How to Make Money with Photography – Small Business Trends
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Photography can be so much more than a hobby. Those who enjoy photography often are inclined to turn their passions into successful small businesses. With some talent, a camera and a computer, any photo enthusiast has the potential to make money in the photography industry. There are so many ways to make money with photography, including the following 21 amazing methods.
21 Amazing Ways to Make Money with Photography
Do you dream of becoming a professional photographer? Do you have photography skills, a camera and a computer? Whether you want to specialize in wedding photography, sell poster prints online or edit photos for other photographers, you can make money in the photography industry.
Many photographers become successful small business owners by specializing in one or more photography niche, and sometimes diversifying their efforts is the formula for financial success. Interested in making money with photography? The next question then becomes where to sell photos, because there are many options. You can earn money as a photographer in the following 21 ways:
1. Create a Photography Blog
Photographers can make money by creating photography blogs featuring their work and expert advice. A photography blogger attracts visitors to their website by publishing vivid photographs, often for sale, and other web content including photography tutorials and articles about the craft. When a blog attracts a large enough following, it can be monetized by featuring ads, affiliate marketing links and other influencer marketing efforts.
2. Advertise Wedding Photography Services
You can establish a small business as a wedding photographer. There is always a great demand for shooting weddings, and a wedding photography business is a great way to make money in the industry. Remember, a wedding isn’t an opportunity simply to point and shoot your camera. The bride and groom want to look amazing in their wedding photos, so you’ll want to sharpen your photo editing skills. Taking impressive photos of weddings can then open doors to other event photography opportunities. Many wedding photographers start small and ultimately open their own studios.
3. Sell Stock Photos on Stock Photography Sites
One of the most popular ways to make money with photography is by selling your work on stock photography websites like Shutterstock and iStock. Stock sites allows customers to purchase permission to use a digital image for personal or commercial use. Photographers submit their best images to the stock sites, which then display the images for sale in their digital catalogs. Customers purchase the photography online, download the images, and the stock photography website pays the photographer a portion of the revenue.
4. Join Photo Contests
One way many budding photographers try making money with photography is by joining photo contests that award cash prizes for the best photos. You don’t have to look very hard to find a plethora of available photography contests, many offering substantial prize money. Not only does winning a photo contest mean you’re making money with photography, but it offers valuable exposure that can lead to other paid professional photography opportunities.
5. Sell Photo Prints
People are always looking for amazing photos and wall art to decorate their homes and workplaces. Some professional photographers make a living by selling photo prints on their own website. You might find a market selling landscape photography or travel photos, while others specialize in framed prints or canvas prints. Some photographers prefer to sell fine art prints, while others might sell more commercial images on their websites. When it comes to art, there’s a market for everything. If you’re just getting your start selling prints and don’t yet have your own website, a variety of online marketplaces like Fine Art America are available for selling high quality photos.
6. Run Photography Classes
Are you a skilled photographer with expertise to share? From finding the right cameras to the best studio lights, you can make money by running photography classes and inspiring aspiring photographers to follow in your footsteps. While you can teach photography to groups of local students, many photographers reach a larger audience by teaching photography online. Whether it’s through video tutorials on YouTube or Instagram or a webinar posted to your own website, you can attract an online audience by creating engaging educational content about photography. Then, you can charge people to access the content or you can monetize the website where the content resides.
7. Make Money with Travel Photography
Do you love traveling? You can make money photographing your experiences. There is always a demand from publishers and advertisers for travel-related photos, especially photos of popular tourist destinations. Freelance travel photographers who can also write well can boost their incomes by writing accompanying written content for travel magazines and travel agencies.
8. Specialize in Portrait Photography
Portraits continue to be in high demand among all demographics as people are always looking for a quality photographs of families, couples, teams and individuals. A photographer who specializes in shooting portraits can open their own studio or travel to take photos at locations like schools and shopping centers. While anyone can take their own portrait, not everyone is a skilled photographer who has honed the craft of portrait making and photo editing.
9. Sell Eye-catching Posters and Merch
Some online photography marketplaces specialize in posters, and photographers can transform their images into eye-catching wall art to sell to the public. Customers seeking engaging poster-sized images can visit sites like Redbubble to purchase prints, and the photographer earns a portion of the sales. Photographers also can make money by selling their photos to print on phone cases, stationery, clothing, blankets and more.
10. Offer Prints on Demand
Photographers with ample portfolios can set up their own online stores and sell prints on demand. Availabile photographs can be showcased in an online gallery, and a customer can order prints of photos they want to own, which can be sold in a variety of sizes and on multiple mediums. There’s no need to print photos in advance and risk the investment in unsold prints, just display your portfolio and wait for customers to order their favorites.
