I came across this info tonight on the US Department of Labor website:
"Median annual earnings of salaried photographers were $26,080 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $18,380 and $37,370. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,000, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $54,180. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of salaried photographers were $32,800 for newspapers and periodicals and $23,100 for other professional, scientific, and technical services.
Salaried photographers—more of whom work full time—tend to earn more than those who are self-employed. Because most freelance and portrait photographers purchase their own equipment, they incur considerable expense acquiring and maintaining cameras and accessories. Unlike news and commercial photographers, few fine arts photographers are successful enough to support themselves solely through their art."
I'm not a professional photographer, so I don't know if those numbers are correct. If they are right, whoa.....photography will just have to remain an expensive hobby for me. Unless I'm reading it wrong, more than 90% of professional photographers earn less than $ 54 Grand a year and half earn less than $ 26 Grand? Considering the KSA's required to be a professional photographer, not to mention the equipment costs, those numbers stunned me.
If you're interested, the url is http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos264.htm