Ten Ways To Make Money With Your Camera
I have belonged to a half dozen photography clubs for over thirty years. One of the questions that I am asked most often by new members is, “How can I make money with my camera?” I was asked that question so often that I developed a club brochure on the subject and this article are a abridged version of what I describe in that brochure.
- 1 Sell your photos on a website.
- 2 Sell you photos to stock photo services.
- 3 Sell you photos to online and print magazines and newspapers.
- 4 Sell your services as a photographer.
- 5 Create your own photo exhibits.
- 6 Teach an adult ed class in photography.
- 7 Self publish a coffee table book and sell it online.
- 8 Sell photo specialty products through consignment shops.
- 9 Enter your best photos in photo competitions.
- 10 You can become an event photographer.
There are many ways to make money with a camera. To choose the best way for you to make money with your camera, you want to ask yourself a few questions. They are straightforward but crucial questions that you need to answer to your satisfaction before deciding on which way you need to follow. There are five questions that you want to ask and answer before looking at the list of ten money making opportunities that I will discuss later in this article.
First, ask yourself how much is my time worth? If you are considering going pro the question becomes, how much do I need to get from my photography based on a standard forty hour workweek? The answer to this question leads us to the second question.
Second ask yourself how hard am I willing to work to achieve this goal. When answering this question, you want to ask and answer a few other questions. Am I willing to travel? If yes, how far am I willing to travel and am I willing to be away from home and family for extended periods of time?
Do I want to make money from one time-sales? Do I want to make many sales, and make future commissions from every one of your photo shoots? This, the third question, follows right on the heels of the last question.
Fourth, when considering any photo specialty, you need to have a clear understanding of what your clients will require from you. You need to know your potential client's needs and expectations. That analysis leads to asking yourself this question, do I have the capability to meet those needs and expectations. Being able to answer that question in the affirmative, without any doubt in your mind, is especially invaluable if you will be shooting a once in a lifetime event i.e. weddings. With weddings you either do it right the first time or never make it. No one wants to be the one to tell the happy couple that you missed getting that all famous first kiss.
Fifth, do I have the equipment needed, if not, can I afford to purchase all the equipment I need before undertaking my first job?
You should also make a study of how much established pros are charging for the photo services you have chosen and then set your prices accordingly. Take into consideration that you are new and set you price accordingly. One word of caution here, do not set your prices too far below the standard or your potential clients will begin to wonder why you are selling your services for such a low figure. They will wonder if you have the ability to deliver the quality that they require and demand.
1 Sell your photos on a website.
One of the easiest ways to earn money with your camera without giving up your day job is to sell your photos on a website. The really great thing about this method is that you can continue to shoot whatever you like, whenever you like. If you are into shooting landscapes, cityscape, animals travel, etc this may be the best way for you to start making money with your camera. All you have to do is setup a web page on a site like Mpix Zenfolio and upload the pictures that you want to sell. Zenfolio does all the work for you. They will accept orders, print photos on demand, ship them to your customers, and collect the money for you. A basic web store on Zenfolio will cost a mere $25 a year. An “Unlimited” web store will cost you $50 a year. And a “Premium” store will cost $100 a year. The great thing about Zenfolio is that you can try it for free. With Zenfolio you can also sell custom photo gifts as well as pictures.
2 Sell you photos to stock photo services.
Selling your photos to stock photo agencies allows you the same freedoms as selling your photos through your own web store but the immediate income is not as great. Few photographers make enough from selling their photos through stock photo agency to make it their sole source of income as a photographer. How much you make depends on the size of your stock photo portfolio but it will provide a steady source of income that will help defray the cost of your “toys.” To learn more about stock photography, check out my Factoidz series Stock Photography: Get Paid for Doing What You Love
3 Sell you photos to online and print magazines and newspapers.
Selling your photos to magazines and newspapers can be very lucrative, but requires more work on your part then either of the first two methods. To sell your photos to magazines and newspapers, you have to research the publications, study their photo guidelines to find out their requirements, discover the name of the photo editor and then query them. If you want to sell to magazines and newspapers, you need the latest revision of Photographer's Markets:Where and how to sell your photographs.
4 Sell your services as a photographer.
Even starting out part time , you can earn a second income by doing in-home portrait photography of children, adults, and pets. You can become the sports even photographer for your local schools. You can sell your services as a party photographer. You can even sell your services to local businesses like real estate agencies and auto dealers to produce the photos they use in their online listings. The type of services that you sell depends solely on where your talents lie.
5 Create your own photo exhibits.
Many restaurants will be glad to exhibit your photographs for sale on their walls if you can provide the kind of photos that appeal to their patrons. It is a win – win situation. The restaurant owner gets free decorative prints that change on a regular schedule and you get the money when restaurant patrons buy them.
6 Teach an adult ed class in photography.
Many agency, Learning Tree, for example will hire you to teach classes if you have the talent and the ability to teach. The pay is minimal but it is a good way to earn some money to defray the cost of your hobby. An alternative to teaching a class is to become a private tutor. Many people will hire you to give them private lessons on how to use their camera equipment.
7 Self publish a coffee table book and sell it online.
If you have a big collection of animal pictures, landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, dogs, cats, or some other type of pictures that people love, turn them into a coffee table book or books. There are print on demand sites like Lulu.com that will help you with the creation of your book. They will then print and market the book for you on their site. They even drop ship the books and collect the money for you.
8 Sell photo specialty products through consignment shops.
If you are artistically inclined with an eye for graphic design, you can create a line of calendars, mouse pads, cups, specialty cards, etc and sell them through consignment shops. You can offer to custom design these products for the shop's clientele using their photos, too. Most consignment shops will be willing to take these special orders for you for a small percentage of the net profits from the sale.
9 Enter your best photos in photo competitions.
Contrary to what many believe there is money to be made by entering photo competitions. There is cash as well as valuable prizes to be won. My oldest granddaughter enter a local photo competition and won a camera kit worth over $1000. Not bad for a girl that was thirteen years old at the time.
10 You can become an event photographer.
If you have the equipment and the talent, you can become an event photographer, working for the even venues and for PR agencies.
These are just ten ways to make money with your camera. Let your imagination run free and I am sure that you will think of many more ways to turn your camera into a source of income.