Preliminary Income Survey Results

Posted on 9/12/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

On August 31st I published the Photog Income Survey in an effort to get a better idea of what photographers worldwide are able to earn annually from the images they produce. To see all eight questions and some background information before starting to respond to the survey click on this link.

So far 65% of the respondents are over 50-year-old. Sixty-nine percent of the over 50s earn total photography income of less that $20,000 a year and 49% earn less than $10,000 a year. Another 15% of the over 50s earn between $20,000 and $40,000. Considering, that all these respondents, who make up 84% of the total, have some business expenses for photo equipment, computers, phone, transportation, etc. few, if any, earn enough to support much of a lifestyle.

About 4.5% of the over 50-year-olds earn more than $80,000 a year and half of this group earns over $100,000.

Of the over 50 respondents 12% were female and the rest male. Six percent of the over 50 respondents are staff photographers and the rest freelance. Of all the respondents so far, 9% of them are staff photographers. Half of the staff photographers earn under $40,000-a-year. Some or the higher earners are under 50-years-old. In fact, one female in her 20s earns between $60,000 and $80,000 a year.

Thirty-eight percent of the respondents earn at least 70% of their gross income from editorial still photography. One of the purposes of this survey is to determine how editorial shooters are doing compared to commercial shooters. When we do the final report in late October we will provide this analysis. All photographers trying to earn a portion of their living from the images they produce, are encouraged to respond to the survey by going here regardless of whether they are producing editorial or commercial work. The survey will remain open until the middle of October. It only takes a few minutes. Encourage your friends to respond as well.

To get an accurate understanding of what is happening in the business we are hopeful that more young people and staff photographers will respond. In addition, 73% of the responses so far are from North America and the UK. We need a lot more responses from the rest of the world. Clearly, U.S. and UK photographers no longer produce anywhere near 73% of the images that are being used.

Copyright © 2018 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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