Your passion for photography can help you earn more money than those who spend their days filling Excel sheets in offices.
You have a wide range of niches for photography, e.g., portrait, still life, food, landscape, wildlife, fashion, and wedding.
The best thing about photography is that you have so much to explore, and you are not bound to the cubicles of an office.
The skill of photography is a natural ability present in some people.
You need an eye that can see the beauty of nature and memorable moments.
Those who become great photographers have tremendous opportunities, and others highly appreciate their work.
According to the data of U.S photographers in 2018, they earned an average of $40,845, which is $13,043 less than the average national salary of $53,888.
Beginners can make a decent amount of money, though, and that’s why photography is one “job” to consider.
All you need is a portfolio and the equipment to start your earning without any office.
Ways to Earn Money from Photography
You can earn enough money by improving your skills and with some dedication.
Photography comes with the big bucks, so be thankful that you’re in the right hobby.
Unlike you, my interests are in less glamorous things like parenting and dirty children.
With that interest of yours, here are some ways you can turn your passion into a profession with something as simple yet awesome as photography.
1. Photography for Businesses
Small businesses need photos for online publicity or for their company brochures.
In short, they need photographers to help them with these tasks.
Start visiting different outlets, stores, and businesses around your house.
Tell them about your work and ask them if they need a photographer.
Take your tablet or laptop with you to show them your online portfolio.
If you have a website, make sure to publish SEO-friendly content that ranks higher in the search engines, as most startups look for photographs online.
They think online visibility is more credible and want to hire people online.
Ensure that your friends and family are promoting your photography skills among their peers.
2. Sell Your Photos
Many websites are established to upload your photographs, and in exchange, they give you a handsome amount of money.
These websites have different policies and money ranges for various genres.
IStock, BigStock, and ShutterStock are some websites where you can upload high-resolution stock images.
These sites have millions of images and videos.
Companies, media outlets, and marketing agencies buy images from these platforms.
From these, you will get a commission after each download.
The commission is different on every site, depending on the license type, photo quality, and some other factors.
Make sure your photo description has as many keywords as possible; sometimes, companies do not notice your pictures because of millions of other similar images.
Have an eye on your competitors to know what content is attracting people.
Also, consider something like Photography Jobs Online, as they can guide you to the higher-paying photography companies that will pay you for your photos.
3. Start Your Blog or YouTube Channel
Blogging is a great start for earning money, especially now.
You can earn money by blogging if you have the potential to write.
You can earn by adding advertisements and referrals on your blogging site, and you can also write reviews of companies and add photographs to it.
Optimize your content to gain enough traffic on your site.
Publish content that people want to know of.
For example, tricks, tips, and tutorials in photography will be an excellent start for beginners.
YouTube channels are another great option.
Make videos on content people normally search for, for example, tutorials and tips.
Your channel needs to have sufficient followers before starting earning.
Learn how to make money with YouTube here, and you’ll see just how lucrative the platform really is.
4. Start Freelancing
Freelancing is a self-employed job.
You have to travel a lot and interact with people.
As a freelancer, you can start by putting your photos on your site and social media pages, or you can work for clients.
Regardless of the method you choose, you need to have a logo, website, or social media page and the right equipment.
At first, you will find it difficult, but that’s just like everything else in life.
You will have various projects at the same time, and prices will also vary.
But when you have made clients, it will become easier to earn a good amount of cash.
Freelancing is great in the sense that you can choose your hours of work, but it does have more benefits.
5. Teach Photography
Teaching photography to beginners is the easiest way of earning money.
Photography classes include tips, techniques, and tricks for taking photos, e.g., fill the frame, rule of thirds, etc.
Teach about lighting techniques or give information on how to reduce blur effects in their photographs.
You can start giving classes from your home, start an office, or make tutorials and publish them online.
In this way, you can encourage photography, increase your skills, gain more experience in the field, and, of course, earn more money.
6. Shoot Events and Weddings
Events and wedding photography are profitable but, at the same time, exhausting experiences.
You can cover birthdays, seminars, weddings, parties, and company events.
By covering events regularly, you are able to create a strong portfolio.
Don’t start it just for the sole purpose of making money, though.
Initially, shoot events of your friends and family for building your portfolio only.
After that, you will get plenty of chances to earn money when people see your online presence.
Always do pre and pro-production work on your projects, as this makes your work easier.
Lastly, always ask your clients to give feedback after the project so you can see and work on ways to improve.
7. Participate in a Contest
You should not depend on a contest only to make money.
National and international photography contests will help you come into the spotlight, make connections, improve your SEO, and get your website link featured on other web pages.
These competitions give you rewards like money, shields, or sometimes other projects.
These are great for exposure, new experiences, and attracting more clients.
They increase your credibility among clients, and they also increase traffic on your blog.
If you have one.
8. Sell Photographs to Clients
7,218 printed magazines are in circulation in the U.S., according to the stats 2019.
Online magazines are not included in it.
The online website of “ESPN The Magazine” alone has 15.79 million online visitors as of June 2019.
