Photography is one of those passions that many dream to turn into a job, but only a few really succeed in doing, often not even trying because it seems such an unattainable goal.
Truth is, now more than ever thanks to the help of the internet too, it is possible to convert your own shots into money.
How? Read this post and you’ll find out!
GIVE MORE VALUE TO YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS
If you have been reading our latest posts, you’ll have learned how and where to find online jobs. If you haven’t, you can see here our article Best websites where to find online jobs.
Making money through photography is a perfect example of a job to do from home. Or from anywhere in the world.
At first you’ll have to settle for small payments here and there, but with perseverance and dedication your skills will improve as well as your income.
It’s never too late to begin!
BEST WAYS TO MAKE MONEY THANKS TO PHOTOGRAPHY
Following under are the best ways you can earn an income thanks to photography.
As it takes a long time to earn a living through one of these methods only, it’s a good idea to give a try to at least 3 or 4 of them.
Especially when working online and remotely it’s essential to have multiple sources of income.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- SELL YOUR STOCK PHOTOS
- SHOOT PHOTOGRAPHS FOR BUSINESSES
- CREATE CONTENT FOR FAMILIES
- SELL YOUR PRINTS ON ETSY
- WORK AS A PHOTOGRAPHER AT EVENTS
- PRACTICE AS AN ASSISTANT PHOTOGRAPHER
- TEACH PHOTOGRAPHY COURSES
- SELL TO BRANDS
- HOST PHOTOGRAPHY TOURS IN YOUR CITY
- JOIN PHOTO CONTESTS
- OFFER YOUR EDITING AND POST PRODUCTION SKILLS
- USE SOCIAL MEDIA
1. SELL YOUR STOCK PHOTOS
Stock photo websites are platforms that collect photos from their users and sell them to businesses and agencies worldwide.
So called stock pictures are those professional photographs of places, people, events and common situations, that because of their nature can be sold multiple times for commercial reuse.
Photographers receive a commission for every single download. However you need a lot of content in order to make a good profit.
Some of the most popular stock photo platforms are ShutterStock, iStock and BigStock.
Flickr is a great tool too, because it now allows to license your photos through Getty Images and to receive a payment when someone wants to use them.
TIP: update your content regularly, do some research to understand what people are looking for in the Google Images section. Use keywords when uploading your stock photos so that users can find them more easily.
2. SHOOT PHOTOGRAPHS FOR BUSINESSES
Small businesses are always in need of good graphic material, especially nowadays that potential customers are bombarded with visual ads while scrolling their phones all day.
When we say small businesses we talk about bars and pubs, family run restaurants, your neighbourhood’s bakery or barber shop. You don’t necessarily need to look far. As a matter of fact you could start by taking a walk around the block and go asking directly to each owner if they need some up-to-date quality pictures.
Your fee depends on several factors such as your skills, necessary work hours, type of content required. A good base could be 10-15 edited photos for 100-150€.
TIP: Bring your portfolio with you on your laptop or tablet, show them what you got!
3. CREATE CONTENT FOR FAMILIES
Back in the 20th century, when you needed a new passport photo, a family portrait with the newborn or with the whole gang of kids and pets, you had only one option: going to a photography studio.
But hey, it’s 2020 now! Anyone with a good camera and some creativity can create memorable snapshots and, above all, this can be done literally anywhere in the open air.
Shooting in city parks and green areas is ideal, and people are willing to pay big bucks to get the help of a professional and have their memories with kids and pets framed forever. Average pays go from 25€ to 50€ an hour.
As usual, a good way to start is doing freebies for friends and relatives, perhaps create your Facebook or Instagram page and spread the word out.
4. SELL YOUR PRINTS ON ETSY
Talking about frames, another way to make money through photography is selling your own prints.
Our favourite place to sell art works online is Etsy. It’s a brilliant platform that focuses on the trade of handmade products. Simply register and upload your works on the website for potential buyers.
You can read more about Etsy in our related post Best websites where to find jobs online.
Or you could do the same offline, in your everyday life places. Head back to our point n.2, i.e. going to a cafè or a local restaurant. Agree for a commission fee and a space to be arranged where to showcase your printed pictures, and increase the opportunity of your photos being purchased.
5a. WORK AS A PHOTOGRAPHER AT EVENTS
Events are another type of situation which will always demand photographers. They are fundamental both for advertising and for the recording of the event itself.
And what is the number one of all events? That’s right, weddings.
Ask any professional photographer, the majority of them would have done wedding shootings at some point in their career. And no, the market is not saturated. For many photographers out there, there will always be as many weddings coming up.
With the development of today’s technology, married-to-be couples ask more and more for implemented services. For example simultaneous multi video clips from different angles, pre and post wedding photos, drone photography and footage. The opportunities are endless.
TIP: Team up with one or more friends/photographers to find more contacts and split the workload.
5b. OTHER EVENTS
Nevertheless, you may want to diversify your job and look for different kinds of event. There are many other markets which couldn’t carry on the same way without the promotional work of a photographer.
Above all, night clubs and disco’s represent a big category. Each venue usually hires at least one professional to take snapshots of the night and promote the next event on their social pages. This is a good way to find a casual job on a one or two night per week basis.
Sports events too offer continuous opportunities all year round. Although before starting to earn some serious cash you need a solid portfolio to be hired by a newspaper. Same goes for concerts.
