Photography is an artistic pursuit. It requires a lot of dedication and creative effort. When starting off, many don’t think about how to earn money from photography. They are more guided by the desire to do something fun, creative, and worthwhile. But the amazing part of this artistic discipline is that it can be a potentially lucrative profession. You have to plan and execute carefully to up your game.
So, what should be your roadmap? You need some actionable ideas to start earning from your clicks.
How to make money with photography? Here are some tips to get you started.
Select a Niche and Build a Website
Finding a genre of photography that you want to specialize in, is NOT an easy task. Many photographers take years before they settle into their genre of choice. Once you realize the area you want to work in, though, photography becomes much more rewarding. When you figure your niche, start developing skills aligned to your genre. This will help you increase your credibility and build your reputation as an expert in that niche.
Set up a website with a provider like Wix.com, Squarespace.com or Adobe Portfolio (part of their Creative Cloud Photography plan). They have inbuilt templates and features to help you set up quickly. It’s much easier to share your portfolio website with potential clients, rather than sharing photos over Whatsapp.
Start your Own Photography Blog and YouTube Channel
Have a knack for writing and interacting? Start your own blog or YouTube channel. Link your blogs and vlogs to your website to get more traffic. You can start by sharing your personal fables, technical tips, aesthetic tips on photography.
Try to focus on the problems faced while photographing. Discuss practical solutions to tackle these issues, such as how to shoot in harsh conditions. This can help spark a conversation with fellow photographers. It can help you make good contacts in the business.
Once you have a decent follower count, you can earn by monetising your blogs/vlogs. A few ways in which you can earn money from photography related content are:
- Ads on your blog, and getting paid every time a visitor clicks on them.
- Writing reviews about photography products and services. Eventually, brands will be happy to collaborate and strike sponsorships with you.
- Offering paid services and/or products like downloadable e-books, tutorials, consultations, or merchandise with your photographs printed on them.
- Affiliate marketing: Embed sponsored links in your content. Every time a reader clicks or makes a purchase through the link, you will get a percentage of the deal.
- Writing or curating guest blogs or vlogs for photography sites or forums.
We should warn you, though, that monetizing a blog/channel is much tougher now than it used to be – because there’s a lot of competition out there, and some of these people are really, really good at what they do. You’ll probably spend a couple of years with low views till one of your videos suddenly hits the jackpot. Check out Ali Abdaal’s Youtube channel for some great advice on this.
Leverage Social Media
If you photograph a tree falling in a forest, but don’t post it on your socials, did that tree ever exist? Keep posting your photographs and videos on your social media page. If you can properly and patiently use the different features of Instagram and Facebook to showcase your work on social media, you can start amassing a loyal, engaged, organic following of your own. These are potential customers (or referrers) of your business.
Here are some tips to get started on social media-
- Set up Facebook and Instagram business pages.
- Be regular and consistent with your posts. Schedule them beforehand.
- Use relevant hashtags and keywords on every post.
- Use Analytics tools to plan your content.
- Link your website to all your social media accounts.
- Collaborate with online influencers and brands.
- Conduct live and interactive sessions.
Upload on Stock Photography Sites
If you have loads of images and videos stored in your hard drive, why not consider uploading them on stock photography sites? These platforms gather millions of pictures and videos, and sell them to businesses, marketing agencies and production houses. In return, the photographers receive a commission every time their work is downloaded. If you become a regular contributor to a stock site, you open the opportunity to sell photos online and earn money.
You can upload your pictures on stock photography platforms like IndieVisual and can earn a decent amount. IndieVisual is a great platform to upload photos and earn money! We are an India-centric stock footage platform. So get yourself registered and start earning by uploading your photos with us.
Work with Local Businesses
Every business these days needs a properly curated online presence. So every business needs great photos, be it for promotional purposes, showing off a portfolio, etc. Step in and offer to click their stores, offices or teams. The best way to find them is to check your neighbourhood, both offline and on Google Maps. Speak to local shops or offices about how you can help their business grow with stunning photos. Keep your online portfolio handy, to show them visuals rather than just a visiting card. To get local connects, ensure that you work upon your local SEO of your website, so that your name appears at the top when people look out for photographers in your area.
Shooting event is one of the most classic ways to make money as a photographer. Weddings, birthdays, company events, functions, special moments such as newborn shoots, maternity shoots – you have a lot of opportunities. It’s exhausting, but there’s good chance of earning a decent living.
Sell your Artwork
Another way to earn money from your images is to sell them. You can sell digital prints, canvas prints or even sell merchandise having your artworks printed on them like cups, t-shirts, memorabilia and keepsakes. You can start by creating a virtual store on your website. You can also eventually start selling your images to magazines, once you get very good at your craft. Start small by contacting local and regional magazines. The experience, recognition, and exposure you’ll get by having your photos featured in magazines will be a huge boost to your career.
This is, again, a tough one – there’s a whole lot of competition for not enough demand.
Start your teaching journey by sharing valuable tips and techniques that other photographers would love to know. You can start by applying as a tutor to any edtech company that offers photography courses. You can also shoot your own tutorial videos and embed them in your website, blog and YouTube channel. People can view them against a fee. Prepare a catchy preview video to create a hook among your potential students.
One of our friends has a platform that helps you set up online coaching lessons, very easily – check out https://unsolved.network
Work as an Assistant Photographer
Getting a gig as a second shooter can be a very rewarding option. You can make some good money without getting into the negotiation hassles of being the main photographer. Plus, it’s an excellent way to remain engaged during downtimes and off season. You need to begin by joining photographers’ clubs or forums, both offline and online. Be professional, deliver on time, and deliver a bit more than expected – and you’ll be in demand.
Join Photo Contests
Photo contests aren’t a guaranteed way of earning an income with photography. You might win a huge cash prize or camera equipment. Even if you don’t win, participating in a contest is always a great way to network, to have your work and website’s link featured on external websites. It’s good for your exposure and ultimately helps in getting you more clients.
Photography is quite a crowded space, with lots of photographers offering their niche services at varied price range. However, with the right amount of planning, commitment and creativity, you can secure enough to make it a career.