We used the most recent data to determine the states that pay photographers the best.
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.
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:
Let’s take a look at how we got here and a full ranking of all the states.
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.
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