Is it still possible to make money with photography today?
Yes. With hard work and a lot of patience it is. Photography is a saturated niche you know that.
I’m pretty sure you have some amazing photos that someone out there wants to buy. You know you have some stunning shots in your hard drive and if you’re here it means you’ve decided that you want to give it a go and try to make some money from your photography.
First of all, selling your photos is not the only way to make money with photography and if you are asking yourself: “How can I earn money with my photography?”
This is for you.
Making Money With Photography
This is a list of actions you can take in 2021 to make money with photography.
To prove to you that these methods work and that making money with photography is possible, I challenge myself to try these methods to make money with my photography. Starting from today I’ll write about my challenge in more detail on this blog. So stay tuned.
To be fair, I’m already making some money through ads and affiliate links on this photography blog, and I’ve also sold prints so I’ve already started this challenge with an advantage. But we’ll discuss this later.
The first I’d like you to do before we start is to establish why photography is important to you. You have to have a real passion for photography before you decide to start a photography business.
Sell Your Prints at a Local Market
Start selling your photos at local markets. With just five or ten of your best shots and three prints each, you are ready to go.
Establish your photography pricing by following this guide.
You won’t make a lot of money in the beginning, actually the first couple of times you might even lose money. But use local markets as an opportunity to put your name out there, not only your prints.
Give away business cards and advertise your business, don’t just focus on making money quick.
On your business cards highlight your website, email, phone number. You never know, people might contact you later to buy a photo from you or even hire you.
Sell Your Prints Online
Once you know how much to charge for your photos a quick way to sell your art is to join an existing online platform and fill it with your photos.
First, learn how to organize your digital photos select the photos you want to sell online and signup to the most relevant platforms.
Here’s a list of some of the best websites to sell photographs.
Through stock photography websites you won’t earn much, but it’s really nice when you start seeing a few cents coming through.
Yes, you’ll only make a few cents per photo.
The strategy that many photographers adopt when starting with stock photography is to use those images you wouldn’t normally print or sell in a different format.
The good thing is that through this type of platforms you can quickly test what type of photos people want to buy from you.
A pro subscription on SmugMug will let you build your fully-fledged online portfolio with useful e-commerce and marketing tools to sell your photos online.
You keep 85% of the markup.
Unfortunately, there aren’t free plans but SmugMug is probably the most powerful tools out there. SmugMug offers a free 14-day trial after that you’ll pay $12.50 per month.
And if you use this link you’ll save 15% on a new account (affiliate link).
Apply to be a Photographer on Snappr
Snappr is a website for photographers on-demand. Being on Snappr means that people can hire you through it if you are in one of the regions they service. Check the regions covered here.
I know people making good money with it. Snappr is great for several different styles of photography, in particular: portrait, business photography, food, parties and events, product photography and also weddings.
Sell Photos to a Local Newspaper
This might jump into your mind: “How do I sell photos to magazines?”
Here’s the answer: try to work for free in the beginning and build relationships.
Make a list of newspapers or online magazines in your area and see what they write about. See how you can help with your photos.
Online magazines and newspapers always need good images.
You might need to exit your comfort zone. If you’re a landscape photographer, for example, it’s likely that you won’t find many local magazines interested in using your images.
If you want to learn how to sell your photos though, don’t overthink too much and try to challenge yourself trying some other photography styles.
Go to street food events, sport events and so forth and start building a portfolio then reach out to local magazines and send them some of your images for free.
Get your foot in the door.
Start a Photography Blog
Yes, starting a photography blog is still one of the best ways to make money with photography.
This is a slow process, it takes time and bloody hard work.
But it pays off in the long run. And you will learn a lot about Internet marketing and how to create your brand and build trust around it.
Essentially, you’ll need to:
- Register a domain
- Chose a web hosting company
- Choose a blogging platform.
WordPress is the most popular free blogging platform.
- Write a ton of articles. Yes, quality is important, but at first, you need content to get traffic to your blog.
