If you want to learn how to transform your newly discovered art of photography and polished skills into a lucrative career, we’ve got the information you need.
While we consume more visual content globally, there is always a demand for images that convey stories.
Here are a few unconventional methods for a photographer to acquire employment and earn money. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best opportunities for photographers to start making more money with their camera.
Here are some simple techniques to generate extra money with photography this year that you should bookmark. It doesn’t matter if you’re putting together a portfolio or trying to discover work that you’re qualified for. This essay will assist you in determining how to create money.
1. Contributing to Stock Photography
Contributing to stock photography websites such as Shutterstock and Offset is a great way to get a sense of what people enjoy and want to see in your work. All you need is a set of photographs that tell the tale you want to tell with your photography to your audience. Then you upload them to Shutterstock or another stock photos website. You can upload to Shutterstock using your mobile app or online, with a twenty-one language application process.
Make sure to add metadata and titles to your photos so that clients can see them. Take your time to do extra keyword research to understand what people are looking for, tighten up your submission modifications, and overall zero in on anything you can to boost the success of your stock sales.
When it comes to stock contributions, there is one thing to bear in mind. The best stock photographers do not simply post every photo they take. Instead, they pick and shoot material based on current trends.
Stock pictures are continuously in demand by companies and businesses. They will purchase your photographs if they match what they are looking for. When I say buy, I’m referring to a license. If you have a huge portfolio, you may sell your images over and over again and make a solid livelihood.
What distinguishes a successful stock photo? The shot’s quality, a file uploaded in extra high resolution (so it may be utilized in a variety of formats), and a topic that everyone can relate to. As the fairly harsh adjective ‘stocky’ indicates, the world of stock pictures is becoming increasingly standardized. Look through the top sellers on several websites to see what’s hot right now. But it’s possible that the way you sell the image is much more significant than the image itself.
The commissions you pay will vary depending on which of the various stock picture websites you utilize. Here are a few to think about: iStock, BigStock, and Shutterstock are three of the most popular stock photo sites.
2. Sell Prints Online
If you’ve polished your skills, you’ve probably taken some incredible shots by now. People will want to buy them because they are so good. So, what’s stopping you from starting to sell prints? There are several methods to profit from selling prints. Both solutions might be simple and affordable to implement.
Selling photographs online through a third-party seller is the simplest method. All of the legwork will be done by the third-party vendor, who will also process the order, print, and ship the prints. They give you a commission in exchange. There’s no reason you can’t look through all of your favorite images right now and post them to a website. Start profiting from the prints you sell right now!
Etsy is a fantastic place for selling your prints. This is a website that allows users to sell a variety of handmade goods. It’s an inexpensive way to sell your prints because each listing is simply $0.25. All you have to do now is print your image, upload it to your website, and mail the print to the buyer. You’ll be in charge of dealing with any complaints or refunds.
Another difficult approach to sell prints is to print them yourself and sell them through stores and restaurants.
For instance, you’ve taken plenty of nice photos from your area. You could approach a cafe or a restaurant, and come to an arrangement where they display and sell your photographs. All you have to do is print them and give them a commission. They get artwork, you get money.
At the very least, you will have your photos displayed to thousands of people. Beautiful photography is adored by all. For a long time, the ability to purchase a work of art was restricted to a tiny group of wealthy individuals or corporations. More and more companies in the twenty-first century are offering high-quality photographs for a relatively reasonable price, ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
3. Sell Your Travel Photography Stories
Do you like to travel and take photos? You might be able to make money doing both!
The desire for original material is increasing. Magazines and newspapers, for example, are always looking for new content. This implies that you can try to make money by developing and selling travel-related material. This could be in the form of images or films showcasing specific locations.
You can supply a comprehensive package of an article with images if you are also a great writer. The article and photographs must tell a story in order to sell these. As a result, it’s critical to take images that don’t just look excellent. They must tell a narrative.
Newspapers and magazines aren’t the only ones who require travel photography. You may potentially sell them to tour operators, travel agencies, airlines, or even a local publication.
