Are you passionate about photography and would love to make money as a photographer? There are plenty of paths for anyone to make money as a photographer.
Your skill level, preferred photo style, and desired customer base will largely shape these options.
The US photography industry churned out $10.7 billion in 2023.
It wasn’t standing still either; the industry predicted 1.6% annual growth from 2023 to 2028. That’s a big pie to get a piece of, right?
The good news is, there are many opportunities for you to profit from your photography skills both digitally and physically.
Now to answer your question, “How to make money as a photographer” I have tailored a handful of popular and lucrative methods to make money as a photographer.
Best 16 Ways To Make Money As a Photographer
Photography isn’t just a fun and imaginative pastime. It’s also a profitable job for many.
Doesn’t matter if you are a novice or a pro, there are several options to earn money as a photographer, online and offline.
Let’s discover the top methods to make cash with your photography enthusiasm and abilities:
#01. Offer Photography Services
A popular and lucrative approach for photographers, however, is taking professional photos at different occasions and events.
These include but are not limited to, portrait, birthday, wedding, event, or real estate photography.
If you are an expert of capturing portrait, you can offer newborn, maternity photoshoot, family photography services through your website and social media campaign.
Charging a fee for the time, knowledge, and equipment you may require will be profitable to you.
You have to build your portfolios, create websites, make a presence on social media, and have a good image for potential customers.
#02. Earn As A Photography Instructor
You can also make money if you are an experienced photographer by providing lessons to beginners about improving their photography skills.
Photographers can also develop their online courses, and tutorials with sites such as Udemy, Skillshare, and YouTube, amongst others.
Similarly, you can provide individual coaching or mentoring through digital or real modes.
Passionately sharing and teaching photography is one amazing rewarding way by which you can share your experience as well as build yourself up.
#03. Sell Or License Your Photos on Stock Photography Sites
A better way you can make money as a photographer is by selling the license of your photos to some stock photography companies like Shutterstock, Getty Images, Adobe Stock, or iStock among others.
Another great way to sell photos on Etsy which is the best side hustle for photographers.
You can place some pictures on these sites, getting royalties every time, they are used.
Stock photography requires that one has a wide variety of photos available for different people and occasions, understanding what is currently trending and popular, and using proper keywords and tags.
To sell your stock photos you need to follow the steps below:
- Research for stock photography company and read the guideline properly
- Sign up for stock photography sites
- Fill-up the required field for personal details
- Upload the high-quality photos, select the different sizes of photo canvas, provide metadata, photo description, relevant search intent keywords.
- Finally, after review properly submit your photos
#04. Monetize Your Photography Skills
Monetizing your photography skills involves a higher level of creativity, marketing, and networking, which may be equally challenging.
You can monetize your skills by becoming a photographer in sought-after fields or find online opportunities where you can use your skills to make more money as a photographer.
Monetizing your skills also helps you to experiment with all possible niches, express yourself, and find more clients.
Another way is using platforms such as Patreon, and Kickstarter among others to finance your projects or sell your works.
One of the best ways to generate revenue is selling photography prints.
In the present day, several people appreciate art and print media, while the majority hang pictures in their respective homes.
Now as a photographer, you can monetize your skills by selling prints to those in need.
Beyond that, you can get referrals from several people by the time people begin to recognize your work.
However, below are a few points to note if you want to start selling photography prints:
- Create a mindset of selling high-quality prints with vibrant images
- Identify the niche or theme of photography prints you want to be selling to be outstanding and reach your target audience.
- Create a professional website for your brand or use online platforms like Shopify, Etsy, YouTube channel, and more.
- Set and determine a pricing strategy for your business. Make sure it’s fair and competitive.
- Use quality packaging process and reliable shipping to ensure the prints reach the customers in good condition.
- Get a legal license that gives you the right to sell photography prints.
- Use social media, photography communities, and others to promote and advertise your prints.
#05. Join Photo Contests
Joining photo contests should be ranked among the top ways to make money as a photographer.
