Anyway, Jim published an article covering just that topic right here. Here is an excerpt from the article, "Median annual earnings of salaried photographers were $26,170 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $18,680 and $38,730. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,540, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $56,640. Median annual earnings in the industry employing the largest numbers of salaried photographers were $22,860 in the photographic services industry."
Kind of scary, isn't it - doesn't look like much money to me. Jim quoted the numbers from a government report which culled the data from over 122,000 working photogs. Here is the link to the Bureau of Labor Statistics article right here. So what's the problem? I think you get out of anything what you put into it. How many photographers even have a game plan for success? Unfortunately, not many.
Too many photogs go though the motions of owning and/or running a studio with little or no enthusiasm for building the business, creating new products, differentiating themselves from the composition, and PR-ing their business like crazy in order to keep it thriving and growing. Many just hang their shingle and expect the customers to come running thru their door. Granted, many would say, "Well, sure, I want to make more money," but then are not making the effort or the right decisions to make that happen.
If you want to be more successful, you need to ask yourself the four main questions and then execute on your answers.
- What are my income goals?
- How long am I going to take to reach those goals?
- What am I going to do to make it happen?
- Am I going to stick with it till I get there?
First you need the target, next the timeline, then the plan, and finally commitment. Get lazy....then plan to look for another job. Get fired up and the world is yours.
How about a little good news on the same topic. In an article I read in Photo District News magazine last year, their report was a bit more optimistic. The On-Line Photographer re-caped that article right here. Here is an excerpt from that article, "Of 1,040 self-employed photographers responding to their survey the median annual income is $57,500 and the mean is $95,000." Now that's more like it. Get this - 18 respondents reported income of $500,000 or more!
The bottom line is this - If you want to be a "mover and shaker" in this profession, you've got to get yourself movin' and shakin' right now!