An updated post on how to make money as a photographer (online and offline).
You may wonder:
- How to make money in photography in 2021?
- How to create a stunning photo website and/or become a teacher?
- How to earn money as a photographer ONLINE?
There are answers to all your questions. If you want to finally turn your passion into an income stream, then this post is for you.
Also check out this list of the best ways to make money with photography as a teenager (without a doubt, adults can use that knowledge too.)
And if you decide to build a website business, you need to educate yourself on being an expert online.
Here, TOO, I have some tips on how to get started (the right way).
A quick overview of what to expect here:
Let’s get started.
First Things First:
How to Become a Professional Photographer?
Let’s face it:
Anyone with a camera can click pictures, but only a true professional can be called a photographer.
Photography is basically an artistic pursuit and you must be extremely disciplined in order to even consider making this a full-time career.
You need to become GOOD in photography if you want to make money with it. How?
- You learn the craft
- You assist professional photographers
Let’s talk about it a bit more.
1) Learn the Craft
Here’s the deal:
You can’t be a lawyer without going to law school. The same applies to photography.
You need to learn photography inside out in order to be a professional and even consider making a living with it.
(You can either take up a course on photography, read books or watch a ton of YouTube videos and continuously keep practicing in order to master it.)
What’s my most recommended courses for you?
Glad you asked.
If you’re a beginner, there are 2 resources I highly recommend:
You don’t need fancy gear to get started. What’s important is that you MASTER the skills you need as a photographer and these courses will deliver.
Check them out!
2) Assist Professional Photographers
This especially applies to aspiring photographers.
One of the best ways to not only learn more about photography but to also make some money in the process is to assist a professional photographer.
Helping fashion and wedding photographers is recommended since they are trained to work in a fast-paced environment.
In the process, you would also learn how to multitask and manage the pressure that comes with the career.
You would also be given a chance to gain more practice that you can use to create your own portfolio and show prior experience.
Considering that you have mastered the craft and built your portfolio, below are some of the most important ways on how you can possibly make money as a photographer.
How to Make Money from Photography?
1) Offer Photo Shoots
Doing photo shoots is a sure shot way of making money with photography.
Of course, you will need a budget since you might need to rent out a space to build a professional studio but you can get away with this by opting to do outdoor photo shoots exclusively.
Some top outdoor photo shoots include maternity, pet, headshot, family portraits, real estate, and pre-nuptial photo shoots.
2) Selling or Licensing your Images through Stock Photography Sites
If you already have a good collection of high-quality images, then you can earn a decent buck by selling them to stock photography sites.
In fact, this works great even for those looking for a steady stream of passive income. Some top stock photography sites include:
To sell your pictures on these sites, simply sign up for them.
You will be required to provide your basic information along with some information to prove your identity. Upload the images along with the description, keywords and metadata and then the site will review them.
You can also go the traditional way.
The easiest way here is to place the printed image in a frame and go to your nearest arts and crafts fair to sell it. You can also opt to sell it during festivals or garage sales.
3. Sell Photo Prints
Before you learned that you can sell your images digitally, through stock photography sites.
But you can also make extra bucks selling actual photo prints.
If you want to go the DIY route, you’ll have to know what’s a good printer to use, the proper image size and resolution for printing, and overall taking awesome photos that people will WANT to buy.
ETSY is one of the most popular platforms that you can use to sell your prints.
Not everyone likes to do everything themselves though.
(I’m one of those people).
- 2) Involve the pros who’ll do all the legwork:
You can sign up to ImageKind now, select your best work and upload them on the site.
Then, this site takes care of all the “boring” aspects – like printing photos, processing orders, sending them to customers – for a small fee.
The reason why I love this option is because it’s stress-free.
You job is to take awesome photos and upload them to the site.
==> Click here to join ImageKind and start making money from the prints you sell!
4) Join a Tour Company
This option is amazing if you love travel as much as you do photography.
What is it about?
Basically, you apply to tour company and you get to photograph their clients. It could be à la street photography, cruises, taking photos of couples in front of the landmarks and so forth.
If you do that, make sure to set up a photo website and/or a social media account. You’ll get to connect with your clients and possibly get reviews from them.
(Not to mention that they might book you again next time they are in your city.)
5) Become a Paparazzo
This is not my favourite but it’s still one of the ways photographers make money with photos.
Depending on certain factors, paparazzos can easily earn thousands for just one single picture.
However, it is extremely competitive and demanding. Also, be sure to obtain all the necessary credentials before beginning this gig.
Likewise, you should familiarize yourself with all the celebrity hotspots, and network excessively with others in the same field.
To become a paparazzo, simply buy a high-quality DSLR camera along with a telephoto lens. You must also have a small camera that you can use to click images on the sly.
You can choose to freelance and sell the images to newspaper or magazine companies or be a part of an agency.
6) Actively Participate in Competitions
People often do not consider participating in photography contests as even an option to make money.
Several competitions take place all over the world, and some are hosted by extremely famous brands like the National Geographic.
These competitions have a winning prize that is worth a thousand dollars and not to forget the recognition that comes along with it which can help boost your photography career.
7) Market Yourself as a Freelance Photographer
Get in touch with your local newspapers and magazines and ask them whether they are looking for any freelance photography work.
It goes without saying that such jobs are in no way stable. But, they do work great as a second job or a job on the side.
Once you have established a steadier relationship with these outlets, they will hire you consistently for covering local events and stories.
Capturing weddings, shooting sports events or any other event is also amongst the best ways to make a quick buck over the weekend.
The best way to get such gigs is to network, in person and through social media platforms constantly.
