back to top

How to Make Money With Photography (14 Best Strategies 2024)

Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 15 min read
ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little money. Need more info? See how it all works here.
Subscribe Below to Download the Article Immediately

You can also select your interests for free access to our premium training:

Your privacy is safe! We will never share your information.

You’ve discovered the art of photography and honed your skills. But now you are wondering, How can I earn money through photography?

Here are a few ways a photographer can earn a living. It doesn’t matter if 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.

Affordable and Diverse
Shutterstock Stock Photos
Shutterstock Stock Photos
Looking to make money with photography? Check out this popular online store with millions of royalty-free images and videos. It’s a perfect place to sell your stock photography.

How to Make Money With Photography

Here are 14 ways to make money with your photography.

1. Sell Prints Online

If you practice enough, there’s a good chance you’ve taken some amazing shots. And some photos are so good that people will want to buy them.

So why not start selling prints? There are different ways to make money by selling prints. Both options can be very easy to do and inexpensive.

The easiest way is to sell prints online through a third-party seller. They do all the legwork. They process the order, print them, and send out the prints.

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 making money from the prints you sell today!

A great platform to sell your prints is Etsy. This website offers a way to sell all kinds of handmade products. Each listing is only $0.20. So it is a cost-effective way to sell.

All you need to do is print your image, list it on the website, and then send the print to the buyer. But if there are any complaints or refunds, you will have to manage them.

Photo prints on a table


Online platforms like Smugmug and ShootProof are excellent for selling photos. You create an account with one of them, list your photos, and prospective clients can browse your catalog.

They can buy digital versions of the images. Or they can buy prints.

You don’t have to worry about printing with Smugmug or ShootProof. They have affiliated printers all over the world who take care of it.

They also organize shipping. And the platforms give you help with accounts and invoices.

There’s another way of selling prints that is a little bit harder. You can 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 and frame them. And you arrange a commission. They get artwork. You both get money. At the very least, your photos will be displayed in front of thousands.

2. Sell Your Travel Photography Stories

Do you love photography and travel? You could make money doing both!

There is an increase in demand for original travel content. Clients like magazines and newspapers are constantly looking for new talent.

This means you can try to make money by creating and selling travel content. This could be photos or videos highlighting destinations.

Photo of a beautiful park in Barcelona, Spain with a lake and fountains


If you are also a talented writer, you can provide a complete package of an article with photos. But the article and photos should create a compelling story to sell them.

So it is important to take photos that not only look good. They need to tell a story.

Newspapers and magazines aren’t the only organizations that need travel photos. You can also sell them to tour operators, travel companies, or airlines.

Often you’ll find that the more you work with a client, the more other opportunities will present themselves.

3. Pursue Wedding Photography

Many photographers prefer to go down the wedding photography business route. This niche can potentially make you a lot of money as a photographer.

And you earn a lot for a good reason. The stress, planning, and work you must do is immense.

Not only are the financial benefits high, but it is also a very rewarding job. You get to be a part of one of the happiest days of some people’s lives.

Photo of a couple on their wedding day


But the pressure is quite high. You are responsible for capturing one of the most important moments of a happy couple.

Hence, it is important to make sure you have enough practice. If you already shoot events or portraits, you are on your way to being a wedding photographer.

If you aren’t sure you are ready to shoot weddings, you can try the following first:

4. Make Your Own Photo Book

One of the less common ways to make money through photography is to make your own photo book. Many galleries are available online. But photo books are superior to virtual galleries in many ways.

Photo books offer a lot of customization. Unlike a photo album, you can customize your photo book any way you like.

You can add textcreate frames around your photos, and organize your collection of images. If you’re efficient, you can create a photo book within an hour or two!

You can also try to buy a photo book online, like a self-stick photo album, and customize it to your taste. But printing hundreds of photos and buying a good album is costly. 

Photo books are cost-effective. Many photo book services offer books that cost as little as $10.

They are also great gifts for friends and family members who want to keep their memories in a reliable place. And some photographers prefer to share their portfolios through books.

They’re ideal for sharing with clients. They help prevent a variety of internet-related issues. And they also make you look more professional.

Photo of someone flipping through a photo book


There are many ways to create a photo book. You don’t necessarily have to spend hours editing and compiling one on your laptop.

Some websites, like Shutterfly, have designers who will create your photo book within three business days. Blurb is also a great platform to create a photo book. All you have to do is upload your photos.

