- South Dakota-$30,380
- West Virginia-$32,270
- North Carolina-$33,630
- TripAdvisor Just Released List of 10 Most Popular Photography Destinations in the World
- Behold, the First Picture of a Black Hole
It may be worth noting that while this list outlines the top ten states where photographers make the most money, you would have to live in one of the top six states to make more money than the average salary in the United States of $51,960.
Photography as a career is steadily declining. Anyone and everyone claims to be a photographer nowadays thanks to the digital revolution and rise in smartphones.
From 2016 to 2026, photography careers are expected to decline by another 6%. Before this happens, maybe you should think about moving to a state where your true artistic talents will be monetarily appreciated.
Massachusetts easily takes the number one spot with a median photographer income of $65,090. This is over $10k more per year than the number two state.
#2 Rhode Island
Rhode Island photographers aren't living a shabby lifestyle either, with a median income of $54,800.
Minnesota is known for more than just lakes and wildlife. It takes the number three spot on this list because photographers in Minnesota live on $54,150 per year.
#4 New Mexico
Most people only know New Mexico as a desert wasteland they need to drive through on the way to California, but photographers here make $53,720 per year. I guess it's pretty good compensation for the scorching weather and tiny towns.
#5 New York
This is the part of the list when we need to mention that the cost of living is not factored into the Forbes list of photographer salaries, because while your typical New York photographer makes $53,150 per year, the cost of living in New York is through the roof.
You would need to work for 25 years, all the while saving half of your income, in order to purchase an averagely-priced home at $662,100.
California is another state that may not pay their photographers enough at $52,720 per year, considering an average priced home is still well over a half a million dollars here.
We don't think it's coincidental that each state on this list is known for natural beauty. Vermont, a state literally nicknamed the Green Mountain State, pays photographers a median salary of $48,840 per year.
We bet there's no shortage of artistic inspiration somewhere as gorgeous as this.
You may suffer from seasonal depression in Washington, but we bet the $48,020 you make each year will buy a pretty good therapist.
Maybe it has to do with southern hospitality, but Georgian photographers are well-paid with an average salary of $45,270.
Finally, rounding out our list at number ten is Mississippi where the average photographer makes $44,770 every year.
Editor's Tip: Do you have beautiful photos but aren't sure how to display them? Turn them into large format prints! See what your photos look like as fine art.
Bottom Ten States For Photographer Pay
You may be thinking your state is on this list just from the salary you just listed on your tax return. You may even know your state is on this list without reading it. Here are the ten states where photographers make the least amount per year.
If you're truly distraught over the amount of money the average photographer makes in your state, remember that neither the cost of living nor the overall happiness score of states is included here.
As an example, you may make bank in Mississippi and New Mexico, but both of these states are in the top ten list of unhappiest states.
Maybe the grass is always greener...