Photography Careers that Pay Well

Oct 07, 2019

While many photographers may be self-employed, there are other types of positions in the field that may pay well. While some positions may require a college degree, there are several available to applicants with a high school diploma. Read more below.

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Career Options for High-Paying Photography Jobs

Positions in the field of photography can be hard to come by because few of the jobs have college degree requirements. For many careers, there are far more applicants than positions, so it is beneficial for those applying to have a competitive portfolio. In addition, shifts in technology may cause slow job growth, as well. Despite these factors, there are several photography careers available paying higher than the 2018 median for all jobs in the U.S., which are open to individuals of varying educational backgrounds.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary $69,960 8%
Camera and Photographic Equipment Repairers $40,620 0%
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School $60,250 2%
Photographers: Broadcasting (except internet) $45,520 1%
Photographers: Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publications $43,378 -30%
Self-Enrichment Education Teachers $38,720 12%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for High-Paying Photography Jobs

Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary

Postsecondary art, drama, and music teachers are college educators who specialize in creative subjects, including photography. These educators typically need a Ph.D. or master's degree depending on the subject and employing school's requirements. A postsecondary photography teacher will likely be responsible for creating a curriculum that meets course objectives and delivering both instruction and feedback to ensure that students are learning course materials. BLS reports a median salary of almost $70,000 for postsecondary teachers of arts subjects, making it one of the highest paying photography-related careers.

Camera and Photographic Equipment Repairers

Camera and photographic equipment repairers maintain and repair photographic equipment. These repairers may work on and test lenses, cameras, and other components of video and photographic equipment. Many employers require applicants to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent and provide on-the-job training. The median wage for camera and photographic equipment repairers was $40,620 in 2018, making it one of the highest paying careers available to those without a college degree.

Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School

Career and technical education teachers provide instruction and training to students in subjects such as cosmetology and photography. These teachers create and implement assignments and lessons, and they can guide students to develop an understanding of course topics. Secondary photography teachers typically need a bachelor's degree and qualifying work experience and will usually be required to obtain state licensure if teaching for public schools. In 2018, the median salary for all career and technical education teachers in secondary schools was just over $60,000, making it one of the highest-paying jobs for photographers without requiring a graduate degree.

Photographers: Broadcasting (except internet)

Photographers working in broadcasting may work full or part time and may need to hold a bachelor's degree, depending on their employer and specific position. These photographers may use different equipment to produce the images and products that are requested and may travel for certain projects. In 2018, the median salary for non-internet broadcasting photographers was over $45,000, making it one of the highest-paying positions that does not require a graduate degree.

Photographers: Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publications

Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory photographers had a median salary of $43,378 in 2018 and are some of the highest-earning photographers who are not required to hold a graduate degree. Employers may require a bachelor's degree, as well as a portfolio of previous work. BLS reports the outlook for these positions as dropping 30% by 2018 due to the decrease in demand for newspapers and other print media. Because of the decrease in these positions, photographers who wish to work in this field will need to have competitive experience and portfolios.

Self-Enrichment Education Teachers

Self-enrichment education teachers are educators who teach courses that aren't meant to lead to a degree; some of them may teach subjects such as dance, music, and photography, Although the educational requirements vary by employer, it is essential that applicants possess sufficient knowledge in their subject area and can articulate that during the hiring process. These teachers may be responsible for designing and implementing relevant curriculum, instructing and grading students in both traditional and non-traditional settings. Self-enrichment education teachers had a median salary of over $38,640, the national median in 2018, making the position one of the better paying options available to those who do not have graduate degrees.

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