Photo contests are competitions where photographers can display their talent and imagination within different genres, themes, and categories.
Photo contests give you a chance to earn free products or money, as well as make your work recognized by professionals and other photographers.
A photographer who joins these contests will receive comments from experts and advice on improvement.
Depending on one’s level of experience, niche, and target audience, photographers can join many readily available competitions.
Below are some popular photography competitions photographers can join.
- Nikon Small World Contest: This is a photographic contest that deals with showcasing images of the unseen world captured using a light microscope or digital camera. If your niche is science, then this is perfect for you.
- The National Geographic: The National Geographic contest is a worldwide contest for photographers around the world. This contest requires photographers from around to share valuable images about nature, wildlife, and more.
- Sony World Photography Awards: The Sony World contest is free for any to join and improve their The contest has several categories for photographers of different skill levels to compete in. Such as professional, open, student, and youth competition.
- International Photography Awards: This is a worldwide annual competition that seeks to give exposure to photographers across various skill Also, they are all about showcasing photographic excellence.
#06. Become a Food Photographer
If you have a passion for food and photography, you could opt to be a food photographer.
Food photography has evolved into a separate genre that aims at shooting food and drinks focusing on their look, texture, color, and mood.
A food photographer collaborates closely with chefs, restaurants, magazines, cookbooks, blogs, or other brands to produce visually attractive photos of edible items.
There are websites that you can check out, for example, Fiverr, Upwork, or Freelancer, where you can search for jobs in food photography.
Also, you can sell your food photos on stock photography websites like Shutterstock, Getty Images, Adobe Stock, and iStock photos respectively.
#07. Selling Photos
Earning income and recognition through selling pictures to magazines might sound appealing to photographers.
This is a good way of making money as sites and clients are looking to buy great photographs. Nonetheless, it’s not as simple as it seems.
It demands investigation, groundwork, and promotion to boost the possibility of your photos being published.
Here’s a sequence of steps to follow to market your photos to magazines:
- Find the right magazines for your photos.
- Read the submission guidelines carefully.
- Pick your best and most relevant photos.
- Write a cover letter and a caption for each photo.
- Send your photos and wait for a response.
- Follow up from there.
#08. Offer Photo Editing Service
An option out of many for making money in photography has been photo editing.
Photo editing refers to improving, modifying, and rearranging pictures with the help of software like Adobe Photoshop, or Lightroom.
Photo editing enhances the beauty, appeal, and feel of images by removing mistakes, faults, and anomalies from them.
To be able to earn from photo editing services, it is necessary to possess a portfolio and demonstrate your past projects and skill set.
In addition, you should make a network and publicity of your services for the following purpose: to contact possible customers, like photographers, models, magazines, bloggers, clothing brands, etc.
#09. Become A Social Media Influencer
Making money out of being a photographer also involves creating an interest in your social media pages and posting photos on your various social networking sites.
Social media influencers are known individuals who dominate certain popular networks such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
As a photographer, you can share your photos on social media to attract more clients in your niche.
Furthermore, you can make money by partnering with brands, sponsors, or advertisers for whom they market their products/services via their followers.
Consequently, you can turn your social media into revenue generators through advertisements, subscriptions, or contributions.
#10. Work As an Assistant Photographer
This is a means to an end in your photography career to make money with the help and knowledge of others.
A second photographer assists the lead photographers by engaging in activities such as preparing equipment, lighting, props, and backgrounds among others.
They also help transport gear, set up cameras, position subjects, and edit and deliver images.
Handling might as well be rewarding in terms of having experience, techniques, and connections within the sector which may provide great earnings.
In addition, you can take part in photography clubs, organizations, and associations as well as partake in photographed occurrences, workshops, sessions, and discussions with experienced photographers
#11. Become A Freelance Photographer
Magazines and Newspapers have independent photographers who work freelance and are paid under contract for various assignments and projects.
Freelance photographers make money by being self-employed photographers who work with various clients, including magazines, blogs, websites, and agencies.