11. Freelance for a Magazine
Print and online publications like magazines and newspapers are always in need of high-quality photos, and you can make money from photography by selling images to them. Some freelance photographers take assignments from specific publications, while others take photos they believe will be of interest and sell them to the highest bidder. Publication niches that feature freelance photography range from travel, outdoors and entertainment to auto sales and real estate listings.
12. Become a Paparazzo
If you live in an area known for its celebrity sightings, you might be able to make money as a paparazzo photographer, shooting images of major names at events and in their everyday lives. Paparazzi jobs in places like Los Angeles and New York City are lucrative, and the photographers are well paid for in-demand shots of celebrities, but it is also a challenging and highly-competative market.
13. Advertise Maternity Photo Shoots
Some professional photographers make names for themselves by specializing in the maternity photo shoot niche. Expectant mothers and their families love to cherish the memories of a pregnancy, and a photographer who can capture that special glow can build a successful small business with loyal clientele. Photographers can either open their own studio where they conduct maternity photo shoots, or they can take their photos on location in cooperation with their customers.
14. Promote Pet Photography
Do you relate well to animals? Pet photography is a niche growing in popularity as more customers look to preserve precious memories of their furry family members. Photographers who can establish rapport with pets, and who have the reflexes to capture fleeting photographic moments before they pass, can find success promoting pet photography, which can take place at a studio but more often takes place at locations like parks and clients’ homes.
15. Sell Real Estate Photos for Advertisements
Taking photos for real estate advertisements can be a lucrative gig for professional photographers. When listing properties on websites and in trade publications, realtors need high-quality photographs to showcase the homes. The better the photographs, the more interest they will generate. You can make money with photography by sharpening your photographic skills, shooting buildings in ways that bring them to life and showcase their best features.
16. Photograph Small Businesses
Its hard for any modern small business to succeed without a web presence, and nobody wants to visit a website without images. While some companies will choose to purchase stock photographs for their websites, many small businesses seek professional photographers to capture these important images. You can make money from photography by specializing in providing services to small businesses, shooting photos of their properties, teams, products and services.
17. Become an Instagram Influencer
If you frequently post high-quality, engaging photographs to social media platforms like Instagram, and you develop a large following of fans, you can monetize your social media presence as an Instagram influencer. Influencers produce an abundance of social media content, then earn money through activities like selling merchandise, featuring affiliate links and accepting donations.
18. Photograph Events
Weddings aren’t the only events where photographers are in high demand. From company events to homecoming dances to family reunions, people love having photos to remember life’s special moments. Sometimes event photographers are hired to take a portfolio of images for the organization, while others take individual shots and sell photos to attendees. By offering their business cards at events, photographers can take advantage of key networking opportunities and further expand their small businesses.
19. Edit and Retouch Photos
You don’t have to be behind the camera to make money with photography. If you are a photographer who has mastered the craft of editing and retouching photos, you can form a small business performing the service for others. You don’t even need a fancy camera to retouch photos. All you need is a computer and any of an assortment of available photo editing software options.
20. Serve as Photography Assistant
A photographer just starting their career might make money serving as a photography assistant to another professional. An assistant photographer can learn valuable skills at the side of a seasoned photographer while making money helping with the photography equipment list, providing customer service, managing schedules, and other tasks related to the overall photography business.
21. Specialize in Infant Photography
Do you have a knack with kids? If you can connect with babies from behind the lens, you can earn a decent amount of money working as an infant photographer. Practically every new parent wants to capture the precious few moments when their children are in the infant stage, but special skill is required to take quality photos of babies. A photographer who sharpens those skills and specializes in infant photography can benefit from a high-demand niche that requires a professional with the right demeanor to work with kids.
How much money do photographers make?
How much money do photographers make? A photographer’s income can vary widely depending on the professional’s niche, location and volume of work. According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for photographers is between $30,000 and $40,000 per year, although the top 10% of earners make more than $70,000 each year. Nationwide, the median hourly wage for a photographer is just under $20 an hour, with half of photographers earning more than that wage and the other half making less.
Which type of photography makes the most money?
Photography wages widely vary because there is such a variety of niches in multiple markets, each with varying levels of demand and profitability. A high-fashion commercial photographer, for example, will make far more money than a family portrait studio in a small town. In general, commercial and marketing photographers, including advertising photography and real estate photography, earn more than those who sell photos to individuals, simply because there is a high demand and more money to be spent by big business than by private families.
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