2008 Income Survey: Photographic Activities

Posted on 4/30/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Many of the photographers who made stock sales in 2008 also worked on assignments for corporations, advertising agencies, graphic design firms, newspapers and magazines. In some cases, photographers did a little of all of these, and it was the combined total of all these sources of revenue that produced a decent return on investment. Photographic activities that produced the highest average revenues were advertising and brochure, consumer editorial and architectural assignments.

Revenues by type of photographic activity
Photographic activity Number of respondents Gross revenue Expenses Stock-licensing revenue Average gross revenue Average stock-licensing revenue
Stock licensing 125 $13,801,158 $4,843,415 $8,184,356 $110,409 $65,474.85
Illustration licensing 7 $313,000 $145,500 $61,200 $44,714 $8,742.86
Illustration assignments 11 $336,758 $112,500 $107,493 $30,614 $9,772.09
Corporate magazine assignments 37 $4,794,720 $2,134,956 $1,260,224 $129,587 $34,060.11
Ad and brochure assignments 45 $7,040,796 $2,782,568 $2,855,981 $156,462 $63,466.24
Consumer editorial assignments 30 $4,502,362 $1,822,181 $1,683,970 $150,079 $56,132.33
Newspaper assignments 4 $337,207 $83,211 $116,226 $84,302 $29,056.50
Architectural assignments 10 $1,769,441 $812,411 $459,273 $176,944 $45,927.30
Event coverage 12 $579,091 $233,300 $139,373 $48,258 $11,614.42
Wedding and consumer portraits 18 $1,065,649 $460,208 $284,171 $59,203 $15,787.28
Footage 6 $585,155 $122,000 $216,138 $97,526 $36,023.00
Other (teaching, tours, etc.) 27 $2,395,598 $912,838 $1,668,729 $88,726 $61,804.78

On average, 35% of the gross income of the 125 photographers who made some stock sales went to covering expenses, not including salary. Two of the respondents just starting out spent more than what they earned. The average stock photo income of this group was $65,475, with 71% percent of these photographers earning less than this average.

Copyright © 2009 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 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, 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: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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