Real estate is a market where figures easily sky rocket over 5 or 6 zeros. Clearly the photographer is entitled to his cut as well. A good way to start making connections in the real estate world is attending one of their conferences or special events.
6. PRACTICE AS AN ASSISTANT PHOTOGRAPHER
As we mentioned earlier, sometimes it may be necessary to work as part of a team for bigger jobs like weddings.
If you are at the beginning or you can’t seem to fill your monthly schedule with enough gigs, try and contact other professionals offering them your help as an assistant photographer.
Pro’s include not having to deal with negotiation and finding a venue/event, making new connections and gaining experience from someone who is likely to be an established professional.
The obvious con’s are you will not be playing the leading role, you won’t spend much time behind the camera, and your pay won’t be as big as if you were on your own.
7. TEACH PHOTOGRAPHY COURSES
Another option that could fill your down time every now and then, while earning some good money, is teaching photography.
Through the years you have learned tons of skills and knowledge that are far more valuable than you know.
You can both teach one-on-one or with a small group of people at the same time. The good thing is that, compared to a traditional class, you will be taking field trips continuously in order to put in practice your instructions. This will make your time spent teaching less boring and more enjoyable.
By teaching to a group of clients you’ll be able to reduce your fee to 20€ per person per lesson, but still ending up earning an excellent pay on a 10-lesson course base.
8. SELL TO BRANDS
Nowadays the best brands don’t just look for superstars or renown photo providers to create their advertising campaigns anymore. Why? Because they can get a decent job done by the many talented individuals that can be found on the internet.
Say they have a 10,000$ budget for a particular campaign. There’s a good chance they’d rather spend 500-1,000$ each for the work of a dozen freelancers than splashing the whole 10K for a big company.
And this is where you come in. Get in touch with brands and magazines directly on their websites or through the many agencies that operate as a connection between freelancers and businesses, like IZEA, Tapinfluence, Shoutcart.
You don’t necessarily need to be an influencer or to have your own website, as long as you can prove your previous experience.
TIP: if you are based, even temporarily, in Australia, United Kingdom, United States, or you have a good audience from these countries, then you should definitely download the Tribe app, a fantastic tool offering tons of social media campaign opportunities. We earn up to 380$ with a single picture thanks to Tribe!
9. HOST PHOTOGRAPHY TOURS IN YOUR CITY
This works in a similar way to point n.7, teaching photography, perhaps even more easily.
You don’t need to teach your clients anything new, because they will already be handy with a camera. Your task is taking them to hidden gems, secret locations and desirable spots where to take the most wanted snapshots.
You are playing at home, become a master of your own city and create a personalized photography tour for foreign visitors and photographers.
TIP: Not sure how much to charge? You could start by hosting “Free of charge – Tips welcome” photography tours and see how much guests value your work.
EXTRA TIP: Aim for a generous tipping (read: American) crowd!
10. JOIN PHOTO CONTESTS
This particular point gave us more than one reason to smile, actually more than one thousand reasons!
We are talking about proper contests where you have to upload your work and a jury votes for the best pictures, not lucky draws or random lotteries.
Thanks to Ambra’s skills and a perfect timing, we won two photo contest in the last two years. We won a Canon camera and a Sony camera, both of which we ended up selling since we own a better Sony A6500, raising over 1,500$.
Other times prizes to be won are accessories, paid trips or events, or cash prizes between 500 and 5,000$.
Always be on the lookout for contests. Camera and mobile brands like Sony, Samsung, Huawei, Canon, etc., constantly give opportunities on their websites and Facebook pages to win their products.
However, both of the contests we won were actually hosted by local camera shops, which normally have less competition.
11. OFFER YOUR EDITING AND POST PRODUCTION SKILLS
You should know that a good photo needs a good editing before being published anywhere.
Back in the days photos would simply end up on newspapers and magazines. But today everone wants perfectly edited photos for their Instagram or Facebook profiles.
If you have mastered the dark art of editing and/or photoshopping, and feel confident enough to teach your knowledge to others, then you might as well make some money out of it.
That’s exactly what we do in our e-store called A Million Presets. We sell our photo filters, aka presets, which we have finalised and tested for years, and allow us (and you) to improve photos in just one click!
Have a look at our e-store here.
TIP: Start offering your editing skills by showing the comparison between your pre and post production photographs. A great site where to sell your services is Fiverr, which allows you to set what you offer and how much you charge.
PLEASE NOTE: We’d like to point out that using some editing and photoshop doesn’t mean transforming a photo completely, adding or removing some elements, but only enhancing or diminishing certain effects like shadows, contrast, exposure, etcetera.
12. USE SOCIAL MEDIA
Once again, one of the biggest revolutions of 21st century so far is the introduction of social media networks. These can help you promoting and selling your photographs too.
Your Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest page is where you can showcase your skills to an audience, and where you can direct them wherever you like: add a link to buy your pictures on Shutterstock, to your Etsy store, or to book your services on Fiverr.
Other than using social media as your own portfolio, it can become the place where you get paid to post a particular photography.
As your following increases, you may get invited to events and venues, be sent items and accessories to advertise to your audience.
At first you’ll have to settle for free products/services in exchange of your work. As you grow your qualities and community, you’ll be able to charge a fee for every single picture you post, starting from 50€ upwards.
TIP: if you do promote products on social media, remember to use the mandatory #ad to disclose to your audience that they are reading an advertising post.
Thanks for reading! Our list of ways to make money thanks to photography ends here.
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