- Use your blog to build an email list.
This by itself is a long topic, and I will discuss it further in a future post.
Sell Your Camera and Lenses
At first, I laughed when I read this title on Expert Photography, but Joshua Dunlop is actually right.
You might have old gear you don’t use anymore and why not trying to make some money from it?
Another great tip is why not going to a flea market, actually buy some second-hand or vintage gear and re-sell it on eBay?
You can read the full article here.
Make Money With Photography: Become a Teacher
Anyone can be a teacher.
If you want to make money with photography and you’re reading this post it means that you already know enough to at least be able to teach the basics to someone.
Many people out there are willing to pay to learn what YOU know.
Think about it. Seriously.
Start teaching photography tips for beginners.
Teaching can also be a great experience and you will improve or at the very least consolidate your skills by teaching what you know to others.
Here are a few things you can try.
Organize a Photography Class
Does nobody know you? Not a problem, I assume you have an Instagram account with your photos.
Use it to promote your class.
Also, make a Groupon deal and use it to find your first students.
Use Eventbrite to handle registrations and getting paid.
Create and Sell an Online Course for Beginners
This will take you longer, but if you’ve built your online portfolio and you have a solid blog and online presence your next step is to create your course and sell it through your channels.
Don’t forget that the most important thing to do to be able to sell your online photography course is also to build an email list.
At first, you can even try to sell other courses and earn money from affiliate links.
Organize a Travel Photography Workshop
Travel photography workshops are earning people a lot of money.
If you’re anything like me and love landscape and travel photography, it means you have a good amount of images from around the world.
Have you built your website yet? Do it now. You need it for this.
You know locations and best spots to take amazing landscape images.
Yes, you’re right, people will pay you for your knowledge of a particular location. Not only to learn photography but for the entire experience.
You can even start small and organize a simple photo walk in your area. Take people around interesting places near you and charge a small amount.
It’s a great start.
Become an Influencer
Many photographers will hate me for this. But hey, people are making money on social media being “influencers”.
No. You don’t need 100k followers.
With a small following, you can actually start earning an income.
Social media is also important to complete your online presence together with your portfolio website and your blog.
Three are the Social Media websites you have to target in 2021 if you are a photographer and want to build your presence:
- TikTok. Make short videos with your phone about photography gear, tips, and tricks. With zero followers you can reach thousands of people.
- Instagram. You can use it as your online portfolio and use Instagram stories to reach even more people. Also, know that small and local businesses are happy to pay you a small amount of money to promote their services on your Instagram.
- YouTube. Create longer videos, reviews, tutorials. It takes more work, but it also gives you a bigger platform and more opportunity to brand yourself. From YouTube, you can also earn from ads and promote photography-related products earning affiliate commissions.
You won’t make money soon, but building your brand in 2021 as a photographer means being on Social Media too. Just make sure to choose one platform and stick with it until you get good and have an established presence on that platform.
Then explore the others and start spreading your brand there too.
Love What You do
Ultimately, you need to love what you do.
Your primary objective as a photographer can’t be solely of making money.
If you don’t love photography, if you don’t enjoy teaching, helping others and are only reading this because you want to get rich quick. Good luck.
Making money with photography takes passion, skills, a lot of time and serious motherfucking hard work.
Love what you do first, help other people with your services and create value. Work really hard.
The money will come.
It’s up to you now.
You know what you have to do and I do too.
Follow my journey since I’m going to try some of the methods described above and prove to you (and myself) that they work.
Why don’t you do this challenge with me? Or have you tried any of these methods already?
What went well, what didn’t
Share your experience in the comments below.
I’m curious to know about it.
Can you help me increase the readership on this blog?
If you found this article helpful share it with your friends right now.
Stefano Caioni is a photographer from Sydney, Australia. Founder and editor of Pixinfocus, his passion for photography helps him explore new places and live new adventures. Thanks to photography he reconnected with the outdoors and was able to travel the world and take photos of some of the most beautiful places on Earth.