How to make money as a photographer

Making money with photography is the dream for a lot of people. Though photography as purely a hobby is plenty for others. In this article, I will share some ideas to earn money from your hobby. Or turn it into your profession.

In general, we all start out as hobbyists in photography. Some pour more time, effort, and money into it. And some might want to see some money return from those investments.

Here are some possible ways you can make money with your photography. How much depends on what you do and how much effort you put into it.

Of course, it’s possible to combine these money-making ideas. Or you can select one or two that feel natural for you.

Ways to make money with your photography

Please comment with more ideas that you might have to make money as a photographer. This way, I can add them, and we can all grow together.

Take on assignments for customers

Let’s start out with one of the hard ways to make money as a photographer: doing photography for people. You can do this full-time, part-time, or just on weekends.

If you go full-time, you will need plenty of customers. If you are going to do it just on the weekends, you can pick the customers you like to work with and don’t need to look if you’re making enough money.

You will find families that need a photo within your network or on social media. Or maybe someone you know will get married. 

In Facebook groups, there are often people looking for photographers. Make sure to join those groups and show off your best work.

Take on assignments for businesses

Maybe family portraits and weddings aren’t your things (just like me). In that case, you can go the B2B route.

Companies big and small need photos. They need some content for their social media. Or to have their websites and brochures made more visual.

In this case, you can go into the niche you prefer. Into a certain kind of topic or product? You can find businesses that sell or provide it; With your knowledge, the photos will be even better.

For example, if you are into sports, you could find your local sports shop and help them make photos for their social media. Or a personal trainer that needs images for their website.

If you want, you can even specialize further. Only doing headshots for sports professionals, for example.

Or doing coverage of sports events. What’s going on next to the field?

Find a niche you like in a sector you have an interest in, and you’ll be sure to be able to target some clients. They might even be in your network anyway. It’s a solid way to make money with your photography.

Sell prints online

Maybe photography is something you do purely for yourself. You like going out and taking beautiful photos of landscapes or the world around you, and you don’t want to take pictures on request for customers.

You may have made some lovely prints of those photos for yourself. Would you consider making those for other people too? 

You can sell those prints on your website or use platforms like Etsy or Facebook. People love hanging artwork in their homes.

Before you know it, your work is hanging on someone’s wall.

License your photos (via wirestock)

Maybe some of your work is less artsy and more informative. You can still sell those photos, and stock photo websites make it easy to sell them to anyone who can use them—mainly publishing.

I use Wirestock to get my photos to all different agencies. Sign up here for that service for free.

Uploading stock photos can earn you a lot of money though it’s not guaranteed.

It’s a one-time effort to upload and tag the photos. Wirestock allows you to do even less, as they do much of that work for you.

Once uploaded, you can sit back and relax. Or make more photos to add to your catalog and make it as big as possible.

Join competitions for the prize money

Competitions often have some lovely prizes for you to win. Of course, there’s no guarantee. So it might be all for nothing. 

But even then, if photography is a hobby, that’s okay. It’s just one way to boost your bank account (and your self-esteem) possibly.

Start a blog or YouTube channel

This is a long game. One, as you can see from my photo blog, is one I play too. It takes some effort to start and needs a lot of maintenance afterward.

Though once it’s going, it keeps going. 

Adding ads and affiliate links to your articles and content can help you get extra revenue. And who knows, maybe some gear is gifted to you to review. I will talk about reviewing later in this article.

The nice thing about blogging and vlogging is that you learn more about photography as you go along. And the content you generate often keeps working for you via SEO.

Be an assistant to a photographer

If you don’t feel ready to take up your own clients yet, being an assistant to another photographer can be helpful. 

Helping them set up gear for portrait shoots, for example, can be an insightful learning experience while you get paid.

Or second shooting for someone at a wedding. You get to learn, get paid, and build your portfolio all at the same time.

Teach photography

If you have a lot of experience and a good feel for explaining it, you can take up teaching.

It can be coaching other photographers to improve their photography or starting with complete beginners. 

Focusing on something specific in one-off workshops could be an excellent way to make money with your photography.

Of course, this requires being knowledgeable and skilled.

Sell screensavers of your work

It’s more or less the same as selling your work online, but in this case, you can focus on a specific product.

For example, make versions of your photos that work well as smartphone backgrounds. Some people like their photos, but others want something pretty to spruce up their backgrounds.

You can make small collections to sell on your website or other platforms. People can pay a small amount for it and download them to use as a background. They might even mention your name to friends who compliment them on their screensaver.

Organize photo tours in your city

You can work with travel agencies to show tourists the most excellent photo spots in your city or region. Not only can you show them where to go, but also how to photograph it. 

You’re the expert in this case. It’s also a fun way to meet new people. People might buy a print of you to have in their house; you never know.

Sell NFTs to make money

The new thing of 2022. I haven’t dived into this, but it’s similar to selling your photos as prints. Only digitally and without printing.

Of course, it’s best to research this more and see what would work for you. Maybe this isn’t your thing entirely.

Sell photobooks

If you focus your photography on a specific topic, it could be interesting to bundle those photos into a book. Selling books is an excellent way to make money.

This requires an upfront investment, which you might not see returned. So it’s not entirely without risk.

But selling a photobook can make money and motivate you to work on your photography even more.

Rent out your gear

You might have collected a lot of gear throughout your interest in photography. Maybe renting out the pieces you don’t use too often can be a way to make money. 

It’s especially interesting if you have specialized gear that people only might need once in a while.

Sell Lightroom Presets

Some people like them, and others hate them. But there is a market for Lightroom Presets. If you are good at editing and have some presets you made for yourself, selling them can be worth it.

You have websites where you can sell them or host your own shop.

Gear reviewer

Similar to blogging or vlogging, this is a way to get money from your content. You can review the gear you have, borrow some of your friends, and make your start that way.

If your audience grows, you might get gear from manufacturers to review. And they may even pay you for it.

Coach other professional photographers

Maybe you’re a professional or have business skills that can help other photographers. Your combined knowledge of business and photography can be an excellent way to earn money.

Teach photographers how to make more money themselves. Or how to get a good workflow going with their customers. You could write content for them to publish.

Which of these ideas will you implement? Or do you have some more ideas? Let me know in the comments!

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