Everybody who enjoys taking photos and does not see them as something unpleasant comes to the moment when he or she starts considering becoming a professional. Actually, making money from photography is not hard; you just need to know how to do it. We made a list of ways in which you can make money from taking photos.
You don’t need to be the best photographer in town to make money
Yes, it’s true. Above all, you should not worry that there are professional photographers in your vicinity who earn thousands from their photos. You should focus on your passion; however, it will take some time until you will be able to earn a living from it.
Photographers mainly make money from:
-photos of people (weddings, portraits, company photos, ID photos, etc)
-photos of objects (for advertising, websites, etc)
-others (e.g. photo manipulation)
First of all, you need to figure out what you are good at. Perhaps you like taking photos of beautiful landscapes or blooming flowers? Unfortunately, it will not pay well. Why? Because it is taking photos of people that is really profitable. Who will pay for your photos of mountains and forests? Of course, these subject areas can be profitable as well, but only to a few photographers who use expensive, professional equipment. If you don’t want to invest too much money to start earning from photography, focus on people, objects and events.
You aren’t good enough at taking photos of people? Don’t worry. You can always improve your skills in your circle of friends, taking photos at wedding, birthday parties or making family portraits. After all, practice makes perfect.
Our list: how to make money from photography
We prepared a short list of tips regarding making money from photography with short explanations.
At the beginning, it is worth noticing that some of the ways are more demanding than others. You should take all the options under consideration, but choose only ones that are suitable for you.
Here they are:
1. Wedding photography – it is not easy to make one’s way on wedding photography; however, if you succeed, you don’t need to worry about other sources of income. At the beginning you can try making photos at your friends’ wedding as a gift. If the guests like it, you will soon find other clients.
2. Family photography – taking photos of people is the easiest way to make money, because everybody wants to have photos from birthday parties, baptisms or other important events. To find a job, it’s a good idea to launch a website with portfolio showing some of your work.
3. Baby photography – lately, taking photos of babies becomes more and more popular. This subject area is worth considering, because a studio for babies does not take much space.
4. Taking photos with drones – you must have heard about drones, which can take photos from the air. In that way, they are able to capture a much bigger view than a traditional camera. Taking photos with drones becomes really popular and it may be worthwhile to consider this kind of investment.
5. Teaching photography – if you know all about camera functions, are able to take photos under any circumstances, and feel that there is not much to learn left, start sharing your knowledge! For example, you can start a blog, write sponsored articles about photography, or become a teacher on a photography course, e.g. in a local community centre.
6. Social media – a lot of companies have their Facebook and Instagram profiles and looks for people who will regularly take photos for them. You can try writing them with a proposal of cooperation, especially if their current photos leave much to be desired.
7. Property photos – if you have wide-angle lens, you can offer your services to estate agencies. Contact them with your offer and they might establish a permanent cooperation with you.
8. Product photography – if you like taking photos of objects, you should consider making money from product photography. However, finding a commission is not easy, because companies usually choose experienced photographers. You can try looking for a job on websites for freelancers.
9. Events – you can put yourself on the map as an event photographer. In your city or town, there must be parties, concerts and meeting of various kinds that you could photograph. Try talking with organizers and offer them your services.
10. Photo manipulation – many people want to order prints, e.g. from holidays, but they are light-struck, badly cropped and have other flaws. Offer your help as a retoucher in the Internet. If you know the basics of graphics software, you should not have any problems with that.
11. Photography exhibition – if you think your photos are really good and they are non-commercial, talk with somebody who owns a place in the centre of the city about organizing an exhibition of your work. You can also try at art gallery; however, it will be much more difficult. People who would see your photos would be able to buy prints or order them as an XXL picture.
12. E-book about photography – if you know the photography theory and like sharing your knowledge, you can write a shot book that will become an Internet sensation. However, remember that there are many books on this topic; yours would have to be exceptional to sell well.
13. Passport and ID photos – did you think that nobody takes this kind of photos? Wrong! A lot of photographers make money from portrait photography and prints, which can be quite expensive. After all, everybody needs photos for IDs, passports and other official documents. Offer competitive prices and get clients.
14. Photos for websites – new websites are being launched all the time. Their makers often need pictures presenting their company, products or employees. Maybe you know somebody who creates websites? Offer them your services and perhaps it will turn out that there is somebody who needs a photographer.
15. Company photos – a lot of companies, especially big corporations, need a photographer to capture their activities, meetings, ongoing changes and brand development. You can offer your services online on one of the brand websites.
16. Fashion photography – on the Internet, you can find would-be models who look for a photographer to help them build their portfolio. If you are good at taking photos of people, you might offer them your services.
17. School photographer – lately it is not uncommon to hire a photographer to take photos at schools and kindergartens for Mother’s Day, Children’s Day or other occasions. Depending on the occasion, you can offer your services to different schools.
18. Photojournalism – it is not about taking photos with telephoto lens, but about photographing various events that you attended to. Were you at the concert of your favourite vocalist? Did you go to watch a game? Perhaps you managed to take a couple of good photos that Internet news portals could buy.
19. Selling photos to photo bank – make a couple of pictures and send them to a photo bank which pays for photos. The biggest advantage of this idea is that nobody forces the subject area on you. However, remember that commercial photos sell better. Photo banks can be a great source of steady income.
20. Assistant photographer – if you aren’t ready to set up your own business, maybe it worth to consider becoming an assistant photographer? Talk with friends who take photos on events or weddings and offer them cooperation. You can earn extra money and acquire new skills.
Don’t forget about brand building
A photographer, similarly to other freelancers, mainly builds on his or her reputation among clients. You should remember that, especially when you get an unpleasant email, commentary under your photo or rejection of your offer. Always meet deadlines, try to be nice and diligent, and your clients will soon recognize it and recommend you to their friends.
You can also combine many of our ideas with developing photos, which you could personally give to your clients. In that way, your services will be perceived as convenient and professional, and, additionally, you will have a chance to earn some extra money.
It costs nothing to try
Even if you are not convinced that you can make it, it is worth trying one of the described ways. Of course, a lot depends on your individual skills, acquaintances and, often, on luck. But sometimes, bit by bit, you can make a real photographer career. We are curious what are your ways of making money from photography? Do you think it is a good idea to do it professionally, or maybe we should treat photography as our passion, and not a source of income?
Stock photos and photo banks have high-quality criteria which you need to fulfill, but you can make good money. For sure is that you require more than just an iPhone and a finger on the button. I can recommend if you are really interested, focus on a single topic what you want to do. This gives you a name, reputation and you will be recognized on the market.