The Columbia Journal Review (CJR) printed a great article about the state of photojournalism pay and how much each outlet shells out for your work. It's an interesting read and here's where the original article. We abbreviated the article for you, see below!
The Washington Post
What it is: Recently branded with a new slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” The Post is the paper of record in DC with burgeoning national ambitions digitally. Freelancers credit Chloe Coleman, The Post’s photo editor, with respect and thoughtfulness in working with photographers.
What they pay: Multiple freelancers confirm The Washington Post’s day rate is $350.
What it is: According to its website, Harper’s is the oldest general interest publication in the US. Freelancing for the monthly, award-winning magazine is a dream for many photographers and writers. Harper’s, which tackles charged topics around politics, seems to equally value the importance of photography alongside written stories.
What they pay: Harper’s is one case where it was hard to nail down a standard day rate. Reported rates ranged from $500 to $1,000. Freelancers said those assigned to conflict work make $1,000 per day.
What it is: Known for its deep dives and explorations with a science focus, National Geographic dedicates a lot of space to photography. Some recent photo essays featured on its website include a beautifully shot piece on grass-eating monkeys, one on women in Nepal exiled for menstruating, and one story showing the other side of Russia.
What they pay: Associate photo editor Mallory Benedict tells CJR the flagship National Geographic magazine and its corresponding website pay day rates in the range of $500 to $650, with the possibility of higher rates in certain circumstances such as conflict zones. Separately, we found that National Geographic Traveler pays $425 per day, according to its website.
What it is: The 24-hour network offers a wide range of coverage across multiple mediums. With a worldwide reach, including over 1.5 billion digital pageviews per month, working with CNN gives freelancers great exposure. The network has also done more with photography in the past few years, including launching a photography blog in 2011. Bernadette Tuazon is CNN Digital’s senior photo editor, and she accepts pitches here.
What they pay: Multiple freelancers confirm CNN pays a day rate of $650, plus $150 for post-production editing.
The Wall Street Journal
What it is: The business-centric newspaper published by Dow Jones also covers national news, world news, culture, and politics. With a stated mission to ramp visuals across all platforms, the Journal promoted Lucy Gilmour to director of photography in 2015.
What they pay: Freelancers report that The Wall Street Journalpays $400 per day for assignments and will typically cover expenses.
The New York Times
What it is: Many photographers we spoke with work with the Times but had a hard time endorsing it as a top choice for freelancers because of its low day rate.*
What they pay: Times editor for photography Michele McNally told CJR that The New York Times recently increased its day rate to $450, from $200.
Honorable Mentions: We wanted to note a few publications that did not make the list, but still received a fair number of endorsements. Those include Bloomberg Businessweek, Time, and AARP.
Other Resources: Many freelancers who spoke with CJR also highly recommend that freelance photojournalists look into grants and other opportunities to help support them and their work in such a tough industry. Here are a few with links for photographers: