There are currently an estimated 147,300 photographers in the United States. The photographer job market is expected to shrink by -5.6% between 2016 and 2026.

How employable are photographers?

CareerExplorer rates photographers with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will lose -4,800 photographers. That number is based on the retirement of 3,500 existing photographers.

Are photographers in demand?

Sluggish growth may be due to the increased use of digital photography and decreasing prices of digital equipment. Advances in digital technology allow more individual consumers and businesses to produce, store, and access their own photographic images. While the print newspaper industry declines, so too will the need for still images. However, a spike in internet versions of magazines and newspapers will create increased demand for commercial photographers to offer digital images. The internet, in general, should decrease reliance on stock photo agencies by permitting freelancers to more easily market their specialized services. Salaried positions may be hard to find as more companies contract with freelance photographers rather than hire their own. Historically, the number of individuals interested in working as commercial and news photographers is greater than the number of openings. The future of this field seems to rest more with creative, innovative, and technologically and business savvy freelancers than with traditional salaried photographers. Work experience, job-related training, or some unique skill or talent can also improve a photographer's job prospects.

What’s the supply of photographers?

The photographer industry is concentrated in California, New York, Florida

Photographer job market by state

State Name Employed Photographers
California 5,810
New York 4,270
Florida 4,040
Texas 3,280
Illinois 2,540
Ohio 2,000
North Carolina 1,720
Pennsylvania 1,700
New Jersey 1,500
Georgia 1,480
Michigan 1,420
Massachusetts 1,210
Wisconsin 1,060
Washington 1,050
Virginia 1,030
Missouri 970
Minnesota 950
Maryland 940
Arizona 880
Tennessee 870
Indiana 770
Colorado 760
Oregon 650
South Carolina 630
Connecticut 630
Nevada 590
Oklahoma 540
Alabama 480
Louisiana 480
Iowa 480
Utah 470
Hawaii 410
Kentucky 410
Kansas 400
Arkansas 330
Nebraska 300
District of Columbia 260
New Mexico 250
Mississippi 230
Idaho 220
Rhode Island 220
New Hampshire 180
Puerto Rico 160
West Virginia 140
South Dakota 130
Maine 120
Delaware 110
Vermont 100
Montana 100
North Dakota 100
Wyoming 50
Alaska 50