Research and Development Services $57240 $27.52
Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services $56620 $27.22
Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers $56080 $26.96
Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing $55210 $26.54
Radio and Television Broadcasting $54910 $26.40
Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods $54390 $26.15
Specialty Hospitals $54340 $26.12
Apparel, Piece Goods, and Notions Merchant Wholesalers $53720 $25.83
Nonresidential Building Construction $53510 $25.73
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $52490 $25.24
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services $51940 $24.97
State Government $51160 $24.60
Museums, Historical Sites, and Similar Institutions $50910 $24.48
Specialized Design Services $50560 $24.31

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