How To Make Money With Photography

You take great photos: both you and your friends love them. But what if you could get paid to do what you love? We’ll show you how to make money with photography.

There are plenty of opportunities to turn your photos and photography skills into cash. Plus, a wider audience will get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Read on to discover how to make money with photography.

1. Sell Your Images Via Stock Photography Websites

There is one simple way to make money: sell your images. But how do you do this? There are plenty of options.

Bear in mind you need great photos to start with. It will take time and effort to get there, but once you have a good collection, you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy a passive income.

Stock photography sites provide a go-to place for anyone looking to use royalty-free images. A commission is paid to the photographer each time an image is used. Some genres tend to sell better than others. For example, shots featuring people, activities and seasons tend to be in more demand than sunsets and flowers.

An image of a boy laughing as he plays in water

Here are the most popular stock photography sites to get you started:

  • Shutter stock
  • Fotolia
  • Getty Images
  • Stocksy
  • Alamy
  • Dreamstime
  • Foap app (iPhone or Android): This is an app where brands create challenges to photographers and consumers. Price money starts at $100.
A screenshot of the Foap app - a great way to make money with your photography
The Foap app offers fun missions to earn money and is a great example of how to make money with photography.

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for ‘popular photos’ sections on these sites, so you can see what is in demand. Some sites also have a ‘photos needed’ section too.

2. Enter Photography Competitions

There are plenty of photography competitions to choose from, with prizes running into thousands of dollars.

Some competitions may be genre-specific, or others may be devoted to different themes and genres. There are even competitions specific to your camera manufacturer.

You’ll have to pay to enter some, but there are also plenty of free contests. As well as cash prizes, it will give you the opportunity to have your work seen by many: which could lead to further selling opportunities.

Entries for the various competitions usually close in the first half of the year. Familiarize yourself with some of these top competitions and be ready with your 2020 entry:

  • iPhone Photography Awards if your camera of choice is your iPhone;
  • National Geographic Traveller Photography Awards is the competition for travel photographers;
  • Nikon Small World for microscope photography enthusiasts;
  • Monochrome Awards for black and white photography; and
  • Sony World Photography Awards for all genres.

It’s always good to know what you are up against–thankfully, established competitions will display past winners on their websites.

A man looks at a printed image before an online gallery of images

3. Run Your Own Photography Courses

Photography is a skill that takes years to master. If you have paid your dues, why not share your skills with others for a fee?

Photographic courses come in a variety of forms–in person, online, or via written or video material.

While everyone needs to learn general photographic skills, it’s niche topics that will draw people to you. If you have a talent and have built up a following in a particular genre or style, people will already have a curiosity about how you created those shots.

Run your course direct via your own website or blog, or use a dedicated course platform. A course platform will give you the tools to enable you to share your skills. They’ll also help you reach your customers.

Check out the following platforms:

  • Skillshare: try for free before signing up to the premium plan to run paid courses;
  • Udemy: become an approved instructor to run paid courses;
  • Thinkific: great for building a course from scratch; and
  • Ruzuku: interact with students via webinars.

Try some of the thousands of courses available to help you plan how to share your knowledge.

A photographer teaching camera settings to another person.

4. Sell Images on Online Marketplaces

One of the biggest challenges of how to make money with photography is getting your work seen. Ultimately, the more people that see your work, the more you will sell.

Online selling platforms are a great solution on how to make money with photography. They provide a steady influx of interested customers who are searching for images and products that are similar to yours.

The more well-known the site, the more potential customers you will reach. Popular online market places for photography include:

  1. Etsy is a great place to start and has a customer base ready to buy unique, handmade goods;
  2. Photoshelter lets you build your own online shop using one of their nine website templates. You’ll need to sign up to a subscription plan, but there is an option to try before you buy with a free trial; and
  3. Traditional sites like eBay also work for selling photography work
An image of a person with a cup of coffee looking at a shopping cart logo on a tablet - selling photos online is a great way to make money

5. Organize Photo Tours

We all have our favorite photographic locations: throw in some photography skills and you have the recipe for a photo tour.

If it’s a place you love, you’ll know what time of day and year it is at its best, plus you’ll know the best angles. Hence, this is a great example of how to make money with photography.

Keep groups small so that you can give each participant enough attention. Happy customers spread the word and good reviews should send more your way. Remember it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan. So if access to the location becomes difficult or the weather takes a turn for the worst, you will be prepared.

A stone path over a heath leading to a majestic mountain range

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