How to Make Money as a Photographer in 2021


How to Make Money as a Photographer in 2021
How to Make Money as a Photographer in 2021

If you are looking for ways to make money, the first thing you should do is to consider your hobby and what you like to do. Photography is a hobby for millions of people, and if you are one of them, you may be wondering how to make money from it.

Thanks to technology, the photography industry has changed dramatically in a short period of time, obviously the transition from film to digital photography is part of this, but in addition to this, the quantity and quality of image processing software (e.g. Photoshop) has had an equal impact.

The introduction of the iPhone and other smartphones (with increasingly powerful cameras) has turned more people into amateur photographers, while the Internet and social networks have greatly increased the potential reach and visibility of photographers, and all of these changes mean: more people are interested in photography than ever before.

This has had some negative effects on the industry, for example, many professionals are having difficulty finding work because more and more amateurs have good cameras and excellent skills, and recruiters don't always want professionals. The ensuing situation is that many companies that used to hire full time photographers now prefer to work with freelancers.

Change brings opportunities

For professionals, while not all changes are dramatic, each of us can benefit from the following.

  1. Lower industry entry barriers
  2. With the Internet, various new ways to make money
  3. Millions of amateur photographers who buy various products

In this article we will cover some of the best ways to make money through photography, this is not an all inclusive list but does cover all of the most popular options currently available, plus it should be of interest to those who do photography as a side hustle.

How to make money through photography

Now, you like photography and you like to make money. But how can you make money from photography, or at least get into the industry? Here is a short directory.

  1. 1. Take photos for customers
  2. 2. Filming activities
  3. 3. Sale of prints
  4. 4. Gallery website
  5. 5. Sell peripheral products
  6. 6. blogs, podcasts, YouTube
  7. 7. freelance writing
  8. 8. eBooks and courses
  9. 9. Other digital products
  10. 10. Training and guided tours

1. Take photos for customers

Image source Depositphotos

Probably the most obvious and common way to make money as a photographer is to work for clients, which usually involves portrait photography, including engagements, maternity, newborn, family portraits, seniors, fashion, and more.

Many photographers study specialized categories, while some shoot a variety of different portraits. Specializing in one is obviously good for brand awareness and can be really effective in a competitive industry, and while full-time professionals offer these types of services, there are many part-time photographers who do in-home photography for clients.

In order to attract clients, it would be helpful if you could showcase your work online, both on your own website and on social media. After taking photos of your clients, you can post and tag some of the finished products that work best on Facebook (it is recommended to ask their permission first) and include links to your website or contact information, which could potentially generate more business from your clients' friends and family.

Advantages

  1. Excellent choice for part-time work
  2. Potential to earn high profits in the short term
  3. Word-of-mouth marketing will bring more business
  4. There are many opportunities to strengthen your brand

Disadvantages

  1. Fierce competition
  2. Dealing with (some) customers can be challenging

2. Filming activities

Image source Depositphotos

Another one of the most lucrative ways is wedding photography, packages by professional photographers are not cheap and if you are an amateur and love photography then there will be plenty of opportunities here. You can charge a reasonable fee compared to other photographers and still be able to bargain.

As a wedding photographer, you can offer packages that include other elements such as engagement photo galleries, cards with dates, custom invitations, albums and more, which allows you to make more money from each client.

While wedding photography can be a great opportunity, there are some things to consider carefully. The client you are photographing is on the most important day of their life, which can put some pressure on you: you only get one chance to get the photos right, so you have to know what you are doing.

You may have heard horror stories involving corrupt memory cards or other technical issues that can lead to foregone conclusions, and in some cases, complaints are caused by these situations. Personally, we highly recommend that you get some experience with other forms of photography before you try your hand at weddings.

But weddings aren't the only events you can shoot; ceremonies, birthdays, businesses, concerts and other types are also good money-making opportunities.

Advantages

  1. Good revenue potential
  2. Many events take place in the evenings or on weekends and are ideal for most part-time photographers

Disadvantages

  1. A lot of pressure and little room for error
  2. May not be the best choice for novice photographers

3. Sale of prints

Image source Depositphotos

You can sell prints in several different ways, and if you take portraits of your clients, you can offer packages containing a specific number of different sizes of photos.

