Photographers made an average $36,580 per year, or $17.59 per hour, as of May 2011,
states the BLS. However, the highest-paid made over $65,510 annually, or $31.50 per
hour, and the lowest earning received under $17,450 per year, or $8.39 per hour. Jobs in
the profession will increase by about 13 percent from 2010 to 2020, states the BLS,
compared with the 14 percent predicted for all jobs in all industries, and the same
percentage as that expected for all occupations in art, design, entertainment and media.
Of the 54,410 total U.S. photographers in 2011, 37,230 worked for what the BLS calls other
professional, scientific and technical services, which included photo studios and the self-
employed. Wages here ran a mean $33,330 annually, or $16.02 per hour. The best pay
was in aerospace product and parts manufacturing at an average $65,190 per year, or
$31.34 per hour. To obtain positions in reporting or industry, photographers often need a
bachelor’s degree. However, formal education is not needed for portrait photographers.
Most employers judge an applicant through her portfolio, and look for creativity and a
“good eye.” An understanding of the technological advances in the field is also important.