Always remember to market yourself everywhere as the more attention you get, the chances of you getting photography gigs will also substantially increase.
8) Become a Photography Teacher
Isn’t that the most obvious way of making money with photography?
Countless people are looking for a good teacher to help them learn the aspects of photography.
Based on how strong your knowledge about photography is and how well experienced you are, you can really easily make quite a bit of money just teaching students on a regular basis.
Whether through their own website, or through platforms like Udemy.
For some, this is already a full-time job.
The next 2 points will talk about how to make money with photography ONLINE. I encourage you to look into this as the Internet presents a LOT of opportunities for us in 2021.
9) Create an Educational YouTube Channel
This section stems from point #8.
When we have knowledge of something, it’s pleasant to share it with the others.
(And make money in the process.)
If you have a good strategy and are consistent with producing YouTube videos, then in a rather short amount of time you’ll be able to drive traffic (people) to your channel and build your brand.
Eventually you’ll be able to become YouTube’s partner and make money on ads.
But even before then, you can start making more money with affiliate marketing, as an Amazon Associate.
(This leads to my point #9 but I also encourage you to read this in-depth post of mine to understand how you can make money with Amazon.)
Personally, I started producing videos only this year (here’s my channel) but I’m already seeing quite a lot of views and traffic than I thought I would.
Who do I recommend to learn from?
Definitely consider Sean Cannell as your guru into the world of YouTube. He’s a HUGE video influencer with 6-figure earnings and was featured in the “20 Must Watch YouTube Channels That Will Change Your Business” by Forbes.
==> Check out the list of all the courses by Sean Cannell.
10) Build Your Own Website (to Sell Your Photos or Teach)
Let’s face it:
While you can teach people in real life, I think a better option is teaching people ONLINE.
- First of all, after some time you’ll be able to leverage and expand your business.
- Second of all, your website will be global and will work for you 24/7/365 (if done correctly).
Without a doubt:
You CAN build a business an online business around your photography passion. Here’s how I did it myself (and how you can get started, too).
And don’t worry…
Setting up your first website shouldn’t be a challenge, nor do you have to be tech-savvy.
The only thing that I constantly emphasize when it comes to building an online business, is having proper guidance.
Again, I share my own journey and my #1 recommended platform for beginners in this post.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What type of photography makes the most money?
By now, you certainly know that there are a lot of photography genres you can venture into. All these types of activities have the potential to let you earn real money. However, not all of them are equally high-earning.
Here are some of the most popular photography genres that could make you a fortune in no time (of course with the right skills, talents, branding, and marketing):
There are a lot of brands all over the world, and you can take advantage of that. You can reach out to various brands and offer your services. Big names often pay a hefty amount of money to ensure their products are well presented to the world.
Also, you may also cover fashion shows which are equally rewarding as well.
Covering events such as parties, weddings, and other big gatherings bring in a lot of money to the table. For instance, it is normal to earn around $2000-$3000 for one wedding event. The only downside is that it requires a lot of work. But if you think about the financial return, it will totally be worth it.
- Corporate and/or Real Estate Photography
This is another good industry to gain a lot of money from. Big companies are also capable of paying competitive sum of money because your photos will mean so much for their advertising and reputation.
Real estate is very popular too. If it’s something you’re interested in mastering, check out this massive ebook for just $19.
Q: Is photography a good career?
Actually, this career is pretty rewarding, if you know how to do things right.
It is true that in the beginning it might seem like a rough path leading to nowhere, especially if you are a freelancer. But in the long run, when you have already established your brand and market your services well, the rewards will be totally worth it.
Aside from the monetary benefits, nothing beats the freedom it gives you in doing something that you love.
Q: Do you need to have a degree in photography to make money?
No, you don’t.
There is no written rule that you need to have a degree in photography just to be someone in this industry. Except of course if your target client requires you to have one (but that rarely happens).
In fact, even those without formal education about this craft are free to explore and venture into this field. It all just depends on your skill set and talent. Plus, marketing and branding also takes a huge role in your success. Not the diploma. *wink wink*
If you want to have some sort of training, workshops and seminars can always be an option. These are more short-term commitments and are generally cheaper compared to a 4-year university degree.
But I’m not saying it is bad to major in photography. If you want to have formal education and you have the means to do it, then go ahead. It will grant you more than education but other good experiences that will help you excel in the field.
How to Make Money as a Photographer in 2021
When choosing a career that will help us earn a good amount of money, we often tend to focus on becoming an engineer, chartered accountant, lawyer, doctor, etc.
And only a few of us consider our passions like photography as a full-time job.
You’d be surprised but most popular full-time photographers today just incidentally knew how to make money with photography.
They just started purely on the desire to do something meaningful and worthwhile while being creative and fun.
With that said, if you want to make a living out of photography, I provided you with some of the tools/tips that you need in order to succeed.
As for the actual ways to earn income, the ones I mentioned above are the top ways on how to make money doing photography.
Whether it’s selling photos/prints, running around to capture some celebrities, or building a business – there are plenty of options.
Keep in mind:
Initially, it might be challenging to turn your passion into a steady stream of income.
That is why it is better to start it off as a second job and build your portfolio, knowledge, and experience in order to make this a profitable full-time job.
Keep practicing your photography skills until you master it!
Remember that nothing is impossible.
With patience, time and proper guidance you WILL achieve success.
Over To You: What Are Your Thoughts?
I’d love to hear from YOU:
- Which of the aforementioned money making ways appealed to you the most?
- Have you earned any money as a photographer yet?
- If yes, let us know in the comments how you make money from photography in 2021!
Any other questions? Comments? Suggestions?
Let us know in the comments!