You’ll often discover that the longer you work with a client, the more possibilities will come your way.
4. Host Workshops
When deciding what kind of workshops to host, consider what kind of skills or niche your photography background brings to the table. In this report by PetaPixel, the highest-earning photography niches in 2021 will be:
- Wedding Photography
- Landscape Photography
- Travel Photography
- Food Photography
- Fashion Photography
Consider evaluating this list and adjusting your niche to better adapt to the market’s needs. Create a photography workshop that people will pay to learn from. There are several platforms that you can host workshops on, including Thinkific and Skillshare.
5. Open a Print Shop to Sell Your Photos
Newspapers and magazines aren’t the only ones who require travel photography. You may potentially sell them to tour operators, travel agencies, airlines, or even a local publication.
You’ll often discover that the longer you work with a client, the more possibilities will come your way.
“I’ve discovered a simple way to supplement my income by selling prints and framed images. For me, all of the photographs I print have already been shot, so there are no additional charges. I’ve also built a strong working relationship with a local printing and frame shop. Sending an order to them is simple and quick for me. I’m really looking at ways to automate and improve the system’s efficiency even more, but it’s still working well in its current state.”
There are various platforms to choose from if you want to launch an online print store to generate money with your photographs. The majority of Squarespace and Wix layouts include a shop that you can integrate into your site. You can also sell your prints directly on Shopify or through a network for artists like Etsy.
What’s the next step? Promote your prints directly to customers.
Once your shop is up and running, get the word out. Sara Wight, a Brooklyn-based photographer, adds, “I have a vast collection of fine art landscape prints, so I’ve been promoting these photographs through social media and newsletters in order to garner more print sales.”
“While pivoting is critical, it’s also critical to maintaining marketing your current job.” Clients are interested in seeing what other projects you are working on. However, don’t worry them by failing to publicize your regular employment. It’s critical that they know you’re still performing what you were hired to accomplish!”
Some competitions award cash, while others provide the opportunity to realize your dream photography project, such as Reiko Wakai, the winner of the most recent Wix Photography event, who earned a high-fashion shoot in zero gravity.
This is why, if you want to make a livelihood as a photographer, you shouldn’t rely solely on this choice. Even if you don’t win, entering a contest is a terrific opportunity to expand your network and have your work and website’s link displayed on other websites. It will help you gain exposure, improve your SEO, and ultimately bring you more clients. Here’s a rundown of the most prestigious photo competitions – but there are many more for every genre if you’re inquisitive and conduct a quick Google search.
6. Wedding Photography
Many photographers choose to specialize in wedding photography. As a photographer, this specialty has the potential to make you a lot of money. There’s a reason for that. The amount of worry, planning, and labor you’ll have to do is enormous.
It is not only financially rewarding work, but it is also a tremendously gratifying job. You have the opportunity to be a part of one of the happiest days in the lives of certain people.
However, the stakes are pretty high. You’re in charge of documenting one of the happy couple’s most important moments. As a result, it’s critical that you get adequate practice. You’re on your path to becoming a wedding photographer if you’ve already shot events or portraits.
If you aren’t sure you are ready to shoot weddings, you can try the following to get a similar idea:
- Work as a second shooter.
- Photograph engagement sessions.
- Create a stylized shoot (a fake wedding).
- Photograph the rehearsal.
7. Invest in your art
“Many are called, but few are chosen,” says the proverb. Making money from a personal project is the Holy Grail for many – if not all – photographers. In fact, it’s a crucial determinant of your chances of becoming a professional photographer. The journey is long, and the outcomes are uncertain because you never know how gallerists, curators, or periodicals will react to your work. But if a celebrity comes knocking, you’d best be ready to answer it, because recognition brings with it a plethora of options to make money as a photographer.
Exhibitions, talks, and publications are just a few examples. Do you want to take a chance? First, read this inspiring guide to bringing your photography idea to life, which includes 9 steps. Publish the images on your photography website once they’re finished. Finally, take advantage of the enormous potential of social media platforms to the fullest extent possible. Some photographers have become overnight sensations thanks to a clever Instagram or Facebook post – like Wix photographer Camila Fontenele, who converted 6,000 individuals into Frida Kahlo for her beautiful photographic project.
