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Salary of a Traveling Photographer

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Traveling photographers take photos for travel magazines, guidebooks, nature magazines, newspapers and many other publications. Unlike non-traveling photographers who perform all of their work locally, traveling photographers must be prepared to travel to the far corners of the earth to capture images both common and extraordinary. Salaries for traveling photographers are comparable to most other photographers.

Job Description

The ability to pack up and leave for weeks or even months at a time is a reality for traveling photographers, a factor that deters many photographers who prefer to have a more stable lifestyle. However, the job of a traveling photographer can be extremely exciting and rewarding for the right candidate. Assignments for traveling photographers vary considerably. They may be asked to photograph a sporting event, international festival, disaster area, wildlife, architecture and everything in between. Their hours are typically irregular; this is certainly not a typical nine-to-five job.

Salary Range

Traveling photographers make salaries comparable to other photographers, though it really depends on the specific type of photography they focus on and other factors as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for photographers was $29,440, as of May 2008. The middle 50 percent of photographers were earning between $20,620 and $43,530. Top photographers earned over $62,430, while the bottom 10 percent of photographers made around $16,920 annually.


Traveling photographers must take into account travel costs they may incur during their work. While flights and other transportation expenses are often covered by the magazine or book publisher requesting the photos, this is not always the case. Some employers offer daily stipends to their photographers while on the job; others leave these expenses up to you. Traveling photographers also need to purchase their own equipment, including cameras, tripods, film, cases and film editing software. These days having a personal computer is highly recommended.

Job Outlook

Job outlook is expected to remain average compared to other professions. Top positions for well known magazines and newspapers are highly competitive, and lots of experience is required. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow by 12 percent between 2008 and 2018. Those with a college degree in photography can expect to find employment more easily than those who lack a degree.


Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.