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Photographer Salary Information

Photographer Salary Information

Have you ever noticed how much times have changed when it comes to photography? What used to be a specialized craft practiced by a select few is now an activity practiced regularly by the masses at large. These days nearly everyone either owns or has access to a digital camera. Even young children with pricey cell phone cameras are able to take instant photographs whenever they please. What used to be a practice reserved for marking special occasions and capturing the occasional memory has now become an integral part of everyday life. Some would say the proliferation of digital cameras and access to photography equipment has improved the state of photography, while many purists would argue that photography has become a lost art. But how have the current times affected photography as a profession? Is it still possible to earn a living in this career? Here we will discuss the outlook of photography as a profession, and provide some general photographer salary information.

Photography as a Profession

There can be no doubt that the photography profession has become very, very competitive, but those who dedicate themselves to the craft can still carve out a very nice career path and can expect to earn a decent salary. Many professional photographers will be employed by media outlets such as newspapers, television, magazine and Internet companies, but the greater portion of photographers will usually go the route of self-employment, primarily for the freedom it gives them to pursue a wide array of projects.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professional photographers accounted for nearly 160,000 jobs in the United States in 2009, and close to 60% of these were self-employed. This “self-employed” percentage is far greater than in most other career fields. It is estimated that between now and 2020 the photography field will grow by nearly 20%–impressive statistics when you think about all the competition.

Many photographers just starting out will opt for an employed position with an established company due to the stability it gives them, but will later branch out on their own as they begin to establish a larger clientele base. Most salaried photographers, especially those just starting out, will earn substantially less than established, self-employed photographers, but if the security of a regular paycheck and health benefits is more important to you than the occasional large “payday,” a salaried position working for a media outlet, studio, advertising agency or other such company is a great place to start your career.

Photographer Salary Information

If becoming wealthy beyond your wildest dreams is important to you, photography is probably not the way to go. Statistics show that in 2009 the average annual salary for a professional photographer was just a shade under $30,000—much lower than many other career fields. The salary picture does seem to improve, however, the longer a photographer practices his/her craft. Those dedicating at least 10 years as a professional photographer can usually expect to earn between $50,000-$60,000 dollars annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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