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How to Make Money with Photography

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Want to start earning money from your photography today? Here are a few lesser known ways to make money and find work as a photographer. Whether you’re setting up a portfolio, or struggling to find the work you’re ready for, this post will help you figure out how to make money with photography.

A close up of a person counting money

11. Sell Prints

If you’re good at photography and you take a lot of photos, there’s a good chance you’ve taken some amazing shots by now. So good in fact that people are going to want to buy them. So why not sell them? This can be very easy to do and inexpensive.

The easiest way for anyone to sell prints is to sell photos online through a third-party seller. They will do all the legwork, process the order, print and send out the photos. In return, they provide you with a commission. There’s no reason why you can’t go through all your best photos right now, and upload them to a site. Start earning money from the prints you sell today!

Another way (which is a little harder) is to print them yourself and sell them through shops and restaurants. Say for example you’ve taken plenty of nice photos from your area. You could approach a cafe or a restaurant, and come to an arrangement where they display and sell your photos. All you have to do is print them and give them a commission. They get artwork, you get money. At the very least, you will have your photos displayed to thousands of people. Have you ever been to a restaurant and seen artwork hanging up with a price on it? That’s what that is all about.

Photo prints on a table

10. License through Flickr & Getty Images

Flickr helps thousands of people to start earning money from their photos. If you have a Flickr account, you can now license your photos through Getty Images. So when people see them, they can pay to use them, and earn you money.

Flickr members can turn on a “Request to License” link on their photo pages. The link will show right next to the licensing information. When a request is made, Getty Images reviews the photographer’s work. They’ll contact the Flickr member and help handle details like permissions, releases, and pricing. I would recommend only showing your best photos on Flickr, though.

Screenshot of Flickr

9. Publish in Your Local Paper

I’ve had a few friends who have started out like this. They contacted their local paper and worked with them to earn money from their photography. There’s two main ways that you can do it. First, you need to have a strong portfolio of images and an established relationship. You will soon begin to find yourself in a position where they will be contacting you when they need a photographer. From here, so long as you have the aspiration, you can expand your portfolio.

The second way you can work with them is to go out yourself and capture local events or new stories. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get a press pass for local events. I’ve done it before and people haven’t even asked to see a portfolio, or who I work for. You can then take these photos to local papers and start to earn money and get published. Don’t forget to charge them for it!

Pick up the phone and call your local paper today. In my experience, a phone call is a lot harder to ignore than an email.

Photo of a guy reading a newspaper

8. Sell on Stock Photography Sites

We’ve all heard of stock photography before, and it’s similar to what Getty is doing with Flickr. Instead of waiting for your photos to be found, you can submit them to a whole variety of stock photography sites. You can add keywords, and people will find them, and if they’re what they’re looking for, they will buy them. When I say buy, I really mean license. You can continue to sell photos time and time again, and make a good living if you have a large portfolio. Commissions vary depending on the site you use, but here are a few to consider: iStock, BigStock, and Shutterstock.

Photo of a laptop on a desk

7. Pursue Club Photography

This is a very specific type of photography, that’s listed here for a reason. Proper nightclubs have with well-established promoters. These promoters all want photos from their club nights, and you can be the one to provide them. It’s worth the promoter paying for a photographer to come along and take photos. These photos end up on Facebook and are used to promote the club.

You’ll probably notice that the majority of club photographers are in their early 20’s, and living locally. So you don’t have to have the greatest experience in the world to get work. If you want to expand your photography before you start looking for work, go down to a clubnight with your camera anyway. I have NEVER been stopped from going into a club with my camera. As a little added bonus if you enjoy this sort of thing, you start going to a lot of gigs for free. Go out tonight with your camera and take some photos at a local club/gig/event.

Photo taken at a party in a club

6. Sell Your Photography Gear

There’s a bit of an ongoing joke with photographers that the best way to make money from photography is to sell your camera. And it’s true but with the help of this post hopefully you don’t need to do that.

However, I’m sure every photographer has plenty of unused photography gear lying around. I’ve got old film cameras that I don’t use and at least three lenses that haven’t been using in the past six months. There’s no point in having these lie around, collecting dust. You might as well sell them to make some money.

Another great way to make money is to go to flea markets and look for old cameras. You can then take them to shops, or eBay, and earn a profit. It does help to know what you’re talking about though.

Photo of a lens on a keyboard

5. Assist Other Photographers

Assisting as a photographer is one of the best ways to gain experience and start to make money fast. You will need a strong portfolio if you’re expecting to go and work at weddings and such, with a camera. There is also high-end work, such as fashion, where you won’t get behind the camera, but still gain experience and money. Photographers often need assistants on jobs, and you should expect to be compensated for your time. The biggest advantage of all is that you don’t have to look for the work, it comes to you.

