PDN’s fall survey of photographers provides a snapshot of the current state of the industry: how much money professionals are earning, how optimistic they are about the growth of their business and what specialties are most (and least) lucrative.
A total of 8,130 individuals—including hobbyists, students, photo editors and other professionals—responded to the survey. But the results we show here reflect only the input of the 4,282 respondents who identified themselves as “professional photographers” (either part-time or full-time).
The survey respondents included subscribers and social media followers of PDN, Rangefinder and Emerging Photographer; WPPI and PhotoPlus Expo trade show attendees from 2010 onwards; APA members; PDN contest entrants from 2013 onwards; photo students and educators.
Men comprised 60 percent of the professional respondents. And our survey shows that among professional photographers, men continue to earn more from photography than women: 35 percent of male respondents reported earning more than $50,000 last year, compared to just 22 percent of female respondents.
Survey results show that men outnumber women in all specialties, but particularly in advertising/commercial, architecture/real estate, corporate, and multimedia/video. Those specialities, plus editorial, also comprise the five highest-earning specialties, as measured by the percentage of respondents in each specialty who reported earning $50,000 or more last year.
Overall, respondents were optimistic about business: 55 percent said they expect to earn more this year than last year. But women were slightly more optimistic than men, with 61 percent indicating they expect to earn more from photography in 2018 than they earned in 2017, compared to 53 percent of men who said they expected to do better.