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21 Ways To Make Money With Photos (More Than Selling Photos)

Do you want to turn your hobby into a profession and earn money with photos? You can sell your photos online, but there are many more options. Here come all 21!

Make money with photos

In the first part of today's post, I'll tell a story about myself. Then I'll show you 21 different ways to start your own photo business. In the third part, I have a few tips on what to look out for and give recommendations on online marketing.

Table of Contents

Do you really want to turn your hobby into a job?

Many of us dream of ourselves to be able to deal with photography every day. Maybe the job isn't going that well, and maybe you don't find it particularly fulfilling. But before you really start thinking about doing your photography full-time, let me tell you a story.

I started photography as a hobby during my studies. I gradually learned more and more. At some point, photography was incredibly important to me. At the end of my studies, the point came when I said to myself: If you don't do it now, you will never do it. So I tried to make money with my photos.

I took orders, acquired customers and carried out photo shoots. I also took photos within various subject areas such as portraits, which were actually not my area. At times I had to have the employment office top up my money, but I was able to do photography every day.

In the spring of the next year I had a photo assignment for the Thale tourist office. I should take pictures of the Bodetal and the surrounding area. In a contract I agreed to produce 25 “hero shots” that week. That’s a lot for a week, especially when you consider that the weather could thwart your plans. I took photos every sunrise and every sunset. In the end I made the 25 pictures. But after a few days a week there, I realized that I was not happy.

Sunset at Hexentanzplatz - This photo was taken during the week

I've been alone all week. I lived in a 20 euro per night vacation rental. I had to take photos to get the job done. I had to earn my living with what I actually loved.

Forcing you to do something every day to pay your rent can take away the fun of it. For many of us, photography is something beautiful, something that you do when you feel like it - not because you have to.

So think again carefully whether you really want to go this way.


21 ways to make money from photography

In the meantime I am active in online marketing and thus have a support to be able to take photos when I feel like it. Thanks to the internet, there are a multitude of ways to make money from photography today. I have 21 of them collected. In addition, I give you in the gray boxesApproaches, how you can start with the respective path.

Almost any of these avenues are suitable for doing so to earn enough money to be able to make a living from it. Often still more than that. It always depends on how much work you put in. Almost all paths are also suitable, you to start part-time.

Offer commissioned work

A classic way to get into full-time photography is through commissioned work. Someone hires you to take certain photos. Wedding photography, portraits and architectural photography are particularly well-known.

How do you start

A own website definitely makes sense for this. You have to get on with that Customer acquisition walk. This can be done through online or offline marketing. So you can, for example, place ads in newspapers or draw attention to yourself through advertising on Google or Facebook. Of course, recommendations from customers for whom you have already photographed are also very helpful.

Reports for newspapers

With this business model, it is often the case today that the photographer takes photos of himself and then sells the pictures. In the meantime, many newspaper photographers are on their own and offer their pictures to newspapers for sale after the actual photographing. If you are the first on the scene, you have a good chance that the pictures will be bought afterwards.

How do you start

Make contacts to the local newspaper and find out how they could work together. Is there a fixed model? Are more photographers in demand or does the newspaper already have a sufficient number of free photographers?

Stock photography

In stock photography, you also take photos in advance and then offer your pictures for sale. You put pictures for certain topics in stock (“in stock”). On Stock photography platforms can you then your pictures upload and with Keywords Mistake. Interested parties who need images for a specific purpose, for example a magazine or a flyer, can then license your images there. Depending on the size, you will receive between 50 cents and 2 euros for each picture sale. That doesn't sound like much at first, so it depends more on them Lots of good pictures at. A picture can of course be sold multiple times. Practice shows that it is possible to make good money here too. There is an exciting article on this in Robert Kneschke's blog.

How do you start

Register on platforms like iStock or Shutterstock. Take a look at how other successful photographers operate there and what topics they produce images for. What pictures have a lot of downloads? Which Catchwords are used there? Deal with the Quality standards, which are necessary for the stock photos. Then you can start to take stock photos yourself and upload them there.

