How to Turn a Profit on Your Photography Hobby
Is your passion for photography strong enough that you’d like to make it your career? Great news: you can! That’s not to say that making money from your photos will be easy. Just like any other artistic pursuit, the path to becoming a working photographer is a tumultuous road paved with beginner's challenges that take time to navigate. But if photography is truly your passion, there are several things you can do to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.
Write a Photography Blog
One of the best ways to share your passion with other photography enthusiasts is by creating a blog. If you produce consistent, quality content, you’ll drive traffic to your site. And when your site has impressive an impressive SEO ranking, it opens up avenues for reeling in commissions, such as:
Ads – You'll get paid every time someone clicks one.
Referrals – This involves placing a link to an advertiser’s webpage in one of your articles. Just like with ads, you’ll make money each time someone clicks that link.
Writing Reviews - With this route, you agree to write an article hyping up a specific product or service that an advertiser offers in a review post. This is fantastic for those that enjoy the written word as much as they do photography.
Submit Your Work to Stock Photography Websites
Businesses, marketing agencies, and digital media companies are constantly looking for quality photos to put on their websites. They want them quickly and for cheap.
License your photos on as many major stock photography websites as you can (read the instructions carefully when you submit, some websites don’t allow you to license the same image across multiple platforms). Stock websites are an effective “middleman” for getting businesses to come to you.
Take Advantage of Local Gigs
No matter where you live, if your town has any sort of population, there are guaranteed opportunities to capitalize on just outside your front door. Get your name out there in your community by shooting photos for:
Special Occasions – Every year, people have weddings, graduate from high school, or experience some sort of momentous occasion in their lives. And all of them want to capture the moment with the perfect portrait.
Small Businesses – You and most small business owners are kindred spirits. You may be just starting out, but you believe in what you have to offer and are eager to reach more people. Introduce yourself to these small business owners and show them how you can help. Bring a tablet with your portfolio, or print your photos out on the best color laser printer you can find.
Newspapers – Digital platforms have smoked the newspaper industry so badly that this suggestion may be obsolete by the time you finish reading this sentence. But for the moment, newspapers remain a viable opportunity to get work taking photos of local events and public figures.
Beef up Your Social Media
Today, everyone and their mother has some sort of social media profile. That means virtually countless people are eager to tap “follow” on profiles that brighten their day, making your potential audience larger and more accessible than ever.
Reach your audience by building a strong social media presence. Put particular emphasis on your Instagram page and your YouTube channel, where images reign as king.
Work with Established Photographers
In order to be the best, you have to learn from the best. Build your resume by introducing yourself to established photographers in your area and offering to assist them with tasks like:
Editing and retouching their photos
Photography tours and workshops
Sweeten the pot by offering to do your first assignment for free. If you do a great job, it’s likely they’ll call you again, and maybe even bring you onboard full-time.
Making money from photography takes time, so don’t expect to turn a profit from your photography right out of the gate. But if you follow these tips and stay persistent, you may be able to turn your passion into a profession that yields a serious profit.