Have you ever wanted to monetize your photography? You’re not alone!
Everyone has their own ambitions when it comes to photography. Some enjoy it as a hobby while others try their luck as full-time professionals. However, regardless of the ambitions, I’m pretty sure that most of us wouldn’t mind making some extra cash from our photography, at least enough to pay for some new equipment and travels.
While it’s not easy to make a full-time living from photography there are several methods for monetizing your passion.
Let me just say this right away: if you’re considering quitting your job to become a full-time photographer, be sure that photography is your ultimate passion and that you’re willing to put all your energy into it.
Here are 7 ways to make money on photography today:
Want to learn more about each of these tips? Continue reading!
1. Stock Photography
The demand for quality images is constantly increasing. Websites need beautiful images for their articles, graphic designers need specific images for their design, authors need book covers, and the list goes on.a
Even though the competition is high on most stock photography platforms, there’s a good potential for earning some extra cash through websites such as Shutterstock or Dreamstime.
If you already have a large collection of images laying on your hard drive, why not upload them to one of these sites?
How much you get paid for a sale depends but it can vary from a few cents to a few dollars. In other words, the rate per sale is rather low so it’s important to upload a large selection of images. The more images uploaded, the higher the chance for earning some extra cash.
Uploading images in bulk can be time-consuming as you need to add titles, descriptions and keywords to every image. However, once an image is uploaded you don’t need to spend more time on it and as long as it remains uploaded, there’s a possibility that someone purchases it.
There’s a demand for all types of photography so don’t restrict yourself to only your best quality landscape images. Upload images of flowers, skies, landscapes, buildings, towns, people (remember to have a signed model release) or basically anything else. If you’ve got thousands of images uploaded, there’s a good chance you can earn a decent amount of money.
2. Attend Fairs
While this isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds, having a stand at a farmers market or a fair can be a great method to monetize your photography. Often, being accepted to such a stand might require your images to be of a certain standard but it can be worth checking out if you live in an area where fairs or such events are common.
Keep in mind that having a stand at a fair or farmer market is a large investment. You should have a good selection of printed images in various sizes and material plus a bunch of smaller images. Also, you’ll have to pay for the spot and also the tent or setup you choose to use.
It’s hard to predict how much you sell as it often depends on the kind of people who visit the fair you’re at. If there are other artists selling their work you could ask them kindly if they could give you an idea of how many sales to expect.
3. Make a coffee table book
Do you have a solid portfolio you wish to display? Perhaps you’ve got a good collection of images from your town or a specific location? If so, you should put together a coffee table book!
Don’t worry if you’re a horrible writer; when displaying your images in a book there’s not necessarily a need for any words! While it certainly could be beneficial to write a few words about your work or the specific image, it’s not required.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to be a designer to create your own book. Creating a beautiful book is surprisingly easy using a platform such as Blurb (which also is integrated with Adobe Lightroom and found under the Book tab).
So, what do you do when you’ve printed a handful of books? Sell them!
If it only was that easy, right? There are many ways to sell a coffee table book but a good start is to visit your local coffee shop, tourist office, or perhaps a local shop or gallery. Keep in mind that local cafeterias and shops will most likely prefer a book that displays images from the nearby region.
You could also reach out to your online following, friends, and family and let them know about your new book. If they already enjoy your work, perhaps they would like to own a signed copy of your book.
4. Sell an eBook
Do you have something on your heart? Are you often asked questions related to your photography? If you’re a talented photographer and you have a lot of knowledge on your subject of photography, writing an eBook can be a good way to monetize your photography.
It should be said that creating an eBook can be rather time-consuming (from writing the content to designing the pages and selling it online). Still, an evergreen (content that is still important in two years) eBook can generate sales for many years and it can end up being a good source of income if you promote it well.
Before you begin writing an eBook, make sure that you’ve done some research on what type of content sells. Spending months working on an eBook that nobody wants to buy will be a great waste of time. What are other photographers writing about? What questions are people asking? Do you have knowledge on those topics?
It shouldn’t be necessary to say this but be sure to make the eBook as informative and professional as possible. If you don’t know anything about Adobe InDesign or other Softwares to design books, consider outsourcing that part of the production. It’s better to have a well-done book that leaves a good impression as that increases the likelihood of someone purchasing your next books as well.
5. Sell prints
I realize I might be shot for saying this but give me a moment to go a little more in depth.
Selling your images is probably the most desired method of monetizing your photography. It’s always a great honor when somebody purchases one to hang on their wall or give as a gift to someone they care about.
Even though this is the typical method to monetize your photography it’s far from the easiest. Selling prints is something even the most talented photographers can struggle with.
What makes selling prints different from many of the other methods is that it doesn’t require a huge effort from you, besides capturing the image of course. Sure, this depends on how much effort you put into marketing but the process of printing doesn’t demand too much time.
Still, the million dollar question is: How can I sell my images?
In all honesty, there are countless ways to sell your images. Be creative and look for opportunities. Yes, I know you want some examples so let’s look at a few:
- Contact local cafes – Many cafes and restaurants showcase the work of local artists. Make a book showcasing your portfolio and show it to them. Often, they offer to showcase your work in exchange for a commission when someone purchases it from them.
- Contact companies – Companies often have some sort of art in their office so why not let it be yours?
- Promote online – Take advantage of your social media accounts and promote your images. Let your followers know that you sell them.
In short, there are many ways to sell your images and it’s often our own creativity that is the limit. A good way of finding potential clients is to ask yourself two simple questions: Who has a need for images? and How do I promote my art to them?
6. Promote Companies Through Social Media
During the last several years, companies have begun to see great value in teaming up with influencers in their niche. If you have a strong online following, you might be a good candidate dor promoting a company’s products.
In particular, Instagram has become a great place to promote your photography. When you see your online following start to increase, you’ll soon start to see a larger interest from companies wanting to work with you as well.
I do suggest that you consider which companies you choose to work with, though, as I believe working with just anyone who contacts you might have a negative impact amongst your followers. Try to work mainly with companies that are related to photography and that you genuinely like.
There are several ways of getting in contact with companies that you can promote but a popular method is to sign up on platforms such as BrandNewIO. Many large companies only work with influencers through such platforms. While you’ll most likely not drown in requests through these pages, you can expect to get an offer or two every now and then.
The downside of working with companies through other platforms is the lack of relationships established. By contacting the companies directly and offering your services, you’re able to establish relationships that can be beneficial.
7. Write a Blog
Having a blog might be the most important factor in making money from your photography (besides having good images). The reason I believe it’s important to have a blog is because you’re able to show who you are and what you do – something both companies and potential followers appreciate.
Just by having a blog you open many doors. Even if you’re not writing often, it’s a good place to upload and showcase your best images.
Still, there are certain methods you can earn money directly from your photography website or blog as well.
- Have advertisement – When you’re starting to get some traffic on your website adding one or two advertisements can result in some extra dollars. While you won’t become reach from it (unless you’ve got loads of traffic) it’s a nice method of getting some cash that doesn’t require too much work.
- Write reviews – Are you a gear junkie and your traffic gets some traffic? Then there’s a good possibility that companies are willing to pay you for writing about their products.
- Affiliate sales – This is how we make most our money here at CaptureLandscapes. By promoting products we earn a small commission on each sale that is made. Just be sure that you only promote products you like and ideally have tested!