In the beginning of 2015, the industry average rate was $6,865 a month, according to research from freelancer site freelancer.com.
A few notable freelancing sites have rates significantly higher than that. PhotoShop.com pays its editors $12 to $15 an hour (with an annual cost of $1,500). The highest-paid editors at such sites, including ImageShack ($11 to $16 an hour), and Gagosian ($11 to $22 an hour), are on the same wage scale.
Freelance editors also make much more at traditional magazine editors. PhotoShop.com said that, on average, editors at the firm make $10,000 for a year, and Gagosian says that it pays its editors $17,000 a year, plus a modest $200-250 per product.
What are the benefits in being an editor?
The bottom line is you get paid for what you do. This means you’ll have to do most of the hard work of editing, writing, and creating the photos you want to sell.
That means you have to go to great stretches of the year to get those photos — which is fine with me. For example, when I first started, I would write all the photos for magazines. But eventually I realized that the work is really the most crucial part, and I could do that pretty much forever. I started traveling more and working more, in order to focus on shooting more and learning about more photography.
Can freelancers make a living on their projects?
Absolutely. The problem is that most photographers don’t want to do that. So you end up working with people who want a high rate. If you’re a freelance editor, say you’re shooting a magazine, then the odds are that you can’t earn more if you work for just a few hundred dollars.
Do you have a tip to freelancers?
When I first started I was working on the street around L.A. and had a ton of photos. Now, since my work time is limited, I don’t take photos very often. I’ll take a few photos of a person at an event and go home and then shoot that person. I do a lot of creative, fun, and fun photography and have fun with it. But if I have to take a photo of someone who just wants to hang out, then let’s be real, I’ll just walk away.
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