What’s a National Geographic photographer’s salary?
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.