They make and submit images tailored to the client’s requirements, expectations, and targets within the established timeframe.
They keep ownership and ownership rights in their photos as well. Additionally, these photos can be sold or published in other places too.
#12. Work With Small Local Businesses
Selling your photography skills to small businesses that are in your community will help them distinctly market their products or services, as well as your brand using these photographs.
You make money as a photographer when you work with small businesses by providing them with amazing images of their products/services, marketing schemes, and websites for better visual presentation.
It can be a long collaboration that can result in repeat business and move your career up a notch.
One can never go wrong when seeking the collaboration of a localized small-scale business as a photographer.
It helps you augment their position in the market while improving yours at the same time.
#13. Offering Editing Services
Photo editing as a freelance photographer refers to improving and changing photographs using image processing packages like Adobe Photoshop.
Photo editing can improve the quality, mood, and style of photos as well as remove any defects.
They also enable creative effects like overlays, filters, and collages, among others.
Additionally, photographers seeking payment could find lucrative freelance photo editing assignments on websites such as Fiverr, Freelancer, and Upwork.
#14. Create Photography Books
Photographers can also make good money from selling a photographic book to their customers.
This empowers them to post and market their images in either print or digital versions.
Moreover, it may contain their style, specialty, and portfolio as well as passing a message, narrating a tale, or calling for others.
It could also become a fantastic souvenir, memory, and pricey collectible.
You can also opt to distribute your work using self-publishing sites like Lulu, Blurb, and Amazon.
Utilize social sites, your blog, website, and newsletter for the promotion of your book.
Provide incentives such as contests offering free books for people to purchase and signings that offer a discount.
#15. Create Photography App
Another way through which you can generate income as a photographer is by developing an application for sale or resale whose purpose is to transform, alter, or enhance your shots.
A mobile software that enables one to capture, manipulate, and share images via a smartphone or tablet is referred to as a photography app.
You may also opt to use Google Play, App Store, or Microsoft Store as an online platform for publishing and selling your app.
Furthermore, one can use their website, Facebook pages, blog, and email.
As mentioned last, you can offer free trials/ exclusive discounts/ competitions directed at attracting more purchasers to purchase them.
#16. Become A Paparazzo
Paparazzi is a kind of photography that offers an additional opportunity for a photographer to make money through shooting spontaneous photographs, usually secretly, of artists, presidents, or others of interest in society.
Paparazzi is the name that is used to refer to freelance photographers who track famous individuals in the hopes of capturing their private moments as well as the scandals or controversies that they are involved in.
Such photographs are sold in media outlets which include magazines, blogs, newspapers, websites, or through an agency.
And they can fetch so much in terms of demand and exclusiveness.
You also require a pinch of investigative and networking skills like locating celebrities, acquiring tips and leads, as well as developing linkages and sources.
Networking and marketing are important but you should also reach out to potential editors, writers, or publishers of photos and offer them yours.
You should promote “breaking shots” to get more customers.
There are others such as Paparazzi, Splash, and Backgrid, that you could sell your pictures via the internet.
How Do Photographers Usually Get Paid?
Photographers are typically remunerated in a variety of ways including per hour rate, fixed project fee, and selling their work in the form of a print or digital copy.
Another way they could earn is by selling photos for stock photography websites, conducting workshops, and providing them with private photography shoots.
Other ways to earn money as a photographer are explained above.
Can You Make 100k A Year With Photography?
Yes. It’s possible to make 100k within a year.
With the right effort, photography niche, and photography skills as well as multiple income streams, photography can be one of the professions that could generate up to $100,000 per annum.
To secure such an income, one must understand the market, find niches, and offer distinct services.
Is Photography A Good Side Hustle?
Photography is a good side hustle. It is flexible and can be used as a means of additional income.
Photographers can utilize their skills in photography for income through the sale of prints, photography services, or teaching.
However, success in this part-time job requires commitment, planning, and market perception.