It is important to choose a specific theme for your photo book. This makes it more appealing and interesting. You can create one theme or pick different themes for every ten pages.

Once you have a theme, it’s time to choose your favorite photos. Try to avoid having too many photos of the same kind.

Use images with different angleslighting, and poses. This will make your photo book as diverse as possible. And prioritize bright images over dark ones.

It is also a good idea to avoid very grainy photos. They look unappealing when printed on a page. Likewise, too much contrast or blurriness may ruin your image.

When choosing photo resolution, keep them as large as possible. Most photo sites have a maximum and minimum size limit. The closer your pictures are to the max, the better they look printed.

5. License Images Through iStock and Getty

iStock helps thousands of people make money from their photos. And if you have an iStock account, your photos can also be found through Getty Images.

So when people see them, they can pay to use them, and this earns you money.

But you must first apply through the Contributor by Getty Images app. You upload three to six photos of your work. (I recommend uploading your best photos.) And they review your images.

If iStock accepts you, you begin with a non-exclusive contract. And then, you can later apply for more exclusive opportunities and rates.

You can also look into becoming an editorial contributor through Getty. But this is a more thorough and competitive application process. It includes providing a professional bio and portfolio.

Screenshot of iStock and Getty contributor application page


6. Sell Your Photos in Galleries

Selling photos in local galleries is a great way to make some money. But it is important to figure out what sells. Photos that remind people of the local areas, like nice views or local landmarks, will sell.

International landmarks, famous people’s portraits, and landscapes may sell well to a large audience. But they’re going to be less popular in the local market.

As a general rule, if you have people in your photos, they won’t sell. Photos of cliché subjects work well.

For example, a photo of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or a boat in a sea town. Although these are overdone for locals, they appeal to tourists.

Photo of a guy looking at photos at a gallery


Ask in person for wall space. The best way to get your photos featured in a gallery is to go and visit the gallery. Only take around 10 of your best photos. And show them your work in person.

If the local gallery decides they want to feature your photos, you will have to discuss pricing. Pricing differs in each situation.

Some will let you rent wall space. Some will ask for a small monthly fee and a percentage of your profits. Others might handle all the printing and pricing but take a larger commission.

7. Sell on Stock Photography Sites

We’ve all heard of stock photography before. (It’s like what Getty is doing with iStock.) But how do you make money from stock photography?

Well, you can sell photos online by submitting them to various stock photography sites. Then you can add keywords, making it easier for people to find them.

Companies and businesses are always looking for stock photos. If your images fit what they are looking for, they will buy them.

When I say “buy,” I mean “license.” You can continue selling photos repeatedly and make a good living with a large portfolio.

Commissions vary depending on which of the many stock photography sites you use. A few to consider are Alamy, Dreamstime, and Shutterstock.

Read our full list of recommended stock sites.

Photo of a laptop on a desk


8. Pursue Night Club Photography

This very specific type of photography is listed here for a reason. Proper nightclubs have well-established promoters who want photos from their club at night. And you can provide them!

It’s worth it for a promoter to pay a photographer to take photos. These photos end up on Facebook or other social media. And they are used to promote the club.

You’ll probably notice that most club photographers are in their early twenties. So you don’t have to have the greatest experience in the world to get work.

Even if you just want to expand your photography skills, go to a nightclub with your camera. I have never been stopped from going into a club with mine.

And, as a little bonus, if you enjoy this sort of thing, you might get to go to many gigs for free. Go out tonight and take some photos at a local club, gig, or event.

Photo of people dancing at a party


9. Try Real Estate Photography

Another great way to make money is to offer your services to an interior designer or real estate agent.

Determine who you would want to work with. Figure out local photography job rates. And take a look at some sample images for real estate photography.

You then need to create a service package. It should include a rate sheet, a contract, and other details to ensure a smooth sales pitch. Then, you have to network and identify potential clients!, Meero, or Facebook groups are great platforms to find local real estate events. You can also try to find connections at design-related conferences or events.

Regardless of how you are networking, do not overlook the power of word of mouth! Let your family, friends, and colleagues know you want to connect with new clients.

In addition, create a social media page targeted just for real estate photography.

Real estate photo depicting the front porch of a house and the road leading up to it


10. Assist Other Photographers

Do you want to make money with photography but aren’t ready to start your own projects? Try assisting other photographers.

