Photographer Day Rates Survey Results

Posted on 5/9/2013 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The United Kingdom company Eposure has posted preliminary results of its Photographer Day Rates survey that was conducted online through its blog. Eposure is a company that “brings commercial photographers and businesses closer” and provides information and mentoring programs for photographers.

The response rate so far has been relatively small with 149 respondents from the U.K. and 88 from the U.S. However, even from this small sample there is useful and interesting information. Eposure has a few responses from other countries and encourages all commercial assignment photographers worldwide to continue to go to the survey link and participate. They hope to update their results in a couple months.

Average Day Rates For U.S. and U.K. Photographers

US     UK    
Rate (dollars) percent   Rate (pounds) Dollar percent
  respondents     Equivalent respondents
      100 $155 1
101-200 7   101-200 $155-$311 5
201-300 2   201-300 $311-$466 5
301-400 7   301-400 $466-$622 12
401-500     401-500 $522-$777 19
501-600 5   501-600 $777-$933 14
601-700 7   601-700 $933-$1,088 15
701-800 5   701-800 $1,088-$1,243 8
801-900 3   801-900 $1,233-$1,399 7
901-1,000 13   901-1,000 $1,399-$1,554 3
1,001-1,250 10   1,001-1,250 $1,554-$1,943 4
1,251-1,500 18   1,251-1,500 $1,943-$2,331  
1,501-2,000 15   1,501-2,000 $2,331-$3,108 5
2,001+ 10   2,001+ $3,108+ 3

One of the most interesting things about this chart is the wide range of fees photographers are charging. In the U.S. 16% of the respondents charge less than $400 per day for their services. Twenty percent charge between $500 and $900 and 41% charge between $900 and $1,500. Somewhat surprisingly, given the oversupply of photographers looking for work in the U.S. 15% are charging between $1,500 and $2,000 and another 10% are able to command fees above $2,000 a day.

Next we look at what is happening in the U.K. The original survey provided figures in English pounds, but I have converted those numbers to U.S. dollars to make it easier to see the comparisons. Again we have 11% of the respondents who are charging less than $466 a day for their services. The biggest group, 60% falls in the range of $466 to $1,088. This compares with the 41% in the U.S. who earn between $900 and $1,500. On the other hand 22% of the U.K. photographers are earning between $1,088 and $1,554 a day.

In the U.K. 4% are charging between $1,554 and $1,943 while in the U.S. 15% are charging between $1,501 and $2,000. In the U.S. 10% are charging more than $2,000 while in the U.K. 8% are charging more than $1,943.

Unfortunately, we don’t know what kind of work most of these photographers are doing. One would suspect that many of the lower paid ones are doing more editorial work and possibly event coverage while the higher paid ones are doing more work for large commercial clients and advertising.

Years In Business

There was a good balance among the respondents in terms of years of experience. 42% of the U.K. respondents and 59% of those in the U.S. had been working for 10 years or more. 37% in the U.K. and 21% in the U.S. had only been working professionally for 5 years or less.

Days Worked

One of the biggest surprises was how few days a month these photographers were able to work on paid assignments. In the U.S. 43% of the respondents were only able to get paid assignments for 5 days a month or less. And an additional 34% worked 6 to 10 days a month. In the U.K. 39% worked 6 to 10 days a month and another 30% worked 5 days or less. Less than 10% of the photographers in the U.K. worked more than 15 days a month and in the U.S. that number was slightly more than 10%.

Young photographers hear about the high day rates some photographers are able to command and think photography is an easy way to make a living. Customers hear about the high rates and think photographers are overpaid. They fail to take into account how difficult it is to get assignments and the fact that 50% or more of the assignment fee usually goes to non-billable (as opposed to billable expenses) overhead costs.  

One would hope that some of those who are working fewer days are among the higher paid and that those who are lower paid are at least getting a higher number of days worked. The Eposure report did not provide that type of breakdown. However, there is much more in the way of useful information in the eighteen minute report that is available online at this link.

Copyright © 2013 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, 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:  


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