Today, most clients prefer to obtain digital photos for printing whenever and wherever they want. While some photographers charge clients a premium to offer digital versions, others do so as a standard practice, and this is where most part-time photographers differ from professionals: while professionals tend to set higher prices for digital versions or prints, many part-time photographers skip the prints and just give their clients digital photos. Given this, too, the latter offer much lower prices than most professionals.

Another option for selling prints is to take artwork. Many landscape and travel photographers sell prints on websites, flea markets, event sites and other places as a way to earn some of their income, and some photographers also put their photos in art galleries.

Landscape and fine art prints can be sold at very good prices, so there is no need to pile on the volume to make a significant profit. Because there are so many talented landscape photographers, the industry is very competitive and we believe the best way to succeed is to specialize in your area and brand yourself.

For example, if you live in Beijing, then you can call yourself a Beijing landscape photographer, or even make it more specific and focus on the Chaoyang district. Or, if you live near a tourist attraction, you can tag yourself with that location.

Create a portfolio website that contains only photos of your specific area of expertise, you can also use blog posts and share your work on Facebook or Instagram. After a while, you may become a well-known local photographer and rank well in Google searches, all of which will allow you to sell more photos.

Advantages

  1. Great revenue potential, especially when selling larger print runs
  2. Can be used in combination with other profit making methods

Disadvantages

  1. Fierce competition
  2. With this approach, it is unlikely that gains will be made in the short term

4. Gallery website

Image source Depositphotos

If you have ever read blog posts about how to make money through photography, you may have seen that they usually list stock sites as an option, making you think that you will be able to start earning passive income by simply uploading your photos to stock sites like Shutterstock, Depositphotos, Adobe Stock, etc. However, it's actually very difficult to make money from gallery sites these days.

Many photographers are doing very well with gallery sites, but most of them have been in business day in and day out for many years and have extensive portfolios in order to generate a lot of sales. But now, it's hard to get a piece of the pie through gallery sites because your photos are likely to be buried in the endless stream of competing work, nevertheless, that doesn't mean you should give up.

The advantage of selling on a gallery site is that it doesn't take a lot of time. At first, you usually need to upload some of your best proofs in order to be approved by the site, and after that, you will be able to upload more content. For most photographers, selling work on a gallery site may bring in passive income, but the amount is usually not very large.

  1. How to make money through photography gallery websites

Advantages

  1. Ability to generate passive income
  2. Make money from existing photos

Disadvantages

  1. The competition is very fierce
  2. Veteran photographers control most of the market
  3. Most stock sites pay low commissions to photographers

5. Sell peripheral products

Image source Depositphotos

In addition to prints, you can also sell products with photos on them. The profit from each sale is usually insignificant, but it can add up to a lot. Our advice is to use this method in combination with the others on the list, rather than relying on a single source of income. Some of these options include calendars, postcards, magnets, mugs, etc.

Advantages

  1. A nice supplemental way to make money
  2. Many different possibilities

Disadvantages

  1. Profit per product is usually very low
  2. Hard to make huge profits

6. blogs, podcasts, YouTube

Image source Depositphotos

If you don't like taking photos for clients and don't plan to sell them, another viable way is to create photography blogs, YouTube channels, podcasts, and other online resources. Of course, there are already many photography blogs out there, but the opportunity still exists.

Many well known photography blogs have been around for a long time, our advice is to choose a specific area of study or type of photography. You can start a blog in areas such as drone photography, travel photography, street photography, landscape photography, sports photography, wedding photography, wildlife photography, lens reviews, post-processing, specific gear, etc. Specialization will give you a better chance to stand out, be memorable, and rank better in search results pages.

As a blog owner, you can earn money in several different ways, such as

  1. Display Advertising
  2. Affiliate Marketing
  3. Sell physical or digital products
  4. Post sponsored content
  5. Offer premium content or memberships

Building a successful blog takes a lot of time and effort, but the long-term rewards can be huge. there are many popular photography-related channels on YouTube, some of which are part of a blog, others are independent, and without a corresponding blog, YouTubers can make money by.

