7 Ways To Make Money With Photography
Make money with photography. As a photographer you must wonder if you can make money with photography, and is it still possible. The short answer is yes, but it’s definitely harder than it used to be.
In recent years the number of people using cameras has increased enormously. The fact that we all have mobile phones including a camera is one reason.
I think digital photography is also more enticing than film photography was. You can see the photograph as soon as you take it. Also it’s quick and easy to download it to a computer.
By comparison you had to wait until a film was developed and printed to see the photos previously.
You had to shoot the whole film before developing the photographs. Otherwise you wasted possible shots by developing the film partly unused.
Because of that, there are many, many more photos available than there used to be. The markets for photographs has also changed.
Former big users of photography like the print media has declined. People don’t buy newspapers or magazines as much as they used to.
Traditional photography business
In a moment I’ll discuss making money with photography online but first a word about more traditional ways.
Just as there is scope to earn money from photography online, it’s also still possible to have a more traditional photography business.
Photographers have been active for almost two hundred years. The internet is only in existence for less than a quarter of that time.
There’s still a need for Wedding, Event and Sports Photographers, and more beside. In fact every photographic genre is still relevant.
These will combine a web presence with the way they worked in the past. A website and mobile phone is the new office. These are available 24/7 and much cheaper.
Regardless of how long established a photographic genre is, film cameras have generally been replaced by digital ones. Traditional doesn’t mean old fashioned.
The internet is a new market
On the other hand the Internet has provided a new market to make money with photography. This is a much different and complicated market.
It’s different because it’s much easier to get into than the old print media. I have this website and I supply almost all of the photos I use on it. It wouldn’t have been as easy for me to have entered the traditional print media.
It’s more complicated because it’s so easy, almost inevitable, that some of your photos will be stolen.
You’re competing with websites that offer photos for free use. Still there are people who would rather steal photos than get them for free legitimately.
Some people think everything on the internet is for their free use. There’s an incredible sense of entitlement among many people.
If you are uploading photos to a website the Internet, use downsized versions. A photo sized 600px on the longest side will work fine online. It will print very small and be of no use like that.
Obviously if you’re uploading to a stock site, or something similar you need to supply the full photograph. Otherwise use as small a version as you can.
It may not stop theft but it will limit the photographs usefulness.
Now let’s look at some ways where you san still make some money with photography.
1. Make money with Stock Photography
With Stock Photography you give a Stock Photography agency permission to sell your photographs. They sell them for money, they keep some, and you get some.
Generally you get good money with photography for sales made through a Stock Agency. Many photographers made a good living in the past doing just that.
People who needed the use of photographs but didn’t have access to any often used stock photographs. They were used for things like advertising and illustration.
In theory, you still can make money with images with stock photography. It’s much harder now though with the way the way the photography market has changed.
This market still exists, it’s just much harder to make real money from it. There’s a greater availability of photos and many are cheaper. It is possible to make a little money.
While Stock Photography has been around since before the Internet, it’s now mainly an online thing. This does mean that you have access to a global market though.
Give it a go if you want but regard it as a hobby. It’s a slog, and you’ll probably only make a little money. It can supplement other photographic earnings but unlikely to provide a full time income.
2. Print on demand Gift Sites
There are web sites that sell T-Shirts, Mugs, Greeting Cards, Smartphone Cases and various other gifts. People provide designs for products and when one sells, it’s printed/made and shipped.
Generally you get your own page/shop. Provide designs for the gifts you want to sell and hopefully sell them.
Your designs can be photographs, can include photographs, or be art/graphic.
The drawback once again is that traffic and sales are hard come by. You need to be good at photography, design and marketing. Ohh..and have some luck. The sites themselves et traffic but with many designers on them, it’s hard to get found.
These sites often have affiliate programmes. You can join and possibly make money selling other people’s work. Other people can sell yours.
The payment the creator gets and the affiliate gets are separate. If an affiliate sells one of your products, they don’t get paid out of your earning.
If you sell one of your products through an affiliate link of your won, you get both payments.
Like everything online it’s possible but very hard to make good money. However some people do just that.
3. Make money teaching Photography online
There are lots of web sites that teach photography. You can try out some of them yourself and take some lessons.
When you know your photography well enough you can start giving lessons yourself. You can create an online course. It can be a general photography course or on a specific part of photography.
These sites; Udemy, and Teachable allow people to build courses on anything, list them and get students. They can be presented as video, audio or text.
You can start your own site to do so, or join one of these existing sites. Obviously you will have to show them that you have something to contribute.