8. Make Your Own Photo Book
Making your own photo book is a less popular technique to earn money from photography. There are numerous galleries available on the internet. In many ways, though, photo albums are preferable to computerized galleries.
Photo albums allow you a great deal of personalization. Unlike a photo album, your photo book can be customized in any way you like. You may add text to your photos, create frames around them, and organize your collection. You can make a photo book in an hour or two if you’re organized. You might also try customizing a photo book, such as the Self Adhesive Photo Album, by purchasing it online.
Photo books are a low-cost option. Hundreds of images must be printed, and a decent album must be purchased. Many picture book services charge as little as $10 for a book.
They’re also fantastic gifts for friends and family who wish to save all of their memories in one safe location.
They’re perfect for handing out to clients. Some photographers prefer to publish books with their portfolios. This aids in the prevention of a range of internet-related problems. It also gives you a more professional appearance.
A photobook can be made in a variety of ways. You don’t have to spend hours on your laptop editing and building one. Designers on some websites, such as Shutterfly, may create your picture book in as little as three business days. Blurb is also an excellent place to start building your professional portfolio. You only need to upload your images.
It is critical that you select a theme for your photo book. It will appear more enticing and engaging as a result of this. You can choose a single theme for the entire book or separate themes for each of the ten pages.
Once you’ve decided on a theme, you can begin selecting your favorite photos.
Avoid having too many of the same type of photos. Use a variety of angles, lighting, and positions in your photographs. As a result, your photo book will be as different as possible.
Bright photos should take precedence over gloomy ones. It’s also a good idea to stay away from photos that are extremely blurry because they seem unpleasant when printed on a page. Similarly, too much contrast or sharpness can wreak havoc on your image.
When choosing a resolution for your images, go for the highest possible. The majority of photography websites have a maximum and minimum file size restriction. The closer you get to the limit, the better your photos will seem when printed.
9. License Through Flickr & Getty Images
Thousands of individuals use Flickr to start making money from their images. You may now license your photographs through Getty Images if you have a Flickr account. As a result, when people see them, they may decide to pay to utilize them, earning you money.
On their photo pages, Flickr members can enable a “Request to License” feature. The link will appear next to the licence details. Getty Images examines the photographer’s work when a member submits a request. They’ll get in touch with the Flickr user and assist with issues such as permissions, releases, and pricing. However, I would advocate only displaying your finest images on Flickr.
10. Become a Photography Mentor
Mentoring is another option to consider if you want to work one-on-one with other creatives. Darina Kopcok, a Vancouver-based photographer, says, “As a photographer who focuses on one genre, I have always pursued multiple income streams as a way of weathering the natural lulls in my business.”
“Generating additional income from premium stock and e-book sales has proven to be extremely beneficial at this time. In addition, I offer one-on-one online mentoring. Photographers currently have more time on their hands, therefore I’ve observed an upsurge in these services.’
“Think about where your skills fit best and where you’d feel most at ease, and go for those opportunities.” It’s more behind-the-scenes work for me, such as shooting stock, producing articles and e-books, and coaching people.”
If you want to be a photography mentor, talk to some of the local high schools, universities, and institutions that offer photography classes. Some of these students are likely to seek out one-on-one opportunities to work with or intern with a professional photographer in order to advance their careers.
Related: 25 Best Apps To Make Money in Canada
11. Use Galleries to Sell Your Photographs
Selling your photographs at local galleries is a terrific method to supplement your income. However, it is critical to determine what sells. Photos of scenic scenery or local landmarks that remind people of their surroundings will sell. International landmarks, well-known landscapes, and photographs of well-known personalities may appeal to a broad audience. However, they will be less popular in a local market.
As a general rule, photographs with people in them will not sell. Cliched subjects work well in photographs. A photograph of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, for example, or a boat in a seaside town. Tourists enjoy these, despite the fact that they are overdone for natives.