  1. Google AdSense
  2. Direct Sponsor
  3. Affiliate Marketing
  4. Selling products or courses

Starting a podcast is another option, and although photography is a very visual subject, there are many popular podcasts in the industry and have the same profit possibilities as bloggers.

Advantages

  1. High revenue potential, long-term growth potential
  2. A few different ways to make money
  3. Flexible schedule available
  4. Many possible topics

Disadvantages

  1. May not be able to make money for months or even a year in a row
  2. Need to offer something new (or different) to stand out

7. freelance writing

Image source Depositphotos

There are many ready-made photography blogging sites nowadays, and they offer a lot of work to freelance writers who enjoy writing photography articles. In addition, many sites will hire freelance writers and there are also magazines, newspapers and other publications that pay writers. If you enjoy photography and writing, but don't want to start your own blog, then freelance writing would be a great opportunity.

That said, we still recommend that you create your own blog so that you can submit some writing and photo samples when you are looking for a job. You may find some opportunities on job boards, but a better approach is to contact bloggers directly, and some blogs will provide contact information whereby you can reach out and express interest in contributing. If you do travel or landscape photography, you can also contact many different travel bloggers and write for them.

Depending on the blogs and content you are writing, you may be able to gain valuable relationships and build brand influence, which helps give you more power over your voice.

Advantages

  1. Start earning money fast
  2. Good earning potential
  3. Very flexible working hours
  4. Helps build awareness in the industry

Disadvantages

  1. Lower earning potential compared to starting your own blog
  2. You may need some experience to write larger publications

8. eBooks and courses

Image source Depositphotos

The number of photography enthusiasts has been proliferating over the past 5 to 10 years. Today, photographers may face more competition for client work, but their increased numbers make it possible for people to make money in other ways.

Thousands of newbies are paying for online photography training, many photographers have written paper books or e-books, and more and more are creating online courses. If you are not familiar with photography, this will not be the best way to make money, but for the right person, this could be a rare opportunity. You can create an e-book or course even if you are not a professional; if you are new to photography but skilled in Photoshop, then create an e-book or course related to post-processing.

Advantages

  1. Very high earning potential
  2. Growing Audience
  3. Many possibilities

Disadvantages

  1. If you are just starting out in this field, it may not be the best choice
  2. Involves a lot of work and no guarantee of return

9. Other digital products

Image source Depositphotos

E-books and courses are not the only types of digital products that can be sold; the photography industry sells many different downloadable products, including.

  1. Card Templates
  2. Album templates
  3. Decorative photo overlay layer
  4. Photoshop actions
  5. Logo Templates
  6. Marketing Material Template
  7. Software and Add-ons
  8. Lightroom presets

You don't have to be a professional photographer to create these products, and in fact, you don't have to create them yourself; with sites like Fiverr, you can easily get outsourced products. Many people make most of their income by selling digital products, and they use blogs to drive traffic and grow their email subscription lists, which leads to sales.

Advantages

  1. You don't have to be a professional (outsource the work)
  2. Good revenue potential
  3. Passive income potential

Disadvantages

  1. Fierce competition
  2. Outsourcing work requires investment
  3. Building your own website and audience takes time

10. Training and guided tours

Image source Depositphotos

Many photographers make money by hosting, guiding, and conducting workshops, which is especially common in travel, landscape, and wildlife photography. There are also a large number of amateur photographers who want to improve their skills, so they are willing to pay for quality instruction.

Some photography trips are led primarily by guides who direct participants to subjects of interest with relatively little instruction or teaching required, while workshops offer more hands-on photography instruction. In addition to group trips and workshops, some photographers offer one-on-one instruction.

This may be a good option if you live in a scenic area, but there are many photographers who travel to other locations to conduct their training. Before offering a trip or workshop, make sure you have the legal groundwork in place to have a lawyer draft a waiver of liability, give it to your client to sign and obtain any required permits. In some locations, you will need to have a permit to conduct commercial travel or training.

Advantages

  1. Large demand
  2. Good revenue potential
  3. If you live in a scenic area, this would be a great opportunity

Disadvantages

  1. Compared to amateurs, senior photographers are more desirable
  2. Possibility of legal and liability liability

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Conclusion

The only question is, which side are you going to pick?

Let me know in the comments.

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