These Are The 10 Highest Photographer Salaries By State

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Best States For Professions, Rankings - 2 years ago
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Without fail, in surveys across basically every demographic, the number one most important aspect of a job for most people is the salary — how much do photographers get paid where I live?

And while there are many things to go into how much you, specifically, can expect to make, there’s really good data for average salaries for photographers by state across America broken down by seniority level. So while your city may be slightly different than the state average, these averages give you a rough sense of what to expect for your salary.

To better understand how photographer salaries change across America, we decided to take a look the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on average pay for photographers by state.

Additionally, we wanted to adjust the salary based on the cost of living in a state — because your salary goes further in North Carolina than it does in California.

The state with the best salary for photographers after this adjustment? That would be Texas. Here’s a quick snapshot of the top ten states for photographer salaries:

  1. Texas
  2. New York
  3. Minnesota
  4. Delaware
  5. Michigan
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Georgia
  8. New Mexico
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Maine

Let’s take a look at how we got here and a full ranking of all the states.

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How we determined photographer pay by state

As we mentioned earlier, we took the average annual salary data for photographers from the 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics — specifically their “Occupational Employment Statistics”.

To make the comparison of salaries apples to apples across states, we also took into account the cost of living in each state.

We then created an index by dividing the average wage for a state by the cost of living relative to average. As an example, the cost of living index in California is 135.9 and the average pay is $51,250, so our index value would be:

$51,250 * (100 / 135.9) = $37,711

We then ranked every state on this criteria with the state with the highest salary index ranking as highest average salary for photographers.

Here’s a look at the full ranking for all states.

Detailed List Of Photographer Salaries By State

Rank State Adjusted Salary Average Wage Cost Of Living
1 Texas $47,607 $43,180 90.7
2 New York $45,603 $59,740 131.0
3 Minnesota $45,079 $45,440 100.8
4 Delaware $44,595 $45,220 101.4
5 Michigan $43,752 $38,940 89.0
6 Rhode Island $42,775 $51,630 120.7
7 Georgia $41,816 $38,220 91.4
8 New Mexico $41,616 $40,160 96.5
9 Wisconsin $40,309 $39,020 96.8
10 Maine $40,180 $44,520 110.8
11 Missouri $39,944 $36,110 90.4
12 Arizona $39,867 $39,070 98.0
13 Kansas $38,787 $34,870 89.9
14 Massachusetts $38,373 $51,190 133.4
15 Alabama $38,311 $34,940 91.2
16 Oregon $38,096 $44,040 115.6
17 Washington $38,003 $39,980 105.2
18 California $37,711 $51,250 135.9
19 Oklahoma $37,668 $33,600 89.2
20 Tennessee $37,550 $33,570 89.4
21 Illinois $36,923 $34,930 94.6
22 Virginia $36,795 $37,090 100.8
23 West Virginia $36,573 $34,160 93.4
24 South Carolina $36,139 $35,850 99.2
25 Kentucky $36,077 $32,650 90.5
26 North Dakota $35,694 $35,480 99.4
27 Connecticut $35,317 $45,100 127.7
28 Mississippi $35,122 $30,170 85.9
29 Nevada $34,888 $36,040 103.3
30 Indiana $34,413 $30,800 89.5
31 Utah $34,139 $31,750 93.0
32 Florida $34,008 $33,430 98.3
33 Idaho $33,789 $31,120 92.1
34 Ohio $33,262 $31,200 93.8
35 Vermont $33,253 $40,270 121.1
36 Arkansas $32,962 $28,710 87.1
37 Wyoming $32,483 $29,820 91.8
38 North Carolina $32,406 $30,430 93.9
39 Pennsylvania $32,199 $32,650 101.4
40 Colorado $32,167 $33,390 103.8
41 Alaska $32,036 $42,000 131.1
42 Nebraska $31,506 $28,860 91.6
43 Iowa $30,417 $27,680 91.0
44 Maryland $29,721 $37,300 125.5
45 South Dakota $29,170 $30,250 103.7
46 Louisiana $29,061 $27,550 94.8
47 New Jersey $28,359 $34,570 121.9
48 New Hampshire $27,273 $31,910 117.0
49 Montana $23,521 $23,710 100.8
50 Hawaii $0 $0 167.9

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