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Do photographers make good money in South Africa?

A young woman holding a camera in a crowded market.

Many aspiring photographers in South Africa wonder if their passion can also pay the bills. With an average monthly salary for a photographer being R13,713, it’s clear there’s potential to earn.

This article unveils what factors influence these earnings and how you might maximise your photographic income in this vibrant market. Dive in to discover a path that could make your camera more than just a creative tool—it could be your livelihood too!

Key Takeaways

  • Photographers in South Africa can earn an average monthly salary of R 13,713, which is about R 357 per hour.
  • Earnings vary a lot by city, with places like Durban and Johannesburg often paying the most, up to around R 38,400 per month for some.
  • Experience and education can lead to higher pay; photographers with diplomas might earn up to 43% more.
  • Graphic designers and video editors usually make more money than photographers do.
  • There’s a gender pay gap where women photographers earn between 23% and 35% less than men.

Overview of Photography Career in South Africa

A camera capturing diverse photography subjects with varying income streams in an urban environment.

Pursuing a career in photography within South Africa holds promise for those with artistic flair and entrepreneurial spirit. The profession spans various niches, from wedding photography that captures once-in-a-lifetime moments to commercial shoots that propel brand narratives.

Professional photographers find themselves harnessing the power of digital platforms alongside traditional gigs to diversify their income streams. With the evolving job market, savvy shooters are tapping into stock photography websites as an additional revenue source—a testament to the adaptability required in this creative line of work.

In South Africa’s bustling urban centres and scenic landscapes, freelance photographers often balance multiple projects, crafting visual stories while navigating compensation trends and securing fair hourly rates.

Those who invest in honing their craft through continued education can command higher prices for their expertise—an incentive leading many down the path of specialisation. As with any freelancing venture, hours worked vary greatly; however, personal drive and commitment heavily influence success levels amongst local camera wielders.

Salary ranges fluctuate depending on factors like experience level, geographical location, particularly if based in high-paying cities—and area of focus within this broad field encompassing everything from consumer portraits to advertising campaigns.

Average Salary of a Photographer in South Africa

A photographer editing diverse cityscape photos in a home office.

In South Africa, photographers earn about R 13,713 each month. That’s what they take home before taking off money for taxes or other deductions. If you count all the hours they work and spread their pay over those hours, it comes to roughly R 357 an hour in the year 2023.

Photographers can make different amounts of money depending on where they are and how much experience they have. Some may earn as little as R 13,000 a month while others could bring in up to R 38,400 a month.

Each year, this can add up to around R 360,699 on average. Yet not everyone earns the same; for example, in Johannesburg—a big city—the monthly salary might be around ZAR10,000 for someone holding a camera and snapping photographs.

Highest Paying Cities for Photographers in South Africa

Durban in KwaZulu-Natal shines as a hot spot for photographers with their wallets in mind. Here, camera experts can earn around R 13,220 each month – not too shabby! It’s known that pay can swing widely depending on where you snap your pictures in South Africa.

Some cities toss more coins to photographers than others.

Photographers chasing the best cheque should keep an eye on big city lights. The monthly take-home bounces between 13,000 ZAR and a sweet 38,400 ZAR across different places. Johannesburg and Cape Town often lead the pack alongside Durban, offering chunky paydays for those behind the lens.

Big cities mean bigger demand—and fatter salaries to match!

Salary Comparison: Photographer vs. Similar Professions in South Africa

Photographers in South Africa earn different amounts compared to people in jobs like graphic design and video editing. A photographer might make around R 13,713 each month on average.

This can change a lot though based on where they work and how much experience they have.

Let’s look at other creative jobs. Graphic designers often earn about R 20,000 every month. Video editors can make close to that, with an average of R 19,850 per month. These numbers show that photographers usually get less money than some others doing similar kinds of work.

But remember, photographers can sometimes sell their pictures for extra cash too!

Influence of Experience and Education on a Photographer’s Pay in South Africa

Years of taking pictures can lead to more money for photographers in South Africa. The more they work, the better they get at capturing moments. This skill brings in higher pay. It’s not just about clicking a camera; understanding light, angles, and what makes a photo great are learned over time.

A fresh photographer might start with smaller jobs and earn less. But as years go by, they can land bigger projects with bigger pay.

Going to school helps too. Photographers who study their craft often make more cash than those who don’t. If you have a diploma, you could earn up to 43% more each month! Education teaches the tricks of the trade—from handling cameras like pros to editing photos that wow people.

This training gives photographers an edge and bosses notice that. They’re willing to pay extra for someone who knows their stuff because of education and experience combined.

Gender Pay Gap in Photography Profession in South Africa

Men and women should earn the same for taking pictures, but in South Africa, it’s not like that yet. Women get between 23% and 35% less money than men for doing the same photography jobs.

This is a big problem, and people are talking about it more since the Global Wage report said things got worse from 2017.

This unfair pay difference affects many female photographers. They work hard just like male photographers but still get paid less. It’s important to change this so everyone gets fair pay for their work no matter if they’re a man or woman.


Photographers in South Africa have many ways to make money. Their earnings can be quite good, especially for those with lots of experience or special skills. Some cities pay more than others, and extra training can boost your income too.

Whether you’re a freelancer or work full-time, photography can be a smart career choice in South Africa. It’s all about creating great pictures and finding the right people who will pay well for them!

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If you’re interested in the technical aspects of photography, such as how frame rate affects a wedding video’s look and feel, visit our detailed guide on what is frame rate in a wedding video.


1. What is the typical salary for a photographer in South Africa?

In the Republic of South Africa, photographers may earn different amounts based on experience and where they work. Some might make around the minimum wage while others can have salaries higher than the median, taking into account factors like education level and hours worked.

2. Does living in South Africa affect how much money photographers can earn?

Yes, indeed – with varying costs of living across South Africa, what a photographer earns might seem more or less depending on where they live. Items like housing, food, and transport all play a part in this.

3. Are there any extra ways photographers can boost their income in South Africa?

Certainly! Photographers who are freelancers could set premium rates for special skills or rush jobs, whereas those on payroll might find incentives from employers or additional pay through working extra hours.

4. Do professional photographers face issues due to inflation in South Africa?

Like many professionals, photographers must deal with inflation impacting their earnings – over time; what they charge may need to go up to keep pace with increasing prices of goods and services.

5. How do taxes impact what photographers take home as pay in South Africa?

When discussing employee compensation for salaried employees or freelance wages for photographers, it’s important to remember that things like payroll tax from employers’ side or various duties handled by self-employed individuals will influence the final amount received by them.

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