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Who Pays Photographers (And How Much)

From magazines to agencies, this is the ultimate resource for discovering how much, or how little, top publications will pay for your photography.

When it comes to pricing your photography, publications can be a stumbling block. Newspapers, magazines and online publications rarely advertise their rates and furthermore, those rates can vary based on assignments. Have you been published before? Is your work very exclusive and highly desirable? Are you willing to sell your work for less if it’s a prestigious publishing credit?

When you’re working with a new publication, or you’re just starting your freelance photography career, it helps to have some inside information. If you know what they’re paying other photographers, you can get a better sense of how much you should charge.

From top tier news organizations to trendy fashion sites, we’ve collected examples submitted to Who Pays Photographers by freelance photographers. These anonymous entries include information about licensing, embargo, expense, circulation and speed of payment. It’s a valuable resource for photographers by photographers—without anyone jeopardizing their career by attaching their name.

Remember that these publication rates for photography are not written in stone. There are many reasons why you could end up being paid less, or hopefully, more. Use this guide as a starting point to navigate the world of freelance photography.

Note: Featured photographers are not related to publication rates. All submissions are anonymous via Who Pays Photographers.

Mike Ownby for Vanity Fair France

Vanity Fair
Pays: $2,000 USD
For: Photographer for Paris Fashion Week (2014)
Copyright: Per Condé Nast contract, photographers relinquish all rights to photos including right to resell
Transportation: Not included

As an American lifestyle magazine with a rich history, Vanity Fair is famous for their celebrity photo shoots and covering subjects ranging from politics to Hollywood. Along with their hard-hitting stories, Vanity Fair is also known for colorful, eye-popping fashion photography. With contributors like Jonathan Becker and Annie Leibovitz on their roster, a photography job with Vanity Fair means you’ll be in good company.

Norman Jean Roy for Teen Vogue

Teen Vogue Online
Pays: $500 USD
For: 2 days of work, 26 street style images (2013)
Copyright: Joint
Expenses: Not included

Targeted at a younger Vogue audience, Teen Vogue covers cutting edge style and celeb news while touching on current events and issues important to youth. Freelance photography jobs are available for shooting street fashion or covering fashion shows and events.

Alex Lau for Bon Appétit Magazine

Bon Appétit Magazine
Pays: $1,500 USD
For: Photography for an article about restaurants (2013)
Copyright: Magazine has exclusive rights for 90 days after publishing. Afterwards, photographer gets rights back. Usage within that 90-day period can be negotiated.
Expenses: Pre-approved expenses are covered.

First published in 1956 in Chicago, Bon Appétit Magazine is proof that hard work pays off, as they have remained strong in their market over the decades, since their humble beginnings as a free liquor store magazine. With over one million subscribers, this publication is always looking for fresh photos of trending food and beverages.

Mehan Jayasuriya for Stereogum

Stereogum
Pays: $200 USD
For: Festival coverage (2014)
Copyright: Full credit, all rights retained
Expenses: Not covered

Stereogum is an award-winning online publication that focuses on music and music news, but also covers gigs and festivals, possibly even the gig you have tickets to right now. Since 2002, Stereogum has been offering payment for the talent of navigating sweaty crowds to get the best shot of your favorite artist.

Grant Mallory for Mashable

Mashable
Pays: $450 USD
For: Photography feature (2015)
Copyright: Photographer retains copyright

Based in New York City, Mashable is an online news website whose articles you’ve probably seen shared on your newsfeed. Founded in 2005, they mainly focus on digital culture, social media, and technology. With followers worldwide sharing their content, Mashable remains the premiere voice for digital culture online today, and a sure way to get some impressions on your photography.

Christto & Andrew for Dazed Digital

Dazed and Confused Magazine
Pays: £75 - £100
For: Per Assignment
Expenses: Possible to negotiate for film printing and developing costs

In 1991, Dazed & Confused was launched as an alternative style and culture magazine. It continues to champion radical fashion and youth culture, defining the times with a vanguard of next generation writers, stylists and image makers.

René Burri for CNN

CNN Online
Pays: $250 USD
For: Slideshow of 10 images (2014)
Copyright: Photographer retains copyright

An industry leader, CNN has diversified their offering from TV to digital, keeping up with up to the minute current events and news alerts. If you are travelling, or are in an area to capture news, the wide reach CNN possesses can expose your work internationally. They will pay you extra money if your photography is used on television.

Carlos Chavarria for WSJ Magazine

Wall Street Journal
Pays: $650 USD
For: Photo essay (2014)
Copyright: Website retains publishing rights for 21 days, then it goes back to the photographer
Expenses: Covered.

Wall Street Journal is a Pulitzer Prize winning publication. They continue to diversify their offering with their luxury lifestyle magazine WSJ and video content. With expenses paid for by the Wall Street Journal, you can get access to industry events and be published in a world-renowned news organization. It doesn’t get any better for a freelance photography job.

Alec Soth for New York Times

New York Times
Pays: $250 USD
For: Portrait (2013)
Copyright: Photographer retains copyright
Expenses: Not covered

The New York Times is one of the most prestigious publications in the world, having won more Pulitzer Prizes than any other news organization. Photography jobs with NYT can be challenging, but your work can play an integral part to their award-winning storytelling.

Vinoth Chandar for National Geographic Traveler

National Geographic Traveler
Pays: £500
For: Travel reportage on assignment
Copyright: Photographer retains copyright
Expenses: £50 towards flight

National Geographic Traveler is the world’s most widely read travel magazine. It favors storytelling photography that makes readers feel like they’re on an adventure. Because there isn’t a huge travel budget, you should be prepared to cover your own costs or find great stories nearby.

Alexander Remnev for The Guardian

The Guardian
Pays: £275
For: 6 images on assignment (2015)
Copyright: No loss of rights, 60 day embargo
Expenses: Not covered

The Guardian is one of the world’s best-selling international weekly newspapers. It offers a unique blend of international news, politics, culture and comment. Photography featured in The Guardian will be seen by more than 200,000 people in over 100 countries.

Reiner Riedler for Wired

Wired
Pays: $500 USD
For: Day Rate
Copyright: Available for negotiation
Expenses: Not covered

Owned by Condé Nast, Wired a print and online publication headquartered in San Francisco, California. It focuses on how technology is changing every aspect of our lives—from culture to business, science to design. Wired reaches more than 30 million people each month.

Jordi Bernabeu Farrús for Associated Press

Associated Press (AP)
Pays: $250 USD
For: Single assignment with quick turnaround time but little post-production
Copyright: Full copyright retained by publisher
Expenses: Not covered. They prefer to hire people close to assignments.

AP is a multinational news agency located in New York with a photographic library of over a whopping 10 million images. AP collects local news provided by contributing newspapers, radio and television stations, keeping the integrity of the story at a local level. Founded in 1846, it is the most visible news brand in the world with more than half a million people seeing news from the AP on any given day.

Ranging from news coverage to even covering sports events, you will be able to find a niche by contributing to AP. They usually hire photographers based on proximity to events so bring your camera with you on adventures and you could potentially be published on a global scale.

Larry Busacca for Getty Images

Getty Images
Pays: $125 (half-day), $250 (full day), $350 (sports)
For: Stock photography
Copyright: Full copyright retained by publisher
Expenses: Travel and expenses included for sports freelance photography

Getty Images is a stock photo agency for the digital age and the first company to license imagery online. With an archive of over 80 million still images, illustrations and more than 50,000 hours of film footage, they supply stock photography for businesses and consumers. Since they target corporate clients (for internal communications documents), the media (for print and online publishing), and the creative professionals (advertising and graphic design), there are markets for many different types of work.

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