How Much Do Photojournalists Make?

Photojournalists will be able to make a picture say 1000 words and then some. Their images will tell a story that compels viewers to explore the image.

Along with their trusted cameras, photojournalists have chronicled some of the most important stories in the world, leaving a lasting impression of an event that has happened in either the past or present. 

This is a field of photography that is only continuing to grow as time goes on, and photojournalists can work for newspapers, book publishers, television, and more.

While it may not be the highest paying photography profession, there is still lots of money to be made as a photojournalist.

Something that you might be left wondering is how much exactly do photojournalists make?

Whether you are simply interested, or you are thinking of taking this career path yourself, we are going to be answering this question in this article.

What Is Photojournalism?

For those that don’t already know, photojournalism is the process of telling a story through the medium of photography.

While a journalist would turn to their trusted pen and paper to tell a story, a photojournalist would use their camera to capture a visual representation of the story instead.

You might already be familiar with the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and this is pretty much the foundation of photojournalism.

Some news publications will be more than willing to pay a lot of money to photojournalists that are able to capture the most impactful images.

Lots of photojournalists have been able to educate millions of people of various issues that are going on around the world. We are able to see what is happening, or what has happened through their lens.

Types of Photojournalism

Photojournalists can specialize in many different areas, including:

  • Current Events
  • Design
  • Entertainment
  • Lifestyle
  • Sport
  • War

How Much Do Photojournalists Make?

The pay of a photojournalist will vary by medium. Television photojournalists will usually make around $45,000 a year, whereas photojournalists that are working for newspapers, magazines, or book publishers are likely to earn slightly less than this, at around $41,000 a year.

Interestingly, this is higher than the annual mean wage of $34,000 for all jobs in the United States.

Does Location Affect the Salary of a Photojournalist?

Yes, the income of a photographer can differ based on region. Out of all of the locations in America, the District of Columbia actually paid the most on average, with an average salary of $64,000.

The second highest paying area was Connecticut, with an average of $59,000. Following on from this, New York ranked 3rd with an average salary of $51,000, followed by California at $46,000, and Illinois at $45,000.

The Lowest paying areas are in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Tennessee, Alabama and West Virginia.

Does Experience Affect the Salary of a Photojournalist?

Yes, the amount of photography experience that you have will affect the salary that you are able to make. Starting salaries for photojournalists are usually within the range of $16,000 and $21,000.

Once you start to gain more experience in the industry, you will typically be paid more, usually somewhere between a range of $24,000 and $30,000. Finally, photojournalists with a lot of experience can earn anywhere between $34,000 and $81,000.

War Photojournalist

How Much Do War Photojournalists Make?

The highest salary for a war photojournalist is $89,198, and the lowest salary for a war photojournalist is $27,408. It will all depend on your level of experience, and what you aim to do. 

How Much Does a Freelance Photojournalist Make?

If you are thinking about becoming a freelance photojournalist, you should know that the average salary is around $42,794. However, it can be slightly higher or lower than this, depending on a number of different factors. 

What Photographers Earn More Than Photojournalists?

Some of the types of photographers that earn more than photojournalists are aerospace photographers and motion-picture and video photographers. As well as this, photographers that take photos for science related research also make a lot of money.

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Photojournalist?

Typically, employers will be looking for photojournalists with at least a degree in photography ,but this is not always essential. News media may look at your previous work to find out more about your style and ability.

If you want to become a photojournalist, you will need to be able to work with people. This is why communication and interpersonal skills are essential.

You are also going to need some computer skills, as photojournalists will use photo-editing software. Photojournalists are also likely to have to make significant equipment and software updates around every year, so you will need to keep up with the latest technology.

It is also important to be persistent in this line of work, and it will take consistency and patience to track down story subjects.

How to Start a Career in Photojournalism?

If you want to start a career in photojournalism, you should be up to date with the latest advances in technology.

Photojournalists spend just as much time on the computer editing as they do out in the field. As well as trying to improve all of the essential skills that you need for the job, you can progress your career in other ways too. 

You could take your skills to a national daily newspaper and gain ranks among the team, or do the same in the magazine field.

You could also choose to specialize in specific areas of photography, like sports, fashion, and more to work on your level of experience and expand your portfolio.

You could move between working for yourself, newspapers, and magazines to help broaden your experience.

You could also decide to take your work freelance to gain some more experience in the field and work towards your end goal.

You should also keep practicing your photo editing skills along the way and keep looking out for new opportunities that could help you to progress.