How to Make Money as a Photographer?

There are 6 main ways how to make money as a photographer. Let your favorite occupation become your source of income.

If you are fond of photography and you treat equipment to take photos as your best friends, you must have heard that it’s quite possible to take pictures not only for your own pleasure, but one can make good money on his hobby mixing business with pleasure.

Is not it great, when you hobby brings you money – even if this money covers only the incidental costs?

So, let’s try to figure out how to make money as a photographer.

How to begin making money as a photographer?


  1. The first thing the aspiring photographer must do is to acquire the needed equipment.

    You should seriously treat choosing your first photo camera, but it does not mean you must buy the most expensive one thinking that the more expensive it is – the better shots it’ll make.

  2. The list of things (equipment and accessories) each photographer needs does not end with the camera.

    At the initial stage of mastering the photo art you will also need:

    • a capacious memory card,
    • a protective color-filter, which prevents the lens from getting dust and water,
    • a comfortable bag for the camera.

    Speaking about optics, an aspiring photographer usually has only a kit lens and it’s quite enough.

    However, in the future you’ll have to buy accessory lens.

    Beside from all mentioned above you might find it useful to have a tripod, especially if you a planning to start to make money by doing studio or portrait photoshoots.

  3. It’s impossible to become a good photographer without knowing the theory.

    Before you start practicing, you’ll need to spend some time to learn how the photography works.

    You can do it and discover much new information by signing up in the school of photography or on your own by learning the corresponding literature and lessons on the Internet.

    Firstly, you must read and remember the basic terms of every photographer.

    They are exposure, diaphragm, focus, exposition, the white balance.

    Besides, you should learn the basics of the composition and read how to choose the light and right angle to take pictures.

    How to Make Money Selling Photos?

  4. After you learned the theory of photoshooting, you can begin practicing, because this is the only thing which is going to make you a professional.

    Take your camera with you as often as possible, and wherever you are, you should look for the interesting still and nice angle.

    Try yourself in different photo genres – learn how to do portrait shot, group, landscape or a candid one.

    Select to your portfolio the shots you consider to be the best.

    You are going to need it when you start looking for the orders to actually make money.

6 Ways how you can make money as a photographer

  1. A private shot

    One of the most famous ways to make money as a photographer is to make private shots in the photostudio, in the open air or in some rooms.

    In such business a photographer has two most important things to do – to find his clients and set a certain price for his services.

    The price for the services of the aspiring photographer depends on how many hours he spent shooting and on the place of photo session.

    As a rule, a shooting in the studio costs the clients more money.

    The key task of every photographer in this business is the search of clients.

    There are plenty of options how you can create your clients’ database:

    • placing the advertisements about the photo services on your own site on the Internet,
    • using your own database of friends and acquaintances,
    • creating your personal pages on the social networks and browsing your works there.
  2. Wedding photography

    Wedding photography may be considered the most profitable and stable niche of the photomarket.

    People always get married and almost all newly wedded couples want this day to stay not only in their memories.

    One day of working on a wedding may bring a photographer more money than all the rest ways put together!

    The input threshold to the wedding photography market is rather low and the number of potential customers is inexhaustible, especially if you have many acquaintances “a bit after twenty” years old.

    4 pieces of advice for people, who plan to make money by doing wedding photoshoots:

    • Never do it free of charge!

      Regardless who your client is – a stranger or a boss of your department – make sure you set the price which will satisfy both of you.

      A wedding photographer is a profession of enormous labor and big responsibility.

      You will work on the photos, which will represent a great client’s value and you must request a reasonable payment for your work.

    • Find a mentor

      Surely, you wish to do your work in the best way you can, but if this is your first wedding, we can say to you only one thing– you are definitely not ready.

      There are millions on details you must be aware of!

      It’s better to master them by practicing.

      Find an experienced wedding photographer, who has more than 10 years of professional experience, and if he allows you following his steps at least on a few weddings – it will be your most precious experience.

    • Rent the equipment

      If you are only the beginner, then probably your set of photoequipment is far from perfect.

      However, in the wedding photography the equipment has really significant meaning.

      So that you had really good shots of high quality, only the equipment of the top brands is required.

      However, it does not mean you must invest a couple of thousands of dollars in your first wedding.

      There is a list of places, where a photographer is able to rent for the weekend almost any equipment he wishes and pay only about a couple of hundreds.

    • Communicate more

      Get on well with the bride and the groom.

      Understand what they desire and expect and how they wish to look in their wedding album.

      The better the relations between the photographer and the future family are – the better pictures will come out as a result.

  3. Taking photos of real estate

    The backwash of the financial crisis is still heard, but the life is gradually turning around, does not it?