Assisting a photographer is one of the best ways to gain experience and start making money fast. You will need a strong portfolio if you’re expecting to work at weddings and such, though.

There is also high-end work, like fashion. You won’t get behind the camera. But you still gain experience and make money.

Photographers often need assistants on jobs. And you should expect to be compensated for your time. The biggest advantage is that you don’t have to look for work. It comes to you.

The hardest part is finding people willing to pay you the money you want for the work you’re good at. Take some time and find local working photographers in your area.

Contact them and 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!

A photography assistant adjusting light


11. Build a Photography Blog

Starting a photography blog is a great way to get your photos seen. It is s one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. And you can become a strong photography blogger to showcase your photos.

To create your own website, you must first buy your domain name and arrange a web host. Then, install WordPress, a theme, and some plugins. And finally, write your first post.

Ta-da! Your website is ready!

Photo of a person typing on a laptop


12. Start Teaching

Getting into a rather competitive market takes a lot of hard work and dedication. So if you don’t want to constantly fight for clients and jobs, I suggest teaching.

Not everyone can learn from the internet. If you can teach, reach out to those people, and show them how it’s done, one on one.

A good teacher can make a good living. It could be from group classes or one on one sessions.

Photo of a guy in a hoodie with a camera


13. Enter Photography Competitions

Photo contests are one way to make money that most people forget about.

I went around one of my model’s houses. And up on the wall was a pretty terrible picture of her when she was younger. It looked like a friend had taken it in a playground.

It turns out that a photographer won $2,500 for it in Canada. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t take my eyes off the photo. It was just so… average.

It doesn’t take long to enter photo contests. And even if you do not win, it will get your work out there. If you’re lucky, your work might even get critiqued!

Photo of photographers on railroad tracks


14. Share All of It on Social Media

Instagram is a great source of inspiration for good photography. But you can also use Instagram to make money by selling your images.

You can supply photos to businesses and blogs that constantly need images. Many photographers sell the images that they post on their pages.

All they do is add a link that allows you to buy their photos from a third-party site.

Close-up photo of an iPhone


FAQs About How to Make Money as a Photographer

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about making money as a photographer.

How Much Money Can You Make as a Photographer?

Here are some general figures about how much photographers should earn based on their expertise.

  • Hobbyist: Free (or under $100). These are mainly those who love photography and like to practice their passion for fun. They offer free shoots for relatives and friends or way below market price.
  • Amateur: $30 to $90 per hour. This is someone who is just beginning in the photography world.
  • Student: $50 to $100 per hour or $25 to $100 per image. Student rates depend on their skill and the amount of experience they have. But, if they are advanced, they can charge as much as professionals.
  • Semi-Pro: $70 to $170 per hour or $50 to $125 per image. These are photography school graduates with formal training and some professional experience. Although they might not yet own a studio, they are not beginners. Therefore, they charge a slightly higher rate.
  • Professional: $100 to $300 per hour or $80 to $270 per image. This photographer has a lot of experience and has earned respect for their work.
  • Top Professional: $250 to $500+ per hour or $250 to $1,500 per image. These are the cream of the crop, the elite, highly in-demand photographers.

How Do Freelance Photographers Make Money?

Freelance photographers are self-employed photographers. They take projects from various organizations and people as and when they like.

Freelancers have the flexibility to choose what project they take. For example, it could be for a media company, a newspaper, an event, or a commercial shoot.

They get paid by project, hourly, or daily. To make money, freelance photographers have to market their work. So having a strong portfolio and network to find new projects is important.

What Type of Photos Sell Best?

No one kind of photograph sells the most universally. It depends on where you are selling your images, your target niche, and who your customer is.

More specifically, if you are selling on stock photography sites, a few categories sell better than others.

For example, pictures of everyday activities, nature, animals, and transport are especially popular. And images of business people, electronics, and money are hugely in demand.


Conclusion: How to Make Money with Photography

There are many ways to make money through photography. You can sell prints, offer photography or retouching services, or teach.

It depends on your personality and what you are interested in. But you can monetize your skills in photography.

If you’re looking for more great tips, check out our complete guide to running a photography business or our Photography for Beginners course.

Affordable and Diverse
Shutterstock Stock Photos
Shutterstock Stock Photos
Looking to make money with photography? Check out this popular online store with millions of royalty-free images and videos. It’s a perfect place to sell your stock photography.