While many of us operate casually in life as a self-proclaimed photographer, less of us are able to make a living (or any money at all) from the hobby. It may not be your dream to take family Christmas photos, so here are some other interesting ways to make money from your photography.
There are plenty of sites, such as Shutterstock and Getty Images that will pay for photographers to submit their photos. Many pay roughly a dollar per photo for every month that it is posted on their site. While this may not seem like much, the more photos you can sell, the higher your paycheck. It takes some time to build up a reputation, as the more experienced photographers tend to be favored. But if you can offer plenty of photos that will help others sell something, you have a good chance of making some decent dough.
While Hollywood living might make this method competitive, you may be able to control the market if you live elsewhere. Most communities have a minor film community, if not a theater or other performing arts community (such as singers and dancers) with performers looking to make the switch to film. If you have a nice studio, or are able to work well in exterior locations, you can make very good money if you can produce nice looking headshots.
If your community does have a film industry, this is a great way to get your name out there and make some extra money. Attach yourself as the official behind-the-scenes (BTS) photographer on a local production. You’ll be in charge of documenting lighting setups, locations, actors, and anything else that might be interesting on set. You can start out by offering your services for free. Then the word-of-mouth you’ll receive in the industry will lead you to more work and money in the future. If you have video capabilities, it’s a good idea to get some on-set video for the editor to work with later.
This is a more common method of money-making, but if done well can provide a pretty hefty and full-time income. You’ll need to be able to deal with the great responsibility that comes with the job, and be able to produce great photos with great gear (if you don’t own it, rent it). It’s best to try and take a somewhat creative approach to your style, offering something new with traditional wedding photography. A Cincinatti wedding photographer may be worth calling all the way to California if he can provide something that no other photographer can.
Whether it be a minor league or a kiddie league, any sporting event that will allow you to come photograph for them is worth the opportunity. Station yourself down at the field level and use a telephoto lens to get full-body shots of individual players. After the game hand out flyers with access to your website and tell players and parents that they can surf the site for pictures of themselves. You can enable customers to browse all the action-packed photos and purchase the ones they like. This is a less-explored area of photography, so you may have a good chance in your community.
This is the hardest way to make money from photography, but it is worth every photographer taking a shot at it. Make large prints of all of your favorite photos, especially the ones that offer a creative vision or a nice image to compliment a living or dining room. Submit the photos to a local art gallery, or attempt to sell them yourself either through a display or online. If you have a unique eye and message through your photos, chances are you will get some interested buyers.
It’s perfectly fine for photography to remain a casual hobby. But for those who show some serious talent, why not make your photography skills work for you? If you turning your passion into a living is a dream come true, do everything you can to make it happen.