Survey: Photographer Income Sources

Posted on 10/15/2008 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Two thirds (175) of the respondents to the Selling Stock income survey earned some of their freelance photographic revenue from sources other than stock licensing. Close to half (44%, or $16,052,733) of the gross income reported came other photography and related services.

Service Number of respondents Gross income Net income Net stock income Gross average Stock average
Stock licensing 216 31,497,092 19,714,829 20,284,081 145,820 93,908
Corporate 77 9,114,885 5,339,586 2,443,647 118,375 31,736
Advertising and brochures 80 12,804,908 7,073,482 3,704,130 160,061 46,302
Magazine editorial 81 9,626,692 5,468,091 3,478,922 118,848 42,950
Newspaper editorial 15 709,000 465,500 264,940 47,267 17,663
Architectural 24 3,373,400 1,756,862 451,376 140,558 18,807
Event 27 1,837,400 945,750 328,281 68,052 12,159
Wedding and portrait 24 2,333,700 1,502,100 298,035 97,238 12,418
Footage 9 2,197,870 1,497,365 1,656,158 244,208 184,018
Other 65 6,841,425 3,619,071 3,427,244 105,253 52,727

Stock shooters who also did corporate, ad or brochure assignment work earned about as much from these activities as they did from stock (net income minus net stock). However, their average income from stock was much lower than the overall average for stock shooters (net stock divided by number in the group).

Those who did newspaper editorial, event or wedding and portrait work in addition stock averaged very low returns from the stock side of their business and lower overall from their businesses in general.

The average stock earnings of those doing architectural work were low, but their gross income average was very good.

While there were only nine respondents who produced footage, their average gross income was double that of still shooters. In most cases, footage was not their sole source of photography income, but it certainly helped when coupled with income from other sources.

Copyright © 2008 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • John r. Green Posted Oct 16, 2008
    Jim -- of the 9 footage shooters, what was the deviation? Were the individuals fairly close to each other in numbers or was there one or two that had abnormally high revenue? --Randy

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