So, How Much Money Can a Sports Photographer Earn?
One of the most frequent questions that comes up for a professional sport photographer is, how much does a sport photographer make? That will depend on the type of publication you are pitching to, for freelance photographers. If you are lucky enough to become a staff photographer at a major publication, or corporation, your salary could be much higher, and could include insurance and benefits.
Local newspapers and magazines typically only offer the thrill of publication for your photos. Most of these papers and magazines are small and won’t have much money to pay for staff, so most of the staff, including the photographers, will be on a volunteer basis. This is a great way to begin your professional sport photography career though, as it helps to build up your portfolio and experience.
According to Sports Illustrated, a photographer whose photo graces the front cover can receive $2,000 for their work. Other rates from the magazine include a Leading Off - which is the best pictures of the sports week in a two page spread at the beginning of the magazine - which can earn you $1,000. One page will earn you $500, and ¼ page will earn you $150.
These are standard rates across several publications such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN, The Magazine, TIME and others. These are not easy magazines to get your images into, and it's very difficult to get the cover. It would be wise for an amateur photographer to gain experience locally first before attempting to pitch to them.