Open earnings in my Shutterstock account

Photo workshops

When you have some basic knowledge of photography yourself, you can start offering workshops. Surely you think now that you are not ready yet. But think about how intensively you deal with photography. How much time you've already invested in it. What you have learned during this time. This Knowledge can you pass on.

How do you start

Think about what topic you want to cover in your photo workshop. Then worry about how you can do this theme can best teach participants. Which structure should the workshop have? Which documents are necessary? Do you need one Training room? You can rent it in almost every hotel. Around to try out if you are interested in workshops at all, you can offer your first photo workshop for free. At the end, you should have the participants fill out a feedback sheet to improve your workshop. How do people find out about your workshop? You can write about the workshop on a forum like the DSLR Forum and say it's free. That's how I started it.

Teach photography in community college courses

Again, it's about imparting your photo knowledge. With a Course at a community college can you make money. If it suits you, you can too offer several courses.

How do you start

Adjust like a workshop concept for a course on your feet. Of course, this course has to be divided into hours over several weeks. With such a concept, you can Contact to the local adult education centers take up and after Ask as needed. Or you call the adult education center first and ask if there are certain courses that they would like to have in their program. If the courses you want fall within your subject area, you can set up a course for them.

Create video courses

In video courses you present your photo knowledge as a video. Participants can buy such a video course online as a download or offline as a DVD and then watch it at home.

How do you start

Think about how you do that The best way to convey knowledge can. In which Parts should the course be structured? Which practical exercises should the participants do? It is up to you whether you film the course or record it on the computer. After this Video editing you need the necessary documents to the course. When the course itself is finished, it goes into the Marketing. Again, you can choose between online and offline marketing.

Photo workshop in the Harz Mountains

Use affiliate marketing

What is Affiliate Marketing? You write on your website, on your YouTube channel or wherever you are, which camera and lenses you use. From there you link to Amazon, for example. Whenever someone clicks on your link and then also buys there, you get a small one Commission. That's how I do it on my recommendations page. For photo equipment, the Amazon commission is 3%. That's not a lot, but the bigger your channel or website gets, the more it's worth it.

How do you start

You need one Website or one Youtube channel. Then you can register for the Amazon partner program, for example. Now you can set links to Amazon and if there is a sale there is the commission for you.

Affiliate Marketing on my referrals page

Banner advertising on your own website

If you have your own website about your photography, you can too Advertising banners use it to make money. The more visitors the website has, the more rewarding it is of course.

How do you start

Build your website up and then steadily off. You can then log into Google Adsense, for example. There you can generate a code that you can integrate on your website. Now Adsense plays suitable advertisements for the visitors of your website.

Write e-books

Do you like to write Then e-books could be a business model for you that you can earn money with. Again, it will likely be about sharing your photo knowledge. You can write the e-books on your own computer and then, for example via Amazon or through your own website to offer.

How do you start

Again, you have to think about what to write about and how to use your e-book structure want. Which images do you need for this? You may have to Graphics to explain certain topics? When your e-book is ready, you can upload it to Amazon KDP or offer it on your own website via Digistore24.

Enter the art market

The art market is probably one of the more difficult models for making money from your photos. You keep hearing stories about high prices and auctions, for example by Andreas Gursky in photography. Nevertheless, of course, quite a few photographers try to enter the art market and earn very little money with it during their lifetime. But still: it is possible.

How do you start

I think this is the one here Contact to galleries and curators plays a big role. You have to approach exactly these people with your finished portfolio.

Write books and articles

Writing on photographic subjects isn't just for e-books. You can also write your own book. A word of caution in advance: The authors of books often earn only a relatively small share of the selling price. Usually this is more of an ego project so that in the end you can be proud of having written your own book. With several photo books and the right contract for your share, you can also earn money here.

It can be more interesting to write specialist articles for photo journals and magazines. These are needed again and again and do not have the size of a book.

How do you start

You should for yourself try out, whether you like writing such articles. Then you can work with magazines and editors contact. Here you can to ask, whether certain topics are currently in demand or whether there are plans for special editions for special photo areas.

