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Thursday, November 23rd, 2017


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How to Make Money from Your Photography

This post is by guest author Amethyst Tagney. Amethyst spends her time writing on a variety of topics. She is an avid learner and loves to share what she discovers. You can find her @AmTagWrites

Snapping a picture can be easy. Selling that picture can be less so. As a photographer, breaking into the field takes a mixture of talent, connections, and luck.

With any profession in the arts, it takes an incredible amount of work to be successful, let alone make money. However, if you know the right steps to take, it can be as easy as saying, “Cheese!”

Find Your Niche

Sometimes it’s smiled upon to be good at everything. This is not the case, though, when it comes to making money in photography. If you’re aiming for success in your career as a photographer, pick one thing that you love to take photos of and become really good at that.

So, if portraiture is your thing, then take portraits. If fashion is your calling, then take fashion photos. You can even be successful with photobooths if that is the route you want to take.

Potential clients will not be thrilled to look at a portfolio that is all over the place genre-wise when they are specifically looking for a wedding photographer. The key is to tailor your collection of work around a specific client, so that when they see your photographs, they know exactly what they’re getting into.

Get the Right Equipment

Once you figure out what genre to focus on, it’s time to acquire the camera — but not just any camera. Acquiring the right camera gear is essential to a successful photography business. The type of equipment you will need will be different depending on what kind of photography you are practicing.

You would not need the same equipment for landscape photography as you would for war photography. Make sure to take the time to research what specific needs the genre of photography you have chosen will have and what equipment will fill those needs. Another option to consider is renting the gear you need if purchasing it yourself is not feasible at the time.

Make an Eye-Catching Portfolio

So you have the equipment and you know what pictures to take. Now comes the fun part: putting together your portfolio. There are many tips on how to build a better portfolio, but here are a few to get you started.

First of all, make sure to show variety. Not in genre, but in lighting, camera angles, and subjects within your chosen niche. The number one thing you do not want your client to be is bored when flipping through your photos.

However, keep the size and orientation of the photographs the same. You will also want your portfolio to start strong and end strong. Do not include pictures you are less than happy with. Chances are potential clients will be less than happy as well.

Lastly, make sure you print your photo book. Clients are looking to buy physical prints from you, so it only makes sense to show them something they can physically touch and see. This will also give them a better idea of what the finished product will look like.

Be Social on Social Media

Social media is one of the most important things you can get involved in as a photographer. You need an online presence that people can find so that your photos and services can be found as well. You also need an overarching website that connects with all the social media platforms you’re active on.

In this digital age, it’s essential to be online where your clients will be. Social media is also a great way to network with other professionals and potential clients, as freelance photographer Ashley Grant would tell you. Forming these connections is crucial to your ultimate success as a photographer.

Consider investing some time in starting a blog as well. When you make content that is useful and relevant to your clients, they will most likely follow you and use you for current or future projects.

Let’s Make Some Money

Now, what you’ve all been waiting for: it’s time to make some money! There are many different avenues you can take when it comes to selling your photographs and services. Some ways to earn money as a photographer include:

  • Selling prints at art fairs, local businesses, galleries or on online stores.
  • Entering contests to not only receive validation and potentially informative critiques, but also a nice sum of money if you win.
  • Becoming an assistant for an already established photographer. More often than not, they can use the extra help with coverage over large events such as weddings. In exchange, you get much needed experience and a paycheck too.
  • Licensing your images as stock photos. Let your photos make the money for you as multiple people can pay to use a single image over and over again.

Always Continue to Learn

It’s a dangerous place to be when you think there’s nothing else for you to learn. Photography, like any artistic pursuit, is always changing. Better technology is always coming out, and if you stay in one place for very long, more ambitious photographers will pass you by — along with your clients.

Although some older techniques and methods are still used for more artistic reasons, if you want to stay in business as a photographer, you need to keep up with new advancements in your medium. This applies as well to photo editing software. If you don’t know what Photoshop is, you need to.

Taking Photoshop classes, along with classes in any other software you’re unfamiliar with, is essential to making your photographs the best they can possibly be. These programs are always being updated with new features and tools to improve your photos, so now is the time to learn all you can.

It takes a certain focus to be a photographer — even more so if you want to make money from it. However, things become more clear when you zoom in on the things that matter most in your career. It’s important to know what you want to specialize in and get the right gear for it.

Then you’ll be better equipped to make a prize winning portfolio that can be shared on your website and social media accounts. This will make receiving money from your photos much easier, especially if you keep on top of the learning curve. If you follow this guide and put in the effort, your career as a photographer will have a better chance of being picture perfect.

