I think we all agree that photography can be an expensive game, but like so many artistic pursuits, we don’t think of ourselves as good enough to ask for money, so we just don’t.
I think this is a bit of a limiting belief. In the end it isn’t your decision as to whether your image is worth money, it is up to the person who needs the image.
Additionally, many amateur photographers dabble in a bit of everything.
A way to get good at something is to practise a lot. A way to get good at photography, if you want to make money with it, is to get good at an aspect of photography, then market that.
Some Ideas To Make Money From Your Photography.
This list is not for those who want to be professional full time photographers. It is mainly one off ideas that you can explore and perhaps turn into reasonable cash with some effort and luck.
Parties and inside Events
The idea here is that you stay in a location and let the people who want photos come to you. You charge the even people by the hour (you can try to get people to pay on the day, but in my experience it is too fiddly and takes some of the spontaneity out of the experience).
- Set up with a box of silly hats and accessories.
- Put your camera on a tripod and get some daylight globes to get some light on your subjects.
- Set up a backdrop (duct tape and an old sheet can be enough. If you want to step up a bit, use a length of dowel or curtain rod from your local hardware store. Two long bits as poles and a cross piece. Then lean it against the wall).
Now grab people as they go past and get them to smile. Most events have some alcohol, so it doesn’t take long for people to start coming to you.
The more you do this, the more the word will get around and the more you’ll have shots to show people of other events you’ve done.
Keep an eye on the paper, on Gumtree and social media for upcoming stuff.
Also put the word out among those you know that you are available for this type of thing.
A good idea is to find a local DJ who does parties and what not, and organise a deal with him/her to offer a package. Music and professional pics.
Magazine and Newspaper Submissions – Events
You would think with the Internet everywhere that magazines would be on the decline.
Well they aren’t so much declining, as moving sideways, or virtually sideways…hmm… well they’re going online anyway.
The point is, they still need content, and although they get a lot of free content, some will pay for good shots in their domain.
Best to pick the thing you like to do anyway, or know about, and go shoot that.
- Aim to be where other photographers aren’t, so be early and hang around late.
- Also remember that your images should tell a story by themselves, so aim to shoot with that in mind.
- If there are people in the shot, go talk to them and get their details and permission for the shot to be used online or in print. Most people are ok with that I have found.
Being at the right place is the key.
Also not being discouraged when some of your shots are rejected, is also the key.
So two keys (there could be more keys).
Magazine Submissions – your specialty interest
Another thing magazines, both offline and online, need is submissions from the public that are good enough that they are willing to pay, in the area that they advertise to.
This may take practise, but photography is like golf; you’ll never get perfect.
I happen to like kitesurfing and surf magazines like ladies, so one of my kiting friends was happy to pose.
If you are into mountain biking, wool spinning, knife making, or any other hobby, think about what people would want to see of your hobby, and take pictures of that.
Tell a story with your images.
You can also shoot stock images of what you like to do.
Stock photography isn’t for everyone. There are so many images online these days that many magazines and content producers no longer go looking for images they are officially allowed to use.
For those that still do, stock sites are the go.
For a small monthly fee a member can choose images to use wherever they need (based on the license) officially and legally.
The trouble with stock photos is that a lot of people contribute so your shots may get lost in the confusion.
But if you are particularly good at taking shots of what you like, and you take hundreds all the time, then stock could be for you.
The trick is to stay within a certain domain of shots. Get very good at a certain type of shot and people will tend to pick you in the website stock search because they know they’ll get what they are looking for.
I’ve never bothered. I prefer to hunt down clients, but stock is still an option that does make money.
The picture to the left is part of a commercial shoot I did.
Got to a stock site like istockphoto and do your research. It might be for you.
There are any number of businesses that need images for their website or social media, so it can’t hurt to get together a collection of what you’ve done, then pop in and have a chat.
I did a gig for Tasmanian Electric Vehicles recently and spent my time shooting electric bikes. They lent me one for a demo ride for the weekend and while I was out, I shot some more with the bike I had.
You can do the same. If you ride skateboards, or standup paddle, or you like to cook, anything really, you can start to shoot that for stock, or you can organise and shoot stuff for the website and social media of the people you borrow from.
And there is more … but not right now.
Stay tuned… there will be more. I’ve run out of day but I know of more ways to make money. Feel free to contact me below.