How Much Do Publications Pay for Freelance Work? ‘Wiki’ Shares Names, Fees and More


Who Pays Photographers? is a Tumblr dedicated to demystifying at least some of the compensation standards held by many editorial clients throughout the world.


As photographers, one of the most difficult aspects of using it as a form of income is determining what is and isn’t deemed appropriate compensation for our work.

An almost taboo topic amongst photographers and even more so amongst editorial clients, the talk of pay is one that rarely gets brought to the front-lines. Ultimately, this leaves those looking to get into editorial gigs have a much larger barrier to entry, as less information is known by both parties.


By utilizing anonymity and a unique wiki-style reference spreadsheet, Who Pays Photographers? gathers information from past photographers, in hopes to build up an effective archive for others to reference. Both print and online publications are included, as well as more detailed information such as whether or not the clients cover expenses, how long it takes pay to go through, and pros and cons of each client.

It’s a wonderful resource for photographers of all genres and disciplines. But even more crucial for those looking to dip their toes into the more editorial-style clientele. You can head on over to their site, here, and give the spreadsheet a glance, here.

(via The Click)

  • Aezreth

    I can’t believe people are working that cheaply, have some self respect. Heck, flipping burgers at McDonalds would probably be more lucrative than shooting for most of these magazines, and I can guarantee you that the editors commissioning these assignments sure as f*ck aren’t working for pennies. It’s ludicrous that it’s always the actual content creators getting screwed over.

  • Gannon Burgett

    It does seem low, but as with the AP example pictured in the article, many of these are only 1-3 hour assignments and oftentimes the photographer retains rights to the photographs, meaning he could profit from them elsewhere and/or in the future. Thus, with even just two of these assignments/day, which would be roughly 3-6 hours, you could be pulling in $300-500. It’s not great, but it’s sure as hell not horrible, especially if other expenses are paid for.

  • Aezreth

    I suggest you spend some more time reading that blog, not only does it cover the very subject of 1/2 day rates, the example you picked is probably one of the better ones too. There are even other AP examples that are pretty darn insulting. Also, I’m not a stringer, I was mainly commenting on the editorial rates, which are the majority of the posts on there.

  • Ridgecity

    Three words: WE ARE F*CKED.

  • Grive

    So some jobs pay crap. That’s why “many” are 1-3 hour assignments, instead of “all”.

    You don’t take them. They can be a good foot in the door for an aspiring pro photog. You know, getting some published pictures in their portfolio. A couple or crap pay days can help land those not great but not horrible jobs.

  • Mojo

    Photography sure doesn’t seem to be held in high esteem these days.

  • Tobias W.

    Two words: demand and availability.

  • Kynikos

    Here’s an idea.
    Instead of splashing out cash for a proper photograph, why don’t I just give my reporters iPhones?
    Nobody’s ever thought of that.


  • Aezreth

    First of all, working for free or cheap does not lead to well paying jobs, if you act like you’re worth nothing you get treated like you’re worth nothing. Second, it devalues the industry for everyone.

    If you are starting out and need experience you should be assisting (heck, it even pays better than most of those jobs listed), doing smaller/easier jobs for smaller less demanding clients, or just do your own projects. NOT work for free or insultingly low fees.

    I’ve turned down a number of big magazines for this very reason, and if everyone else would do the same then maybe we could turn this trend of disrespect for the creators around. Unfortunately it seems there’s always a new naive person around the corner, thinking this will be their big break, letting themselves be taken advantage of.

  • Carlee Keppler-Carson

    Ah yes.. to make a living. It’s about the name now.

  • Dave Blinder

    If you are a “struggling still photographer”, invest in yourself and learn graphic arts, video production, and audio production. It is sink or swim in the creative realm, and if you aren’t advancing you are sinking, whether you realize it or not.

  • Mojo

    True. Every schmuck that can hold a camera is spitting out mediocre images and making the population happy. I’m just shocked people don’t value quality anymore.

  • Tobias W.

    It’s also a signal to noise ratio. How to find good images in the overflowing databases of the stock agencies? And on top of that: if more availability enables lower price points: does mediocre imagery maybe suffice for many use cases? Not everybody needs a Henri Cartier-Bresson quality image for their purposes.

  • Mojo

    HA! That may be true, but it certainly would make publications more beautiful.