Create presets

If you work a lot in image processing, then you must have a certain routine in it. Maybe you've created presets for Lightroom or actions for Photoshop. A business model can now be comprehensive To offer presets for sale.

With appropriate programming skills, it is also conceivable that you Plugins or stand-alone programs for image processing develop.

How do you start

In addition to the presets themselves, the marketing a crucial role. Presets especially sell if you already a name in the photo world has. You can promote the presets via your website, YouTube or Instagram, among other things.

Get active on YouTube

How can you make money on YouTube? If you have videos there upload and these videos enough views then YouTube pays you money to show ads there.

How do you start

The first thing you have to do is YouTube Channel about your photography build up. You should ongoing Produce interesting videos and thus secure as many subscribers as possible. Over time, you can start monetizing within YouTube.

My YouTube channel could also be better maintained 🙂

Offer travel lectures

If you enjoy traveling, then offering travel lectures afterwards can be a worthwhile business model for you. The basis is that you are yours Photos of the trip as a presentation work up. With that you can then open trip go and give this talk in different places. Of course, marketing also plays a major role here.

How do you start

In addition to the Creation of the actual lecture do you have to Organize events yourself. You have to find rooms for it, get the ticket sales going, and then promote the event itself.

Sell ​​usage rights

Selling usage rights primarily works passively, at least for me. Agencies want to create a flyer or a website, for example. To do this, they then look for pictures on this topic. If they do now become aware of your pictures, then comes one Request for the usage rights of the respective picture.

How do you start

You should spread your pictures on the net as much as possible. Picture communities, photo competitions and your own website are important. Also Search engine optimization plays a role here. On your own website, of course, you have to have a Contact possibility to be present to you.

Become a sponsoring / influencer

If you have a certain reach, it can be interesting for companies to to sponsor you. Then you will receive a sum of money for using their photo equipment and for sharing it with the outside world via your social channels.

Special on Instagram It is common for a company to pay money to have their product featured in the photos. Depending on how many followers you have, this can be a worthwhile business.

How do you start

The most important thing is that you have a name in the photography world. This can happen in a number of different ways. It certainly makes sense to have one to build a good Instagram channel with many followers. Then at some point you can approach companies on your own and ask for cooperation. Usually, however, companies will approach you at some point anyway.

My Instagram profile

 

Open your own (online) shop

Running your own (online) shop can be a bigger project. First and foremost, this is about the Trade in photo products. But it can also be interesting about the shop your own products to offer.

A idea would be, for example, to focus only on filters. Especially in the field of ND filters or gray graduated filters there are still some manufacturers such as Lee or Singh-Ray that are not so easy to get in Germany.

How do you start

Especially with an online shop, you can first of all start small. You don't need an inventory of 1,000 products to take the first steps; 20 is enough. Here's one investment necessary to store a small supply. For your own online shop, website hosters such as All-Inkl offer complete shop installations that you can start with without any major programming knowledge. Again, the decisive factor is again that Marketing.

Rent photo equipment

Another business model is similar to a shop, Photo equipment not to sell, but to to lend. Many people want to try out a camera or lens before they buy it.Borrowing a larger camera for a specific job is also relevant for one or the other photographer.

How do you start

Of course, for a rental you need your own cameras and lenses, in which you have to invest in advance. So to start this model is one larger investment required. In addition to a website, you should also be familiar with Online marketing employ.

Offer image processing as a service

Some photographers have a relatively fixed workflow for their images. So it can make financial sense that post processing not to take photos yourself, but rather to be given to a service provider. This service provider could be you.

How do you start

You can create a profile and offer your skills on platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork or MyLittleJob. Interested parties will find you there and commission you then with the post-processing of their pictures. The more jobs you have done there, the more money you can ask for your services.

Sell ​​your images as prints

This point is of particular interest to the artists among us. You can use your own pictures Exhibitions, yours Website or via appropriate Platforms to sell. If you need more information about prints, you will find what you are looking for in my post about having photos printed.

