In the United States, a photo editor who does full-time photo work earns in the low six figures, a figure that many freelancers in other industries earn only slightly more. But when it comes to photo editing, the market is still, in many ways, at a crossroads.
Editorial jobs are relatively stable: There hasn’t been a large-scale change in editors’ status for more than 20 years, according to the Society of Professional Photo Editors.
What’s the main difference between editing and photography? Editing involves taking a photo, cutting out the photos’ logos or other identifying marks. Editors might cut a logo out of the bottom of a poster or create a new logo that they cut from the surface of a photo, sometimes using chemicals and cutting board. Editing involves adjusting the pixels of the photo, a process which often involves scanning the photo. In photography, editing involves putting a photo into a computer program or editing it at a photograph printing plant — using optical or digital manipulation.
Editorial jobs are relatively stable: In 2015, the median yearly pay of photographers was US$67,622, according to The Society of Professional Photo Editors, compared with $60,962 for their editors. The median yearly salaries of freelance editors who work full-time was $47,000 in 2015, compared with $47,000 for editorial assistants.
Editorial jobs are relatively stable: In 2015, the median yearly pay of photographers was US$67,622, according to the Society of Professional Photo Editors and The International Council of Photo Managers, compared with $60,962 for their editors. The median yearly salaries of freelance editors who work full-time was $47,000 in 2015, compared with $47,000 for editorial assistants.
Why do editors keep taking jobs they don’t want? The main reason to take on editors’ jobs in photography is to earn more money, according to an online survey about editor’s salaries at The Photographer’s Journal.
But those same editors’ salaries often aren’t the same as top editors’ salaries because they also have to cover their professional expenses and costs, such as time off as well as other costs, said Kate Cramer, an editor and a vice president in Chicago who heads the photo agency Creative Process.
So is there a reason for editors to take on jobs other than money?
Editorial pay could be tied up by the high cost of owning the equipment required for editing jobs. But for many,
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