The hardest part is finding people who are willing to pay you the money you want, for the work you’re good at. If you’re assisting for a photographer instead, they have all of this set up, and you will start to learn how it’s done. Take some time now and find local working photographers in your area. Contact them, ask if they need an assistant. Offer to do the first time for free if you like. If you’re any good, they will want you back.

Photo of a photography studio

4. Start Teaching or Blogging

Starting a blog is a great way to get your photos seen. If you’re interested in blogging and want to know more, I would suggest that you visit IncomeDiary as that’s another site I write for, and you can learn a lot from there.

If you’re not really interesting in getting into a rather competitive market, which takes a lot of hard work and dedication, then I would suggest teaching. Not everyone can learn from the internet, and if you have the ability to teach, then you can reach out to those people, and show them how it’s done, one on one. A good teacher can make a good living, whether it’s from group classes, or one on one sessions.

Photo of a person typing on a laptop

3. Become a Paparazzi Photographer

Ok, so some of you might not agree with paparazzi but I’m going to include it anyway. If you live in a big city with a lot of celebrities wandering around, such as LA, Vegas, New York, London, Paris, etc., there’s a good chance you’re going to spot a few. These photos are worth money, depending on what you do with them. You could try selling them directly to the papers. If you’ve got a good relationship with them already, then you may earn some money.

Check out sites like Mr Paparazzi, where their experts will sell the photos, and you walk away with half the money. It almost always ends up being more than you would have gotten if you tried to sell it yourself. You can even sign up for text alerts for when celebrities have been spotted in your area.

This might not be up everyone’s street, but it is a way to make money today. And you’ll get to meet some celebrities no doubt.

Photo of a guy in a hoodie with a camera

2. Enter Competitions

I think this is one that most people seem to forget about. I went round one of my model’s house and up on the wall was a pretty terrible photo of her when she was younger. It looked like a friend had taken it in a playground. It turns out that some photographer won $2500 for it in Canada. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t take my eyes off the thing, it was just so… average.

It doesn’t take long to enter a photography competition at all. If you’re stuck for which ones to enter, then I suggest this post on best photography contests. At the very least, it will get your work out there, and maybe even critiqued if you’re lucky.

Photo of photographers on railroad tracks

1. Share All of It on Social Media

Ok, I lie, this won’t help you earn money directly. But it will help you find more followers, and continue with this labour of love.

Photo of a laptop and a smartphone

If you’re looking for more great tips, check out our ‘Complete Guide to Running a Photography Business‘, or our course ‘Photography for Beginners‘!

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24 comments
  1. Hi Josh !
    Thank you for the flickr+getty stuff ! Has an old flickr user, I should not hav missed this information ! I did…
    So I’m now ! Thank you again !
    See you
    Django

  2. Thanks Josh for these very helpful tips.
    I blip, as Grace55 and love it. I have a small collection on flickr but I am still learning and saving for a Canon Powershot.
    It is amazing what is achieveable with a Kodak Easyshare.

  3. Its really amazing and i love photography. My camera is my everything. BTW, i have got something to show you guys which can be interested for those who are newbie and want to make money, so check it out here
    bit.ly/camerabiz0

  4. Hi ! That was a great read. Thanks for the information shared 🙂
    On another note, adding my bit of information, I feel making money from your photography skills is a process that involves various steps like understanding the equipment and developing your skills, picking up a niche relevant to your skills, approaching people to get paid opportunities and project and financial management.
    Here is a blog that covers all of these aspects associated with it – https://blog.dextra.art/how-to-make-money-as-a-photographer-c8c761285856
    Hope that you find it useful. 🙂

  5. Great article.
    Photography has become one of those professions where you really need to present an outstanding work to make it a source of income. Instead of using stock image websites, I try selling photos through my own website. This gives me the flexibility to decide my own prices and eliminates commissions. Pixpa is a great platform that helped me accomplish both in a single platform.

  6. I fell in love taking pictures in my freshman year of high-school and now i am able to follow my passion and get paid while doing it. I decided that since i was able to follow my dream and do it as a career, ill share it with the world in hopes of making someone else dream come true.

  7. You might want to add Clickasnap to this list. I use it for a passive income as users earn a small amount of money every time their photos are looked at (and no my viewers don’t have to pay to look at them haha!).

    Works in a similar way to the monetisation programs on spotify and youtube i believe

  8. This was really cool, some great advice in here, hopefully I can use some of these ideas to make a bit of extra cash in photography, thank you!

  9. What a great list of ways to make money in photography. The advice and suggestions were right on. With a little imagination, anyone can make some decent cash following these ideas.

  10. Such a unique way of making money, never heard of making money with the help of photography. I am sure my brother will definitely like it. Actually he is doing photography and I will tell him about this blog, I am sure that this blog will be of great help. Thank you for sharing this great blog, I really liked it. Keep up the good work.

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