How do you start

First of all, of course, you need a good portfolio of your work. Then you should look around Exhibitions and Vernissages strive. Also yours own website can with matching marketing contribute to the sale. over Platforms like Saatchiart, you can apply to be added to their portfolio and start selling through it.

Photo prints for clients

Organize conferences & trade fairs

Have you ever been to Photokina? There are various trade fairs and conferences on various photographic topics. When a pronounced organizational talent your strength is, then you can organize such an event yourself.

How do you start

At the beginning you should start your event after a certain theme align. What interesting Speaker Is there ... here? Which Photo maker identify with this topic? In addition to large Premises you probably need one Team, what this task can do with you. You must Sponsors search and your Event corresponding apply.


What makes a successful photographer?

How do you become successful as a photographer? If you have read this far carefully, then you will certainly not have escaped that I received the marketing mentioned very often. I believe that with a successful photographer only about 20% of the skills is photography. With 80% the much more important skills are in marketing. You should have your pictures and yourself market online and offline can. This is the only way to reach enough people to be successful with your photo business.

What makes a successful photographer?

Do I need a business registration?

If you want to earn money with photography with one of the 21 ways, then you should definitely do one Register business. All you need to do is start Ancillary trades which you can apply for for little money.

I registered my trade online with the local trade office 4 years ago in 10 minutes. The cost for this was 25 euros.

My recommendations for online marketing channels

If you want to build your photo business, then you have to decide for yourself what to do with your limited time starting. Since I come from online marketing, I want you recommend some channels of it.

Google My Business

Google My Business is one of the most important factors, especially when it comes to local customers in contract photography. Here you can Achieve a lot with relatively little expenditure of time. For example, customers search Google for “wedding photographer Kassel” and then find the local provider with your phone number. Then the customer often simply picks up the phone to make an appointment.

The Google My Business profile should well maintained be. There can be found in different fields Use search termsthat should be tailored to your own activity. You can also every now and then current pictures Upload to this profile to draw customers' attention to you.

My Google My Business profile

Own website

Having your own website is part of the standard marketing repertoire. Depending on your knowledge and budget, you can have a website Have it created externally or create it yourself.

If you don't already have the knowledge, then you can learn along the way. If you register an address and a hosting service for your website, these hosters often have the option of installing specific software for your website directly. WordPress is ideal here. This system is relatively easy to use and offers enough opportunities to expand your website later.

It may seem like an impossible task to create your own website at first, but it's worth going this way. You learn an incredible number of skills in the processthat will help you professionally later. If you get stuck with something, then just use google to find the solution. Many other people have dealt with the problem in question before you did. You will almost always find help this way.

Blog

A blog takes a little more time. However, it's a great way to keep coming back current work and projects of you to show. With WordPress you can create this blog on your own website and thus further expand your website.

Facebook

Of course, social media marketing is also important. Here I recommend that you set up a Facebook fan page. There are also plenty of them free instructions and guides on the net. Many photographers complain that Google's normal reach has been decreasing for months. That's true, however worth it it yourself, to invest a little money in your own posts on Facebook that are important to you.

For example, if I share a new blog post on Facebook, only about 50 people will see this post without spending money. However, if I advertise the post with 5 euros for my Facebook followers, then I make sure that the people who liked my page also see this post. I then reach around 500 people. I write about 2 new posts per month, so with a total of 10 euros per month these costs are absolutely within reasonable limits.

My Facebook fan page

Instagram

As a photographer, you hardly ever die these days Instagram around. This is about Post new photos regularly, the to use the right hashtags and to be active in the community. There are many different social channels, but to keep the effort manageable, I would only recommend Facebook and Instagram in the end. So you can the biggest effect achieve.

to start

That was definitely a lot of new information for you. If you plan to make money off of your photography, then don't wait for a specific time. You don't need a new video camera or better SLR camera either. In fact, you could almost any business model even implement it completely with your smartphone.

Take one or two of these trails and start with them.

What is your experience of making money with photos? What worked for you and what didn't? Write to me in the comments!

> More photography guides from me