Thankfully, in today’s world, it is no longer necessary to complete a £40K photography degree and have a five-hundred page long photography portfolio to actually land a gig as a photographer.
So long as you have the ability to take photographs on a decent camera, you can absolutely make money from photography.
1. Stock Photography
Perhaps the most accessible and straightforward form of paid photography, producing stock imagery involves taking and uploading photographs to stock-photo sites such as Unsplash.
In order to access and download these photos for usage, businesses must then pay these photo distributing companies monthly/annual fees.
Using these fees, uploaders of stock photographs (you) are paid by distributors per download.
Uploading an image that is downloaded a thousand times may earn you £100, while a photo only downloaded once would generate only £0.10.
Thus, the more times your photos are downloaded, the more money you will subsequently earn.
To get started with stock photography, first head on over to the site you decide to use - perhaps this is Shuttershock, or some other popular option such as iStock Photo or Adobe.
Then, create an account as a photographer and input your credit card & personal details etc.
2. Next, start taking photos!
It’s important to keep in mind that the photos you’re using will be used by businesses to boost their sales & success, thus you should take photos that are likely to be helpful for these types of customers.
Your photos should be:
- As high quality as you can afford. iPhone’s cameras are good enough if you’re just starting out, however if you hope to make serious money further down the line through photography then you’ll need to invest in a better camera.
- Clear. Your photos need to be a clear digital representation of whatever it is you’re photographing.
- Useful - ensure that your photographs can actually be used for business purposes rather than some obscure, purposeless image that isn’t going to help anybody.
3. Event Photography
The next method of earning as a photographer is by being paid to take photographs at events.
This type of photographer can typically be found at weddings and parties, and these are probably your best bet when it comes to events photography.
Be sure to follow these pointers in order to succeed as a wedding/events 4photographer:
4. Don’t work for free!
It doesn’t matter who you’re working for - the CEO of a company, the president of the United States or some guy from the pub.
Be sure to find a price that is best suited to the two of you - a price that matches your chosen rate and is not any lower.
This kind of photography is significantly more difficult and time-consuming than creating stock imager - you’re going to need to stick around for large amounts of time and devote whole afternoons/evenings to your work.
But, if you have the time, events photography is a well-paid, minimal-requirements field of work that practically anyone can enter with no qualifications.
5. Find a professional.
If you have literally zero experience in the field of events photography, the chances are you’re not at all prepared to enter the field.
There is plenty to learn and the best way to do so is by finding a local, professional photographer that can teach you a few tricks before you land any gigs.
Even if this is just a friend/acquaintance, shadowing a pro-photographer doesn’t need to cost you anything and can save you a tonne of money as you won’t need to pay the tuition fees that a course demands, nor will you need to pay an expert to teach you.
By all means, you can do this - however I wouldn’t recommend it if there are free options at your fingertips.
6. Hire equipment.
If you’re a newbie photographer then you probably don’t have any of the professional camera gear you’d need if you were to actually make any money in this field.
Nobody is going to pay you good money to take rookie shots on an iPod camera at their wedding.
Search around for trustworthy equipment hire businesses.
When you have a gig coming up, hire an appropriate camera for the occasion. A hundred pounds or so should get you everything you need for a weekend/5 days.
Nikon and Canon are your best bet, however I’d recommend conducting a more detailed search to find out which specific cameras will be best for your line of work.
Be sure to choose equipment that costs less to hire than you’re being paid for the gig, otherwise you won’t be making any profits and simply paying to be able to take photographs.
7. Be a good communicator.
Make sure to be easy to contact and keep in touch with the planners of the wedding you decide to work at.
You need to find out exactly how they’d like the shots to look, what they’re expecting of you as a photographer and which people they want featured in their wedding album.
The stronger the relationship you form with clients, the more likely they are not only to offer you work in future but to recommend you to other people in need of a photographer.
Events photography is not at all limited to weddings and can be utilised in a number of social areas - following this line of work could even lead you into full-time photography jobs such as working in bars & clubs.
Despite what universities may tell you, a photography degree is by no means essential to your success as a cameraman - if anything, it’s a waste of money.
The skills you’d pick up as a student are skills that professional photographers will teach you for free, or skills that you could simply learn yourself.
Photography is an extremely profitable and easily accessible field of work that I’d recommend to anybody looking for a freelance career that pays well & suits your schedule.