Request wall space in person. The simplest approach to find out if your images have been accepted into a gallery is to visit it. Show them your work in person, and take only about ten of your best images.
You’ll have to talk about pricing with the local gallery if they wish to show your images. Each situation has its own pricing. Some places will let you rent wall space. Some will demand a small monthly fee as well as a cut of your revenues. Others may handle all of the printing and pricing, but they will charge a higher fee.
12. Club Photography
This is a particularly specific type of photography, which is why it’s mentioned here. Professional nightclubs work with well-known promoters. These promoters are all looking for nighttime images of their club, and you can be the one to offer them. It’s worthwhile for the promoter to hire a photographer to document the event. These photographs are used to promote the club on Facebook.
The bulk of club photographers is in their early twenties, as you’ll notice. As a result, you don’t need to have a lot of experience to find work. Go to a nightclub with your camera anyway if you want to improve your photography.
And, as a little added bonus, if you enjoy this sort of thing, you start going to a lot of gigs for free. Go out tonight and take some photos at a local club/gig/event.
13. Photograph small businesses
A firm without a website nowadays is like to a weekend without a lie-in. Restaurants, hotels, and yoga instructors all have an online presence that requires stunning imagery. This is the point at which you approach them and offer to shoot their stores, offices, or teams. What method do you use to locate them? In the first place, in real life.
Take a trip around your neighborhood and introduce yourself to local business owners, explaining what you do and how you can help them attract more customers with amazing photography. Bring a tablet or computer to demonstrate your web portfolio, as some consumers prefer visuals to explanations.
Don’t forget about the internet. Many businesses in your area are likely to hunt for a photographer on Google, and you want to be one of the first results that come up, so make sure your photography website’s local SEO is up to par. Did someone just say AirBnb? Individuals are increasingly renting apartments for short periods of time. They are in serious need of nice interior photographs. And it’s just one example of how you might reach out to an unexpected audience. Think outside the box: you’d be amazed how many individuals require the services of a skilled photographer like you.
14. Become a social guru
Is your Instagram as enticing as Kim’s? You, like the rest of us, began with a few likes from your friends and comments from your mother under each post (“That’s my girl!”). Since then, you’ve learned how to use Facebook like a pro photographer, and you’ve amassed quite a following. It may not appear obvious, yet it is something you can use.
In the marketing world, collaborating with internet influencers is a common strategy. You’ll get a lot of items from brands to write and share about, whether it’s new gear, an invitation to a photo conference, or exclusive access to an app. You get to keep the gift in exchange, and you might even get paid for your time and effort.
Warning! Don’t accept every offer since you don’t want your social profiles to resemble a Christmas catalog. Make sure your postings are not only beneficial to the firm you work for but also truly interesting to the people in your community.
15. Shoot portraits
In an ideal world, you’d be able to shoot photographs in your own studio. Fortunately, you can get by without one just well. Many clients prefer outdoor or location shooting, so even if you’re as free(lancer) as a bird, you’ll have plenty of options. Try to think outside the box and don’t just supply the standard ‘passport’ photos. People want nice photos of themselves for their websites, LinkedIn profiles, and, why not, their Tinder profiles.
Is it necessary to limit yourself to bipeds? Obviously not. Pet owners are willing to pay a lot of money to have their greatest companions immortalized, and they are willing to pay a lot of money to have a professional help them. The only thing you’re missing now is a good photographic portfolio to show off your range of abilities to potential clients.
16. Sell photos to magazines
What if I told you that Only in the United States are over 7,000 printed publications in circulation? And that’s without mentioning the innumerable online outlets. In most countries, the same is true: you can find outlets for any interest or job, from boar hunting to WC manufacturers. And, because a magazine is never without photographs, you’ll always have a ready supply of commissioned works.
Photographers’ jobs might range from covering an event to capturing photographs for an interview or illustrating current information. Working with magazines necessitates establishing a network and establishing a reputation in the industry. So, before approaching the big brands, it’s best to start small and target local and regional magazines first.
