Living from photography is something that we would like to all of us, but unfortunately, it is not easy to achieve. And it is not enough that we dedicate enough time, but there is a tough competition in these times of mass of the image. However, there are many ways to make money with our photos, even if they are simply additional income. We tell you different ways to get profitability for your photographs.
Whether to supplement the salary, save for a whim or renew our photographic equipment, it is always good to know that photography can give us money. Money that could become our main sustenance if we decided to take the leap to professional photography, something that we can also carry out using the ways we propose to amortize your passion for photography.
Diversify your sources
The first advice we are going to give you is precisely not to settle for a single source of income but to look for different alternatives. You already know that it is not smart to put all the eggs in one basket. Therefore, the most sensible thing is to diversify between different ways of making money with photos.
In this way, even though our separate profits are small, together they can become a good number (maybe it can even make us change our mind and dedicate ourselves exclusively to photography). In addition, diversify will give us the advantage that if some income channel stops producing money there will always be others to turn to. In fact, even though over time we decided more on one financing route than on the other (because it works better or gives us more benefits), it is always prudent to maintain alternative paths to continue earning money.
Search for a niche market
Specializing is one of the most repeated words in business schools and certainly in the photography is also recommended . In fact, since this sector has many different types of disciplines, it is quite common that professional photographers dedicate themselves only to one area (or a few) in particular, such as social photography, portraiture, nature photography or photojournalism.
Even so, it must be recognized that competition is fierce so the need to stand out from the crowd becomes crucial. In this sense, you have to be able to find your own style that makes you recognizable, differentiates you from the rest and helps you get customers within a specific market niche.
Try the stock photo
On this topic we have talked at length in including a guide on how to start in microstock and another on how to sell photos online. Certainly, it is an excellent way to obtain an “easy” income that can also reach you for years.
In any case, you have to know that there are two types of stock photography agencies : The macrostock and the microstock. The former sell images at a much higher price with copyright licenses. In return, the buyer obtains high quality photographs for a specific use and for a specific time, which makes the images have to be unique.
For its part, the microstock is an evolution of the previous thing that consists of the sale of images at low prices but in large volumes, with a license free of rights and, therefore, permission for the photos to be used almost in an unlimited way (without return to pay rights for it if you want to use more than one occasion), although they still belong to its author.
In principle the most profitable are the first, of course, although it is usually much more difficult to get us accepted and we must offer exceptional and unique photographs. On the other hand, those of microstock are much more accessible for any photographer “on foot”, but the returns that we obtain by a single photo are very low which will be necessary to sell a large number of them so that the gains are significant. In both cases, of course, the agency will keep a good part of what clients pay for the images.
As an example of the first we have Getty Images or Stocksy and between the second Shutterstock , Dreamstime or Fotolia . But if you are interested in the subject we recommend this article where we review the best with advice and recommendations to get into this business.
It combines photography and trips
As you know, photography and travel are two areas that mix very well so why not make money with photography in this way? You could simply launch yourself around the world and try to sell the images you are making, but it is risky and there are other ways to achieve returns by practicing photography.
One way is to do it through a travel agency or similar, for example working on a cruise, taking pictures of travelers, or doing it in a theme park. Of course, do not think it is a bargain that allows free travel. In fact it is a job that is usually done by objectives and in which the photographer has a great responsibility to produce results fixed in advance.
Another possibility is to work as a photographer hired exclusively to immortalize a trip , although it is a little extended option in our country. In addition, obviously we talk about fairly seasonal jobs that require certain sacrifices, so they are more recommended for younger people who want to start earning money with their photographic hobby.
Decide for the wedding photo
Although it is not exempt from the crisis (nor of course a great competition), we all know that one of the areas in which photographers can achieve greater profitability is social reporting, more specifically wedding photography.
However, it is a complicated field that requires certain skills and commitments that not everyone can achieve. If you are interested a few months ago we offered a complete guide to start in this area so we refer you to it.
Work for magazines
The publishing world is another area in which a photographer can earn money with the added satisfaction of seeing the images published. However, this market is very complicated and has been in a deep crisis for quite a few years, especially in terms of paper publications. Of course you can also collaborate with online magazines or other publications.
To work in this area it is convenient to take into account some things. To start we can offer our photos for free to publications made by volunteers or solidarity, and meanwhile try to poll the market of publications that can pay for our work.
We can write directly to the publications (usually have contact emails), but first we must study well to whom to direct us and what to offer them . Certainly, to get them to publish your photos (and pay for them) you must offer attractive and unique stories that a publisher can not pass up, and that is not easy of course. On the other hand, if in addition to taking photos we are good at writing, we will have more possibilities to choose us since editors usually like to have the complete batch (images and text).
Another possibility is to become a press photographer or photojournalist , but this is a very specialized area that will require many sacrifices and, almost certainly, full dedication. You could also dedicate yourself to product photography, an area similar to the stock photo, but if you get someone to take pictures of all the articles published by your magazine or website, it can be quite interesting.
Sell your photos on your website
Using your own page to market your photographs directly in the form of ” fine art ” copies on physical media is another fairly recurring possibility. Because offering attractive images that can be hung on the walls of a house with your signature is undoubtedly something to be proud of and to benefit from.
For that, yes, you have to make sure you get copies with sufficient quality, either with your own photo printer or through an online service, which is surely more advisable to achieve high quality copies, with optimized color management and certificate of authorship. Of course, to get someone to buy a photo of you will need to make a good dissemination of your work, for which social networks will come very well .
Share your knowledge
Teaching others what you know about photography is another typical income path for photographers. In addition, in this case the overcrowding of the image that has occurred in recent years has the positive consequence that there are more people potentially interested in learning (in one way or another).
Because photographic teaching has many possibilities, for example, writing a book (which can be published on paper or in electronic format) about a domain you master, or creating a channel of videos about photography on YouTube. Something more direct is to set up your own photography school, hold workshops, lectures or photowalks to groups of people, or give personal classes. Of course, normally to dedicate yourself to this you must have a certain popularity or fame as a photographer. And if you are already well known in your field you will have a lot of livestock to get extra income.
And with this we have finished hoping that all these tips and ways of making money with photography seem useful to you. Of course, we encourage you to share your own experiences in this regard and to tell us other ways to monetize your hobby in the comments.