7 Creative Ways to Make More Money as a Photographer – Guest post by Nancy Young
Photographers across the globe are scrapping and fighting to get photography business off the ground. However, making creative local photo sessions are not the limit. There are multiple ways to earn money as a photographer. Don’t just sit and wait till clients will knock at your door, act yourself to earn money for your bread and butter.
Unless you are associated with a very famous studio or have published your pictures in prominent magazines, it might be pretty hard to convince clients to pay you more for your work. On your way to the top you have to pay your bills, not to mention that climbing itself requires money investment too. So as you’re carving your way to successful photography business, try your hand at multiple trades related to your passion and ensure that you have multiple funnels for money to come through. Luckily, there many alternative ways to make money as a photographer today. Below are some of the most effective tactics for you to think about.
1. Stock Photography
You must have browsed stock photography sites before and appreciated images taken by those photographers. How about uploading your own images to the stock photography site? As a rule, stock photography selling sites offer $1 per photo. It does not seem to much, but if your photo would be sold for 100 times per month, you don’t have to worry about income anymore. It’s a passive income when your photos work for you.
Photo by Splitshire
I know that a lot of photographers have tried submit their photos to stock sites, but has given up as they didn’t get any payment. Don’t overlook the guidelines provided by stock photo sites’. Of course, it will take some time to earn reputation and impress viewers. Plus, competition is too high. However, it’s worth to give it a try, and you’ll see, – your paycheck could be hefty in the end of the month.
2. Freelance Work for Press
While major media companies usually employ photographers full-time, sometimes they take advantage of hiring freelance photographers across the globe. Plus, there are small local magazines and newspapers that can’t afford their staff photographers and thus, make use of the less expensive images and footage that freelancers can provide. Feel free to contact the editors of your local publication or online magazine and show them your portfolio. Who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to get hired for a cool one-off project or even a part-time job.
Photo by Emily
If your work is appreciable, they could offer you to shoot some local baseball match or a public speech of a famous politician. The best thing about it that you would be paid for each photo and you will get paid as soon as the photos are published.
Also, you may try something more adventurous. Send your photos to some online publications and blogs. Depending on the type of photography you you can choose and approach particular online magazines.
Blogging is one more alternative way to get an extra income as a photographer. You may start with uploading photos from your latest photo sessions or share first-hand tips for newbie photographers based on your own experience. Monetizing the blog is quite easy these days with Amazon and other similar affiliate stores. Your goal is to provide unique interesting content for your readers.
There are many blogging platforms available today with WordPress leading the crowd. In fact, WordPress is the most popular platform to build photography websites and blogs. However, if you don’t have some advanced skills in web design and administration, but you need a highly customizable and easy-to-use blog, consider using a hosted all-in-one platform. Defrozo and Koken are a couple of decent options available for free.
4. Selling Prints
You can develop large photography prints and sell them for decoration of the wall of bedroom/drawing room. Also, you may submit them at a local art gallery for selling.
Photo by Splitshire
Selling prints online also works. There are tons of shopping cart systems available today with some popular solutions including SmugMug, Fotomoto, and RedCart. Depending on the tools you choose, you can get a hosted website with integrated ecommerce (SmugMug and the likes), a stand-alone widget that can be integrated into your own website (FotoMoto), or an advanced proofing & selling system used for both in-person and online sales (RedCart). You can go ahead and sell a variety of photography products, such as photo albums, canvas prints, magnets, etc. Many photographers also take advantage of selling digital downloads and products like Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions.
5. Assistant Wedding Photographer
If you have no or little experience in photography industry, you may try to employ as an assistant for wedding photographer. With zero experience you’ll most likely have to work for free. And for food from the wedding of course (kidding). When you will earn some portfolio, you may apply for paid assistant gigs. It could help you to drive into a competitive wedding photography market and start to get your own clients. Couples not tend to negotiate as much as corporate clients do, as they are already willing to spend a big amount of money for the wedding.
Photo by Splitshire
However, if you’re not planning to make wedding photography your full-time job, you could still leave it as an extra income source. Listing yourself in some wedding directories like Snapknot won’t take much time, but it can send some clients your way while you’re focused on your main career.
6. Offer a 50% Discount
If you have a particular number of bookings per month, but you have holes in your schedule, drop an email to your old clients which you have not seen for a while and offer them a mini photo session 50% off. 50% off your normal booking fee is better than just sitting around and earn nothing, anyway.
You may give a notice in your social media accounts that you have some free time for the mini photo set and also offer a discount. Who knows, maybe some of your followers want some cool photos from you, but your regular fee is too high for them.
7. Try Yourself in Design
I believe that all photographers are creatives by nature, and they may create something amazing not with camera only. At least, as a photographer you already know how to use Photoshop. That’s all you need to know to design a fantastic wedding album, baby announcement, Christmas card, or some other printed photographic goodies.
Photo by Sarah Parrott
It would be a shame to lose opportunity to offer a Christmas card to your client after you shoot holiday photo session. If you’re hesitating about this idea, think that you will be able to design much better Christmas card than Walmart, in any case. All it needs to do, just place a few greeting words on your photo in an attractive manner.
Bonus Tip: Teaching
There are numerous online education platforms (udemy, coursera, fedora), and everyone can create an online course to sell there. Do you think you have some valuable advice to share with budding photographers? Then creating your own online photography course can be a great way for you to earn additional income. That’s an excellent marketing tactic, too!
At the very beginning of your career, don’t expect to be smashed away by the unstoppable money flow. But do believe in yourself – you’re the photographer, you know how to do your job, and you can make it.
Just work hard, cast as many lines into as many ponds as you can and your phone will start ringing sooner than you might think. Now you have eight ideas to improve your bottom line, so get out there and crush it!
I’m eager to hear your thoughts! Tell me in the comment section, what are your additional ways to make money as a photographer?
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