17. Shoot events
It’s one of the most traditional ways for a photographer to earn money. Weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, corporate functions… You have a lot of options available to you. It’s physically demanding and can be draining, yet there’s money to be made. The amount you can charge is mostly determined by your reputation, the season, and the location.
Remember to include the hours of pre-and post-production in your quotes to your clients, not just the action time. And, once again, the Internet has made contracting easier than ever. More than any other employment, you’ll need a complete internet portfolio at your disposal for this one. It must also be entirely SEO optimized. It’s critical since event photographers are most likely to be discovered through a Google search.
18. Edit and retouch
Many people would pay to have their images altered, from a model who wants to eliminate minor flaws to a hotel owner who wants their resort to appear sunnier. It’s an open door for you to make some additional cash if you’re talented with a brush and a lasso (or if you’ve just finished one of these fantastic Photoshop online courses).
It’s simple to work from home at any time of day (or night), making it an ideal side hustle for a photographer. Simply build a new area on your photography website where you’ll post some videos demonstrating how to turn a mundane shot into a stunning image before you begin…
19. Try Real Estate Photography
Offering your services to an interior designer or a real estate agent is another wonderful approach to earn money. Decide who you’d like to collaborate with. Calculate local photography job rates and look at some real estate photography sample photographs.
After that, you’ll have to make your own packaging. A rate sheet, a contract, and other data should be included to ensure that the entire process runs well.
Then it’s only a matter of networking and locating prospective clients! Local real estate events can be found on Meetup.com, Meero, or Facebook groups. You can also attend design-related conferences or events to make connections.
Do not underestimate the power of word of mouth, regardless of how you network. Make sure to tell your relatives, friends, and coworkers that you’re looking for new clientele. Create a social media page dedicated just to real estate photography.
20. Assist Other Photographers
You’d want to generate money with photography but aren’t ready to take on your own projects just yet? Assisting other photographers is a good idea.
One of the finest methods to gain experience and start making money quickly is to assist a photographer. If you want to work at weddings and other events, you’ll need a solid portfolio. High-end jobs, such as fashion, are also available. You won’t get behind the camera here, but you will acquire valuable experience and money.
On the job, photographers frequently require assistants, and you should expect to be paid for your time. The best part is that you don’t have to go looking for a job; it comes to you.
Finding individuals willing to give you the money you want for the work you’re competent at is the most difficult aspect. Take some time right now to look for local photographers who are currently operating in your region. Make contact with them and inquire if they require assistance. If you like, offer to do it the first time for free. They’ll want you back if you’re actually good.
First and foremost, you’ll make a lot of money without having to deal with all of the negotiating and other headaches that come with being the main contractor. It’s also a great method to cut down on downtime.
You’ll need to network if you want to acquire more of these kinds of offers. Join local photography clubs, join professional associations, and don’t forget about picture groups on Facebook and other social media platforms.
Thousands of active photographers offer to work with them, frequently at the last minute. That means you should turn on notification mode and prepare a bag of stuff that will always be waiting for you in your flat. Money, money, money: An assistant photographer’s second name should be efficiency. In a symbiotic relationship, partners will hire you for your ability to work quickly and instinctively.
21. Build a Blog
Creating a photography blog is a fantastic method to get your work noticed. One of the most effective tools at your disposal is creating a solid photography blog to complement your photographic portfolio.
The first entails placing advertisements and being paid every time a visitor clicks on them. The second method is through referrals, which entails agreeing to include a certain link in one of your posts. You’ll get a commission if people click this link, just like with advertisements. The final option is to write reviews of a company’s products or services.
If you want to make a living from your writing, you’ll need to demonstrate good traffic figures, regardless of which choice you choose. This necessitates the creation of high-quality material. And you’re in luck because we’ve put up a comprehensive tutorial to creating a blog for your photography website.
To construct your own website, you must first get a domain name and website hosting. Install WordPress, a theme, and some plugins after that. Write your first article, and your website is up and running!
- Find your niche and an angle that suits your photography style.
- Develop a unique photography style and aesthetic that suits your work.
