Pro Photographers Career Guide: Do you have what it takes to cash in with your camera?

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As someone with a full-time job outside of photography, I had that itch for years, and eventually began to scratch it in a way that allowed photography to put some money back in my bank account instead of just depleting it. Making a side income while juggling a full-time job, personal relationships, and your own sanity and sleep cycle can be tough, so knowing the most useful ways to spend your time can be tricky.

With that said, here are some of the many ways to make a side income with your camera. Even photographing a couple of weddings per year can give you a nice side income that can offset gear purchases or costs you put towards travel or education. In order to have a wedding, you typically need two people to get engaged and decide to have the wedding in the first place.

Many wedding photographers bundle engagement shoots into the wedding photography package.

Keep Your Expectations in Check

Another oldie but goodie, taking senior portraits may not seem to be big-budget like many weddings, but in the age of social media, younger generations, in particular, can provide plenty of free marketing via sharing with friends that can quickly grow your side income opportunities.

Family portraits are another type of shoot that you can schedule as time allows, and can also gain new opportunities through word of mouth from happy clients. In addition to making money for your fee to capture the photos, family sessions have the potential to yield a large print sale for the many clients who want to see the smiling faces of their loved ones hanging on the walls of their homes. For many, real estate photos are overlooked as a possible option to make a side income. Many real estate agents are looking for photos on an extremely quick turnaround, which turns off some photographers who may already have demanding schedules.

However, if you get your system down to a science, real estate photography can be a quick way to make some side cash. The quality of real estate photos on the market can vary widely. In the Boston area where I live, the real estate market is so crazy at the time of this writing that you could sell a house with a poorly executed cell phone photo. Some events need photographers more than others, so look for the ones that either pay enough that they are worth your time, or for ones that could lead to money-making opportunities, either directly or indirectly.

Take Great Photos

For example, photograph an event where attendees or affiliates may want to purchase prints or licenses of your photos. If you decide to shoot a charity event, choose ones that may have attendees or sponsors that you would want to network with and secure some side income-making gigs for the future. Check out the websites of businesses in your area and reach out to the ones that could use some improvements to their staff headshots.

The major benefit of product photography is how easily it can fit into your schedule. In many cases, product photography can be done from anywhere, so fitting a shoot into your night or weekend schedule allows for some convenient flexibility. Look into getting products from an online retailer such as Amazon or from local businesses and capture images of them as your time allows.

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Sporting events offer a wide range of opportunities for making side income with your camera. Depending on what level of sports you are shooting, the potential exists for making money from newspapers that want to cover the event, those associated with the teams or participants, the families of participants, or the participants themselves. High school sporting events in particular offer opportunities to team up with local newspaper coverage, but also open doors for team photos or to sell prints of the participants to adoring family members. In addition, less photographed sports likely have less great photos taken of them, so choosing a less popular sporting event allows you to avoid competition and make an immediate mark on a team that is rarely in front of the camera.

In a highly visual world, nearly every industry needs photos at their disposal. I offer a 3-hour tour, maximum of five people, and I show them one of the most interesting districts. We focus on street photography , camera settings , how to spot a good location and rule of composition. They book with me based on the reviews I gained previously, and the fact that I have lived here for many years. I know the city better than they do.

This is a perfect opportunity to offer continual help through your blog or website , and they can follow you on social media platforms. If they really enjoyed it, they might even tip you. Americans always tip, as it is part of your culture. If you are confident enough with your photography and feel you could show people how to capture great images, give it a try. Spend a few days going around your location at different times of the day and see what is possible.

It might just be your forte. Ok, so teaching is always a possibility. There will always be more people who know less about photography than you do. They need a start, to find their way and many will turn to a teacher rather than looking on their own. You could teach through multiple methods. I teach photography on a 1-to-1 basis, so we really focus on what the aspiring photographer wants to try and get more help with.

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  • This also includes areas such as Creative Live, where you can create courses that people will pay for. Niches will bring you more people as fewer photographers teach them. Starting a blog is another great way to get people to see your photos. The more people see it, the more they can buy from you things such as merchandise, Lightroom Presets and Amazon Affiliate links. By now, you may be at the point where you really like what you are producing.

    Learn to Make Money with Your Phone Photography

    You are getting a grip on composition and the settings to capture beautiful images. Selling your prints are a great way to make some extra bucks. And, boost your confidence too. There are many platforms where selling your prints is made easy. It can also be inexpensive to do, depending on how you go about it. They process the order, print and send out the photos, retaining commission for their service.

    Another way, which is a little bit harder, is to print them yourself and sell them through shops and restaurants, bistros etc. They get artwork , you get money. At the very least, you will have your photos displayed to thousands of people. Have you ever been to a restaurant and seen artwork hanging up with a price on it? There you have it. Hi Josh!


    Has an old flickr user, I should not hav missed this information! Thank you again! See you Django. Thanks Josh for these very helpful tips.

    Envira Gallery Blog

    I blip, as Grace55 and love it. I have a small collection on flickr but I am still learning and saving for a Canon Powershot. It is amazing what is achieveable with a Kodak Easyshare. Thanks Josh This is inspiring and the writing is warm, generous and humble. Many thanks. Its really amazing and i love photography. My camera is my everything. BTW, i have got something to show you guys which can be interested for those who are newbie and want to make money, so check it out here bit.

    How to Start a Photography Business - The Ultimate Handbook

    That was a great read. Hi, Josh A Professional Photography is a very lucrative career at current time. Thank you for sharing money making tips. Nice article! Look forward for more! This is an amazing article.

    Thank you for your candor and motivational words! I am new to the game and needed a little guidance about how to get people to see my work etc. My friend introduced me to this website: bit. I am looking to quit my job and make this my profession. I am so excited!!!

    Businesses need pictures of their products for brochures. Or you can stick with non-business photography and take portraits or photograph weddings. Develop your business plan. This is a good time to determine your pricing structure. Your pricing needs to take into account the cost of equipment, supplies, and travel, as well as your time.

    Decide your business structure. The easiest and lowest cost option is sole proprietor ; however, creating a limited liability company LLC will offer greater protection of your personal assets should you run into legal problems. Create a business name. What you name your business will become the brand image, so choose a name that fits the type of photography you want to do.

    You also need to check with the U. Officially establish your business.

    20 Ways to Make a Side Income With Your Camera

    Once you have a business name and set up your business structure, you need obtain business license or permits as required by your city or county. Once you have your business license, you can open a business bank account. Gather needed equipment and supplies.