Snapping a picture can be easy. Selling that picture can be less so. As a photographer, breaking into the field takes a mixture of talent, connections, and luck.

With any profession in the arts, it takes an incredible amount of work to be successful, let alone make money. However, if you know the right steps to take, it can be as easy as saying, “Cheese!”

Find Your Niche

Sometimes it’s smiled upon to be good at everything. This is not the case, though, when it comes to making money in photography. If you’re aiming for success in your career as a photographer, pick one thing that you love to take photos of and become really good at that.

So, if portraiture is your thing, then take portraits. If fashion is your calling, then take fashion photos. You can even be successful with photobooths if that is the route you want to take.

Potential clients will not be thrilled to look at a portfolio that is all over the place genre-wise when they are specifically looking for a wedding photographer. The key is to tailor your collection of work around a specific client, so that when they see your photographs, they know exactly what they’re getting into.

Get the Right Equipment

Once you figure out what genre to focus on, it’s time to acquire the camera — but not just any camera. Acquiring the right camera gear is essential to a successful photography business. The type of equipment you will need will be different depending on what kind of photography you are practicing.

You would not need the same equipment for landscape photography as you would for war photography. Make sure to take the time to research what specific needs the genre of photography you have chosen will have and what equipment will fill those needs. Another option to consider is renting the gear you need if purchasing it yourself is not feasible at the time.

Make an Eye-Catching Portfolio

So you have the equipment and you know what pictures to take. Now comes the fun part: putting together your portfolio. There are many tips on how to build a better portfolio, but here are a few to get you started.

First of all, make sure to show variety. Not in genre, but in lighting, camera angles, and subjects within your chosen niche. The number one thing you do not want your client to be is bored when flipping through your photos.

However, keep the size and orientation of the photographs the same. You will also want your portfolio to start strong and end strong. Do not include pictures you are less than happy with. Chances are potential clients will be less than happy as well.

Lastly, make sure you print your photo book. Clients are looking to buy physical prints from you, so it only makes sense to show them something they can physically touch and see. This will also give them a better idea of what the finished product will look like.

Be Social on Social Media

Social media is one of the most important things you can get involved in as a photographer. You need an online presence that people can find so that your photos and services can be found as well. You also need an overarching website that connects with all the social media platforms you’re active on.

In this digital age, it’s essential to be online where your clients will be. Social media is also a great way to network with other professionals and potential clients, as freelance photographer Ashley Grant would tell you. Forming these connections is crucial to your ultimate success as a photographer.

Consider investing some time in starting a blog as well. When you make content that is useful and relevant to your clients, they will most likely follow you and use you for current or future projects.

Let’s Make Some Money

Now, what you’ve all been waiting for: it’s time to make some money! There are many different avenues you can take when it comes to selling your photographs and services. Some ways to earn money as a photographer include:

  • Selling prints at art fairs, local businesses, galleries or on online stores.
  • Entering contests to not only receive validation and potentially informative critiques, but also a nice sum of money if you win.
  • Becoming an assistant for an already established photographer. More often than not, they can use the extra help with coverage over large events such as weddings. In exchange, you get much needed experience and a paycheck too.
  • Licensing your images as stock photos. Let your photos make the money for you as multiple people can pay to use a single image over and over again.

Always Continue Learning

It’s a dangerous place to be when you think there’s nothing else for you to learn. Photography, like any artistic pursuit, is always changing. Better technology is always coming out, and if you stay in one place for very long, more ambitious photographers will pass you by — along with your clients.

Although some older techniques and methods are still used for more artistic reasons, if you want to stay in business as a photographer, you need to keep up with new advancements in your medium. This applies as well to photo editing software. If you don’t know what Photoshop is, you need to.

Taking Photoshop classes, along with classes in any other software you’re unfamiliar with, is essential to making your photographs the best they can possibly be. These programs are always being updated with new features and tools to improve your photos, so now is the time to learn all you can.

It takes a certain focus to be a photographer — even more so if you want to make money from it. However, things become more clear when you zoom in on the things that matter most in your career. It’s important to know what you want to specialize in and get the right gear for it.

Then you’ll be better equipped to make a prize winning portfolio that can be shared on your website and social media accounts. This will make receiving money from your photos much easier, especially if you keep on top of the learning curve. If you follow this guide and put in the effort, your career as a photographer will have a better chance of being picture perfect.

About Daniel Matthews

Daniel Matthews is a freelance writer who specializes in finance, tech, business, and current events. You can find him on Twitter.
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