- Upload consistently and constantly to keep people engaged.
- Learn marketing tricks to promote your work on new platforms like TikTok, and tried-and-true favorites like Instagram.
22. Start Teaching online and offline
The internet is not for everyone to learn from. Reach out to those people and show them how it’s done one on one if you have the skills to teach. Whether it’s through group classes or one-on-one sessions, a good instructor may make a solid livelihood.
You may also bundle tutorials and sell them as a package on your website or another platform. “Right now, we’re seeing a new business trend, which is online video training,” oneinchpunch’s Italian photographer Cristian Negroni says.
23. Enter Photography Competitions or contests
Some competitions award cash, while others provide the opportunity to realize your dream photography project, such as Reiko Wakai, the winner of the most recent Wix Photography event, who earned a high-fashion shoot in zero gravity (see the video below!). Of course, unless you decide to pay the jury (which we strongly advise against), the outcome of any tournament is quite unpredictable.
Photo contests, I believe, are one opportunity to make money that most people overlook. When I visited one of my models’ houses, there was a really bad picture of her from when she was younger on the wall. It seems to have been taken in a playground by a friend it turns out that a photographer in Canada won $2500 for it.
Entering picture contests does not take long. Even if you don’t win, it will help you get your work noticed. Your work might even get critiqued if you’re lucky.
This is why, if you want to make a livelihood as a photographer, you shouldn’t rely solely on this choice. Even if you don’t win, entering a contest is a terrific opportunity to expand your network and have your work and website’s link displayed on other websites. It will help you gain exposure, improve your SEO, and ultimately bring you more clients Here’s a rundown of the most prestigious photo competitions – but there are many more for every genre if you’re inquisitive and conduct a quick Google search.
How Much Money Can You Make as a Photographer?
According to the New York Institute of Photography, here are some general figures about how much photographers should earn based on their expertise.
- Hobbyist: Free (or under $100). These are mainly people who love photography and simply like to practice their passion for fun. They offer to do shoots for relatives and friends for free or way below market price.
- Amateur: $25 – $75 per hour. This is someone who is just beginning in the photography world.
- Student: $50-100 per hour or $25-100 per image. Students’ rates depend on their skill and the amount of experience they have. But, if they are advanced, they can charge as much as professionals.
- Semi-Pro: $50–$150 per hour or $50-125 per image. These are photography school graduates who have completed formal training and have some professional experience. Although they might not yet own their own studio, they are not beginners and therefore charge a slightly higher rate.
- Professional: $75-$250 per hour or $75-$250 per image. This photographer has a lot of experience and has earned respect for his or her work.
- Top Professional: $200-$500+ per hour or $250-$1,500 per image. These are the cream of the crop, the elite, highly in-demand photographers.
How Do Freelance Photographers Make Money?
Photographers who work as freelancers are self-employed. They accept projects from a variety of organizations and individuals as needed.
Freelancers have the freedom to choose the projects they want to work on. It might be for a media company, a newspaper, an event, or a commercial shoot, for example. They are paid on a project-by-project, hour-by-hour, and day-by-day basis. Freelance photographers must sell their work in order to generate money. To find new projects, it’s critical to have a solid portfolio and network.
What Type of Photos Sell Best?
There isn’t a single type of photograph that sells the most anywhere. It depends on where you sell your photographs, the niche you’re targeting, and the type of consumer you have. There are a few categories that sell better than others if you’re selling on stock photography websites.
Images depicting people going about their daily lives, nature, animals, and transportation, for example, are very popular. Furthermore, corporate photos of men and women, electronics, and money are in high demand.
Photography may be used to earn money in a variety of ways. You can make money by selling prints, providing photography or retouching services, or teaching. You can make money with your photography skills depending on your personality and interests.
If you want to discover how to turn your passion for photography into a lucrative career, we’ve got the information you need. While we consume more visual content on a global scale, there will always be a demand for images that convey stories. Earning money through photography has never been easier in a world when more people are pursuing side hustles through the gig economy, contributing to stock, or dabbling with remote employment.