For starters, it’s not a salary.

National Geographic photographers are all independent contractors. That means that their contracts cover one story at a time. No contract, no work; no work, no paycheck.

The editorial rate in the U.S. is about $400-$500 per day. This seems like a lot until you consider that you don’t work every day and must pay for your own equipment and insurance, and cover taxes to boot. Being a freelance photojournalist is not for the faint of heart and takes financial discipline. It’s feast or famine—definitely not a steady nine-to-five job.

Related: Can I make a living in photography?

 

Photo: Julie Jensen Director of Marketing | WVC O: 866.800.7326 | D: 702.443.9249 | E: j.jensen@wvc.org

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