Quit your job and live off your passion for photography? Many an amateur photographer has certainly dreamed of this. The path to earning an income from your own photography is not an easy one, and besides how to take good photos, there are a few things you should know before you embark on this adventure.
A nice way to earn money from your own photos can be commissioned work. Architectural and event photography, for example, fall into this category, as does the lucrative field of wedding photography. Talented photographers are also sought for photos of dishes in restaurants or for newly published books. Portraits can also be a possible source of income.
For this type of commissioned work, you should have a web presence, but ads in newspapers and trade magazines can also be helpful. In order to earn money with commissioned work, you should not only have the necessary photographic skills, but also be sure that a subject area really suits you and matches your own interests.
If you are interested in current topics and like to be in the middle of the action, you can also earn money by doing reports for newspapers. Often you take photos on your own initiative, which are then offered to newspapers and, in the best case, sold, and you have to be on the go a lot. To work in this field, you can contact a local newspaper and ask about the modalities of cooperation.
Selling images online: stock photography
In stock photography, one sells images online that one has taken in advance. These are uploaded to special image databases such as iStock, Shutterstock, Getty, 500px, Fotolia or Abode Stock and tagged with appropriate keywords that are searched for as much as possible. For this, one must not only take good photos, but above all know which topics are popular and if possible find an area where demand is high but supply is low. The photos are then distributed directly through the platforms and purchased by customers on demand. Thus, they represent a passive income that can be used to earn money for many years without having to invest time in it on a regular basis.
The disadvantage of this image marketing is that you cannot actively promote your own photos and fuel sales. Depending on the size, you get between 50 cents and 2 euros for a picture on such platforms, which sounds like little money. However, it's the masses that make the difference, because the photos sell "as if by themselves" over a long period of time. If you are interested in this way of earning money, it is advisable to study the necessary quality standards and get to know the requirements of the various platforms.
Without directly selling your own images, you can also earn money with photography through online marketing. For this, you need channels such as a well-visited website, a YouTube channel or an Instagram profile with many followers. Even your own Facebook page can serve for this. All these platforms, on which you can show your photos, want to be maintained and regularly played. But if you have built up a good audience and found many followers, you can earn a good income with it.
There are different ways to do this: On your own website or the associated block, for example, you can do affiliate marketing by describing products and linking to them via Amazon, for example. If someone on the website then becomes aware of the product, clicks on the link and also buys it, you get a small commission. Again, it's small money, but remains active as a passive source of income over a long period of time.
In addition, if you have a website that is doing well, you may be contacted by companies that want to place banner ads there. Also, on your own, you can target suitable candidates and make them an offer to advertise on your website. If many people watch the videos on your Youtube channel, you automatically receive an advertising offer from Youtube and revenue per video minute. On channels such as Instagram or Tiktok, it also happens that companies are looking for influencers, i.e. people who have many followers and who use certain products there, thus making them familiar to a wider audience.
Workshops and courses
However, to earn your own living as a photographer, you don't necessarily have to sell your own photos. If you take a lot of photos and know a lot about cameras and accessories, you can also offer courses and workshops, for example, in which you pass on your knowledge to others. In contrast to passive income from stock photography, organizational skills and good communication of the content are required here in addition to photography. Offering workshops and courses is time-consuming, but offers a lucrative source of income and direct contact with people and thus constant feedback on one's own work. Courses can be organized privately or, for example, in cooperation with the local adult education center.
Those who are keen to travel and enjoy taking photographs in foreign cultures and landscapes can even offer a photo trip. Alternatively, photo lectures on travel are also very popular. Here you can not only gain new fans and exchange ideas with other photography enthusiasts, but also market other photo products of your own making. Such products can be your own e-book or printed book, or large-format prints of your own photographs, postcards or calendars with your own images.
If you want to start earning a little money with photography, at least on the side, the first step is to invest some time in setting up your own website. Many creatives use the WordPress platform for this, which is not only easy to set up, but can also be conveniently expanded and extended to evolve along with your own work. Then you can start marketing and expand your own channels for this as mentioned above. A helpful tool for this is Google My Business, where one can show one's work and store contact information.
In addition, if you want to sell your own photos or photographic skills, you should take care of a business registration. In the beginning, you can easily register a sideline income for this, which is not very time-consuming, and later you can possibly switch to a full-time business.
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