    The market of private real estate gathers pace again.

    This gives the photographers a chance to make extra money, because in order to sell a house the agents need its photos: the front of the building and the interior appearance.

    Again – you must never agree to work free of charge, to improve your “experience” and “portfolio”!

    If you seriously want to make money this way – you should not waste your time on free photoshoots!

    Fix the price on your service and stick to these numbers negotiating with your customer.

    The average price on such kind of shoot varies greatly from the region.

    So, you should learn the average range in your region before fixing the price.

    Few tips on how to set the price:

    • Fixed price

      Taking a picture of the front of the building is a rather monotonous job, but you can set a fixed price on it.

      When a customer wishes to have some photos of the interior in addition to the pictures of the front – you can offer him “payment per room”.

    • Fee for the shooting + per cent from the sale

      Yes, there is such an option, but in this case the photographer must be really popular (and have flawless reputation) in the real estate agencies.

      Only then he might demand the percentage from the deal as his salary for the work done.

    • Variable rate

      You fix the rate depending on the price of the object, the pictures of which you are going to make.

      Taking pictures of the house, which costs less than 50 thousand of dollars, you should count on the lesser fee than taking pictures of things, which cost more than a million dollars.

      The significant advantage of such kind of photography is that a photographer does not need plenty of equipment to do his job.

      A reflex camera, wide-angle lens and a tripod are quite enough.

  4. Stock photography

    Another modern way how a photographer may make money is the so-called stock photo.

    On the Internet there are special services – photobanks or photostocks, which are the link between the photographers and the clients, who are interested in their work.

    Here the customer may be sure in the quality of the bought photos and the photographer will get his full payment in time.

    Nowadays, plenty of magazines, books, advertisements and newspapers are published in the world every day.

    They have various illustrations.

    Photobanks are the agencies, which sell 3D graphics, photos, vector images and provide different print publications with them.

    Stock industry is a very difficult way how aspiring photographers may make money, first of all, because it’s hard to appear on the market.

    Stocks mostly accept the photos of the already known and famous photographers.

    We also want you to pay attention to one more thing – people seek and buy on stocks those photos, which must help them sell their services or goods.

    Keep it in mind all the time, when you work on photos for sale.

  5. Art photography

    Selling art photos is a service, which is apparently the most difficult way how one may make money.

    The competition is very big, the market is torn by plenty of photographers, who try and think how to make some money by selling their works, while the place on the wall of the customer remains limited (every room has only four walls and we prefer to hang the pictures, which mean something for us).

    There are three things about which you should think before you start:

    • Think how to form the audience

      People really seldom buy the works of the unheard-of author.

      In case they heard about you at least in passing – the chances to sell the works would be much higher.

      One of the best ways how you may start making money by selling photos as works of art is to put your works on the public display and make the fan group of your art.

      You may do it on the Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook.

    • Quality is significantly important

      If your photo of the sunset looks like a picture taken on the phone while going to the country house last weekend – no one will buy it.

    • Uniqueness is sold

      Your photos must be not only of high technical quality – they must have something that makes you stand out.

      The distinctive author’s style will definitely assist you in selling your fingerprints to the members of your group (refer to the first paragraph) and outside of it.

  6. Professional photo shoots for catalogues and online shops

    One of the most widespread ways how professional photographers make money is taking pictures for the catalogues, online shops and advertising agencies.

    In order to do it you must come to the agreement with the head editor of these publications.

    In general, the object photography is implied, but you might need to learn how to work with models as well.

    One should mention that this kind of shooting requires professional equipment and good condition of the studio.

    It’s mostly dictated by the necessity of using professional light and other important attributes – the background, the drawers and stands, the blower and smoke generator.

    Moreover, if you work with models, you need beauty closets and the service of the professional makeup artist.

    If you are an aspiring photographer, it’s not necessary to open your own photostudio.

    In order to do the object photography for different catalogues, online shops and advertising agencies, you can easily go with the rented professional studio with per-hour payment.

    Moreover, the prices on such rent are rather reasonable and there are plenty of offers.

    Working with several publishers or online shops, it’s quite possible to secure yourself with the work for a few months ahead.

    The payment of your services may vary depending on the difficulty of the order and set the price for the whole volume of the work done or every item in particular.

    If you have too many orders, you might hire an assistant with the future perspective of working as a full time photographer.

From the all things mentioned above, we are able to drive to the following conclusion: a photographer has unlimited possibilities how he can make money.

The main spectrum is the creative approach to the photographer’s work and the desire to provide the service of the highest quality.

We hope that now you know how to make money as a photographer.

Turn on your fantasy, do not be afraid of experiments and you are sure to find those, who are willing to pay for your work and ability to make good shots.

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