The advantage of joining an existing site is that it will have traffic. That is the hardest thing to get online so an established traffic source is invaluable.
Once a photography course goes online it can sell for years. This can provide you with a recurring stream of income.
Obviously the more courses you can get online, the more continuing sales you can get.
This isn’t something for inexperienced photographers. You must know what your teaching well, and be able to communicate equally well.
If you feel confident enough to try this, it could be the way to go.
4. Try shooting Food Photography
This is possibly one of the best areas of photography at present. There are plenty of opportunities to shoot in this field.
Food recipe books are being written constantly and all the dishes need to be photographed.
A recipe is a set of instructions to be followed. An appetising photo will make the recipe more desirable, and is usually included.
So many food stores publish weekly advertising brouchers, and they all have food photography. New photos are a constant requirement.
Many chefs write cookery/baking books, or write regularly for magazines, and need photographs.
Food and recipe websites are numerous and increasing by the day. Again photographs of the dishes and ingredients are needed on a ongoing basis.
Restaurants produce menus and the desert in particular makes a good photograph. A desert always sounds nice, but a photo can make it irisistable.
The photos in these situations need to be spot on. This is one occasion where the temptation to produce your own photos with a smartphone will likely be resisted.
It’s a competitive area though and not easy to get into.
5. Make money taking photographs for Small Businesses
Big businesses with big advertising and publicity budgets can hire any photographer or photographic agency they want. Small businesses can’t do that.
Small businesses also have need for photographs. In some cases they probably take their own photos, particularly if they need very few.
However not all of them do. Most would still prefer if the could avail of the services of a photographer, and there are far more small businesses than large ones.
Every town and many rural areas have small businesses servicing their local population. They all need photographs occasionally.
Not only are they easy to find but you’ll will know a few yourself. They may be relatives, neighbours, or a shop you regularly frequent.
If you can persuade one of these to use your services when a photographer is needed, it might open the way to getting work from some others.
Depending on the size of the town you operate in, or how far you’re willing to travel, this could start small but grow into a full time job.
Some of these might need very few photographs and only occasionally. Then some others might need a steady supply of images.
Shops might like to advertise in local Newspapers and use photos of their stock and premises. They might promote special offers and change them regularly.
Some might produce an occasional brochure, yearly, quarterly, or more often. Brochures will always have some photographs, often a lot of images.
6. Working as a News Photographer
Being a News Photographer involves working for Newspapers and/or Magazines and supplying photographs of and about news worthy events.
Lots of news that was traditionally presented by Newspapers, is covered initially on the Internet now. This means that there are possible jobs with News websites.
You will need to shoot video as well as still photographs if covering news stories. Actually producing video is a good idea for any type of photography.
If you’re working as an employee for a publication you’ll be covering stories as directed by that publication, probably accompanying a journalist.
Getting a full time job with a Newspaper or Magazine will provide a steady wage. As the printed media declines there are less of these jobs available.
This work will involve working long and unsocial hours. If something happens and you’re asked to cover it, you just get going.
Depending on the area in which the publication circulates There may be a lot of travel involved. The possibilities range from local to international.
You may encounter some harrowing scenes, like road accidents or terror attacks. If they happen on your patch you will be expected to get the photos.You will need to be able to live with and continue to function regardless.
This is probably not the easiest of photographic jobs. If you like it and are good at it, it could be a great choice.
7. Make money with Wedding Photography
The Internet hasn’t changed every aspect of life. People still get married, have weddings, and like to have them photographed.
This is one way a photographer can make a living from photography. As long as you can get enough bookings to sustain yourself Wedding Photography is still viable.
It can be assisted by the Internet though. As a Wedding Photographer you can promote yourself with a website.
It’s also possible to supplement Wedding Photography with other photography work. Shooting engagements is an obvious complementary form of photography.
If you get booked to shoot an engagement, then you have a shoe in for the wedding. Obviously you need to do an impressive job with the first gig.
While traditionally weddings were photographed, now most are captured on video also. That’s another possible extra. Actually the video is often considered more important than the stills.
This is a genre where you have to get it right first time. There’s no second chance if you messed up one.
If possible you should try to assist a working Wedding Photographer for some time before you start your own business. Try to get very used to all that’s involved first.
Most Wedding Photographers do hire someone as a second shooter. They can shoot from different angles. In the unlikely event that the main photographer’s camera malfunctions, there’s other photos.
If Wedding Photography takes your fancy, this is still a definite career possibility.