Directors of Photography can make anywhere between a few thousand and a hundred thousand dollars for any given job.
Unlike other positions in filmmaking, like acting and directing, the million dollar paydays are rarely ever achieved. Even when the big paydays exist, they’re reserved for the top two or three cinematographers working today.
For most of them, they have to hustle to snag as many jobs as possible, working 16-hour days on one project just to roll into 17-hour days on the next with little to no rest in between. Compounded with the time spent tracking down jobs, interviewing, sprucing up your reel (a video of some of your best work), and networking, there’s not much free time at all.
Now that's what we call buried in paperwork.
If there’s even work. There are only so many jobs to go around, after all.