Thanks to the advancements of publically-available camera technology in today’s world, you no longer need to have acquired a photography degree or have an enormous portfolio to make a living as a photographer.
As long as you can take good-looking photographs on a mid-high range camera, you can start earning money with a camera in no time.
Probably the most well-known and easily accessible method of earning money with a camera is by taking stock photographs.
Stock photography companies such as Shuttershock have businesses pay expensive annual fees in order to download images from their photo bank. This money is then used to pay you, the photographer, and all other camera-people that supply images to the site.
Each time a person/company downloads your photo, you’ll have money transferred directly to your bank for supplying it.
Photos may earn anywhere from £0.01 to £0.50 and more.
This may sound pitiful, however consider this: a popular stock image gets downloaded, perhaps, 100-200 times per week minimum.
Once uploaded, photos can remain on stock sites for as long as their owner wishes and they rarely depreciate in value.
Thus, uploading an image worth £0.50 per download and attracting 200 weekly downloads will earn you 100 pound each week simply for taking and uploading a photo. It’s that simple.
Making Money With Stock Photography
To begin making money with stock photography, head over to the stock photo-bank of your choice – Shuttershock, iStock Photo and Adobe being the most popular options.
Then, simply create your account and punch in your details.
Next, start taking photos, upload them and you’re good to go!
The photos you’ll be supplying to these sites are going to be used by professional businesses for marketing purposes, therefore you should aim to take photos that’ll be useful to these sorts of corporations.
How To Take Photos That Actually Sell
Here are a few pointers for taking photos that sell:
- Ensure that your photos are of the highest quality you can afford. Don’t fork out thousands of pounds on a 4K camera before you’ve even had your first download.
- You don’t need a top of the range camera when you’re first starting out, just a HD camera that does the job and produces high-quality images. Seriously, even an iPhone camera will do you just fine to begin with so long as you use it properly.
- All of your photos should be clear, not just meaning high-quality but they should clearly represent whatever it is you’re taking a photo of.
- By this we mean that, if you’re taking a photo of a run-down building (for example), avoid having the building far in the background and difficult to see.
- If your photo has a primary focus, ensure that it represents this focus very clearly and isn’t cluttered with other unnecessary objects.
Another incredibly popular method of earning (especially among teens) is events photography.
As the title suggests, this line of work involves attending events for which people require a photographer (most commonly weddings, but also events such as live music gigs, parties and fundraising) and taking paid photographs.
Events photography can be very profitable and easy to get into.
Here are some tips for getting started…
Learn From A Professional
Hang in there.
We don’t just mean spend a load of money being tutored by a professional or on attaining a university degree.
No, what we’re saying is that you should find a local photographer with a decent amount of experiences that’ll gladly let you shadow their work.
In tagging along with professional photographers you can gain invaluable experience in your field, as well as forming a lot of contacts along the way that may contact you for future work should your mentor be busy.
Even if this photographer is just a friend or somebody you know, shadowing a professional photographer can cost absolutely nothing and save an awful lot of money that you’d otherwise need to spend on tuition fees.
Hiring Professional Equipment
A big mistake a lot of newbie photographers make is forking out thousands of pounds on top-quality equipment, leaving an enormous hole in their pockets which, contrary to their expectations, isn’t refilled by hundreds of subsequent gigs.
Rather than spending your savings on your own photography gear, you can instead hire the equipment and simply return it once your finished.
Of course, if you’re renting gear every single day then you’ll be losing out on a lot of profit after a couple of weeks.
However, if you only have a couple of gigs a week you can easily hire equipment for the weekend, make back more money than you spent on it and then return it, earning yourself a decent profit.
Spending just a hundred pounds or so will get you all you need for the weekend and I’d recommend sticking to the big brands such as Nikon and Canon – they’re big for a reason.
Make sure that the equipment you chose to hire always costs less than you’re being paid for the gig to avoid losing out on profits.
Avoid Free Work
Seriously, no matter how much experience you think you need you shouldn’t have to work for free.
People will always expect to have to pay for a photographer and it’ll be no surprise to them when you ask for your payment at the end of the night.
Don’t sell yourself short – your time is incredibly valuable and would be rewarded in any other job, so why not this one?
Of course, your beginner rates will more than likely be much less than you charge once you’re more experienced, however you should always ask for payment along your journey from newbie to pro-photographer.
Events photography is much more time-consuming and difficult to grasp when compared with stock photographer and you should absolutely be paid for all work you complete – photography degree or not!
Communication Is Key
I can’t stress this point enough – communication is the crux of any successful business endeavour.
You should always be easy to reach and contact as if potential clients can’t get hold of you then they’ll simply find somebody else.
Ditching that phone call, ignoring that email or leaving a Facebook enquiry read but unanswered is a rookie error in the field of photography.
People want answers.
People want to know if you can work for them and if they can’t find out quickly then they won’t stick around.
You need to find out exactly what clients want from you once you’ve landed a gig – how they want the shots to look, their expectations and who they’d like in the photos.
The stronger the relationship you establish with clients, the more likely they’ll be to contact you in future and recommend you to their friends.
Communication really is key.
How To Make Money With Drone Photography
Perhaps a more esoteric line of photography work, drones can also be used to earn you money.
A drone, simply put, is a remote-controlled piece of technology that flies by way of four motor-driven propellers.
Underneath these propellers is a camera, allowing the drone’s operator, you, to fly the machine around and record video footage of the world from up above.
Drones can be an incredibly easy way to earn money taking photographs of object/machines/systems/buildings that would normally be too difficult for on-foot photographers to reach.
Rather than paying lots of money hiring expensive equipment, companies will pay drone photographers to fly their propel-operated cameras into the air to take photos for them.
Here are some ways to earn as a drone photographer:
Try to begin forming links with companies that work in energy, more specifically companies that use boiler to produce electricity.
Often these boilers will break, causing problems that would typically require a team of engineers to venture inside of the boiler and try to figure out what’s wrong.
This creates a number of costs for the company – the largest being insuring workers, to crawl inside a pitch-black boiler full of hazards.
These sorts of expenses can costs thousands each day.
You, however, can simply fly your drone right inside of the boiler, take some pictures, film a couple of videos and fly it right back out.
Charging just £1,000 a day would save companies a tonne of money, thus it becomes clear that there is a lot of money to be made by helping companies identify energy-production issues.
Due to their size, it can be incredibly difficult for owners of wind-turbines to get up to the top and identify any problems with their functionality.
It can also be incredibly expensive to hire the equipment needed to send a bunch of workers up there, pay their wages and cover any insurance costs needed.
Your little drone, however, can simply straight up to the top of a wind-turbine.
Taking a few snaps of the boxes at the top can save businesses thousands, subsequently opening doors for you to make thousands.