These magazines need images in every single feature and article; it may be a company review, a travel guide, or an article on a new product.
You can do commission work for magazines, but you need a network and little popularity to start working for any magazine.
Start slowly and work with local publications before reaching the national level.
You will get different contracts like taking photographs in interviews, editing their images, or visiting any place and taking photographs of it.
9. Paparazzi Photographers
Paparazzi photographers take candid pictures of celebrities, politicians, and famous people.
It is not as easy as it seems, though, as you have to take the best shot at any moment.
A camera in your hand will not make you successful, but I’m sure you know that.
You need to understand every single feature of your camera so that you can adjust settings in seconds according to the environment.
Professional paparazzi need to have the best equipment, like high-quality DSLRs and lenses, along with a freelance account or connections in an agency.
They should know about all the celebrities and search for locations where they can find them.
Just don’t become one of those celebrity stalkers you see on TV, and you should be fine.
Get into good connections with organizations; this is a great way to sell your photos.
If you are not clever enough to figure out the price of your pictures and are not ready to mentally and physically exhaust yourself, this job is probably not for you.
10. Take Portraits
Usually, you need a studio to shoot portraits, but you can survive without it.
People want beautiful portraits for their LinkedIn profiles, websites, and Tinder display pictures.
You can use your creativity and take pictures outside in a natural environment and, well, earn money doing it.
Some clients also need outdoor photographers, so consider that as well.
Pet owners also search for photographers who can take beautiful pictures of their friends, and they are ready to pay a handsome amount of money.
This way, you will not be the boring photographer who only takes passport pictures in their studio.
You only need a good online portfolio to attract more clients, so keep that in mind if you plan on taking portraits.
Think about those local photo chops that use all that crazy dressing-up stuff.
11. Assistant photographers
You can work as an assistant photographer because most professionals need assistants due to their busy schedules.
It is a great way to make money if you aren’t trying to get serious just yet.
You don’t need to worry about dealing with clients, pre or pro-production, and you can stay away from all the hustle.
Talk to local photographers to find work to find out if they need assistance.
Enter yourself in photography groups on Facebook, join photography clubs, and enroll in professional associations.
If you get hired by someone, try to do work to the best of your ability.
I know I don’t need to tell you that, but sometimes, a friendly reminder can do wonders.
Later, they can invite you for more work and discuss your work with others in the industry.
12. Edit images
All you need is a laptop installed with Photoshop and Illustrator to edit images.
From a company that needs to edit its building images to a celebrity who wants to make his/her images more glamorous, an editor is needed just about everywhere.
If you have a full command of Photoshop tools, brushes, and lassos, you can make some extra money.
Editing and retouching images have benefits, such you working from home at any time, and most especially, can earn you a lot of money.
You can use your money to buy a DSLR and lenses for your passion.
Make a section on your website letting your visitors know that you do editing, write information about your editing skills, and consider making video tutorials.
This will make it easy for your clients to know more about you, which will lead to more projects for you.
13. Create Your Sites
Now, you don’t need to be a website developer, and you don’t need to learn how to program or code.
There are so many website builders that help you create your own websites, such as Wix, SITE123, and Strikingly, but there are many others.
Some of them charge a few bucks, but the charges are not more than the money you will earn after having a website.
You can easily create your own website with the help of these tools, and experience in all fields is always beneficial for you.
You can also make websites for your clients when photography is having an off-season.
If that’s even a thing.
This will attract more clients and get you more money, which is always great.
14. Sell Your Printed Copies
People acknowledge beautiful pictures.
You can sell printed copies of your pictures on different platforms like websites, outlets, cafes, restaurants, and on your social media profiles.
Sell your photographs in the form of frames in local art galleries and craft fairs if there are any in your area.
Give your clients printed versions of your photographs so they can see your work.
But before doing that, find a printing press or a printing service to get your pictures to a much higher quality than you are used to.
You can print your image on different materials, such as t-shirts, cups, and notebooks, and then sell them.
Don’t print images with portraits of human beings because people will not buy them unless they’re just weird or something.
Remember that they will need a frame so that they can display these pictures in their homes and offices.
The Bottom Line
If you are passionate, hardworking, and creative, no one can stop you from living a dream life as a photographer.
You can start making money with whatever skill or talent you have, so don’t feel that you need to be professional.
To show others your talent, create your website and social media pages to get you started.
Start working for magazines and media outlets, as I mentioned earlier, and then you can expand.
Also, make some money from selling your images through other websites and working as a freelancer for clients and smaller businesses.
You can be your own boss by doing photography as a freelancer, so try to be spontaneous and consistent in your work.
Build your credibility in the industry, and please don’t feel ashamed to work for others and get less money for your work.
Be ready for troubles and hurdles in your profession, build a network of friends in your industry, and in the end, you will get rewarded for your hard work.
Nothing comes easy, but who can complain if you’re actually into what you’re doing?
That’s the beauty of working in something you are truly passionate about.