"Do what you love. Love what you do". These words are not unknown to us. In fact, this statement is not just a common piece of advice, but a part of life. However, many people forego such an ideal to face one of life's great realities - bills. While others may argue that love won't pay the bills, it may be enough to fuel vision, action, determination, and drive that eventually forms a stream of income.
Photography is one of those careers that starts as a hobby, some out of love. The great thing about love is that it pushes you to be better. And the better we get, the more opportunities will open. So much can be done even with one photo. Here are 10 ways you can make money as a photographer.
1. Photograph People
There is enough variety to meet almost any photographer's interest. If your heart is set out on capturing people, you can photograph for couples, weddings, families, maternity, birth, babies, events, boudoir, fashion, sports, headshots, corporate, yearbook, and gradutation.
2. Be a Second Shooter
For sessions that require more than one photographer, becoming a second shooter is a great option. Whether you're looking to gain more experience or earn some extra cash, reaching out to local photographers is an important step to broaden your network.
3. Photograph Things
We come across some brand new genres of photography that are growing quickly. Some types include landscape, food, pets, architecture, products, real estate, editorial, aerial, business promotion, social media, photo booths, and scientific. Each type can range from business to publications. Again, establishing such a relationship will lead to a steadier stream of work, a strong portfolio, and a profitable network.
4. Edit and Retouch
Photographers with a full schedule on their hands sometimes outsource editing to save time. Several openings can be found on freelance job boards.
5. Join Photo Contests
You don't have to be a pro to join or even win these contests. With up to a few thousands dollars as grand prize, it's worth trying. Besides, even if you don't win it's still a way to gain exposure, build confidence, and learn. Seeing other contestants' works can tickle your curiosity to try different techniques.
6. Hold an exhibition
Display your work for everyone to see and admire. You might be able to sell them or gain potential clients.
For photographers with the writing and speaking skills to match, this might be right up your alley. Teaching can be a viable way to earn in photography. A lot of people are gaining interest in this field either as a profession or a hobby. You can start a photography blog, a youtube channel, offer workshops, seminars, and webinars. You can even sell your tips and techniques in the form of an ebook.
8. Affiliate marketing
If you share your work, insights, and/or lessons with a great number of followers and viewers, then you can also share a link to a product to get a small percentage of the sales every time someone clicks on that link to buy the product. That's affiliate marketing. You can sign up as an affiliate marketer for companies who offer the program (i.e. CreativeLive, Amazon, Adobe).
9. Sell stock photos
Having a collection of images can serve another purpose aside from being a portfolio. You can sell them as stock photos. It's all a matter of navigating the vast number of different providers, getting accepted into their program and uploading photographs - Getty, shutterstock, iStock. Even Adobe has a new stock platform where photographers can upload photos directly from Lightroom for selling. Read the contract carefully, some platforms prevent you from licensing with other agencies. There are different rates per platform and a minimum amount before you can withdraw. Explore each platform thoroughly before committing.
10. Sell prints
Contrary to what some people think, prints are not dead. They're very much alive, and profitable too! You can sell your prints in arts and craft fairs, local art or photo galleries, while displayed in coffee shops and restaurants, and online. Keep your audience posted on where you they can purchase your work. Several e-commerce platforms are available. You can also find a partner company for your printing and shipping needs.
Choose ways that align with your interests and skills. Let that love burn ever fervent without worrying about the bills. Work smart, work with heart, and success will be within reach.
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