Business


PDN’s Photographer Survey: How’s Business?

January 25, 2018

Photographers tell us about their specialties, their earnings and their outlook for growth in the year ahead.

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.

The Results

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.

Male photographers continue to earn more than females. Click on the image to see a larger view, or click below to download a PDF with more breakdowns by gender in different photographic specialties.

Click Here to Download Income Distribution by Gender Charts

 

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.   

Results show that men outnumber women in all specialties, but particularly in advertising/commercial, architecture/real estate, corporate, and multimedia/video. Click on the image to see a larger view.

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.

Comparing responses from women and men about how they expect their businesses to do this year. Click on the image to enlarge this chart.

Respondents were optimistic about business with 55 percent expecting to earn more this year than last year. Click on the image to see a larger view and click on the link below to download a PDF about optimism based on specialty.

Click Here to Download Future Optimism Charts

 

Click on the image to view the chart at larger size or click below to download a PDF showing each of the individual revenues by specialty.

Click Here to Download Income Distribution Charts

 

Survey results also compared income based on location. Click on the image to see a larger view.

Want more PDN? Click here to sign up for our email newsletter and get the week’s top stories delivered straight to you.

Related:

Sexism in the Photo Industry: Can’t We Do Better?

5 Financial Strategies That Save Photographers Money

How Much Can You Earn on Shutterstock? New Report Details Payouts