Making Money With Photography

First off, let me just say that I am not here to write about how to get-rich-quick with your photography. That’s not going to happen in any way, shape, or form. Making money (or even a living) with photography takes time, a lot of time. Below are a couple of ways that you can start to bring in some cash with your images.

  • Microstock – Probably one of the least complicated ways of selling your images is through a microstock website like iStockPhoto. If you have excellent commercial images that you can sell, a site like this is the place to do it. They have a large customer base and all the marketing is done for you. All that is required of you is to have (or shoot) the commercial images, upload and keyword them, and wait for someone to buy your images. You receive compensation each and every time one of your images is downloaded. Now you can’t just upload any old image, there is usually an approval process and limitations on what kind of content you can provide. iStock for example, doesn’t want or need images of flowers, flags, your dog, etc. They have TONS of them I’m sure.
  • Flickr or Zooomr – There seems to be quite a buzz in the photography industry about people selling images online through websites like Flickr and Zooomr. Now, this method takes a little more leg work but it may pay off after some time. Publishers, designers, etc. seem to be cruising these two sites looking for images that they can use in their publications. I’m not for certain, but my best educated guess would be that they can get the images cheaper directly from the photographer instead of a microstock site. Photographers upload their images and tag them as being available for sale and then begin to market themselves. You can do this by commenting on other blogs, visiting other member’s groups, participating in forums, and so on. Using this method, there are no restrictions on what images you can upload and there are no approvals. You just have to find something that meets the client’s needs.
  • Weddings & Portraits – A more traditional method, these can be great avenues to part or full time income. You can start by shooting weddings and portraits for friends. If you work is good, they will help you spread the word and get your name out there. Weddings are great because if you market yourself and the products and services you provide well, you can make great money. The only catch is, get used to working weekends. Weddings are very seldom on a weekday. So if you have a 9 to 5 job Monday through Friday, you won’t have a lot of time to yourself or your family. Portraits are easier because they don’t take up as much time and you can be very flexible as to when you shoot them. I recently shot a family portrait and newborn portraits for a family and I was there all of about 35 minutes from arrival to departure. That’s not to say that all clients will have you in and out in that amount of time. Some might be more picky and want you to shoot for an hour or two. In business, that translates into charging more for the session. 🙂

So there’s a couple of ways for you to make some cold, hard cash with your photography. A really good resource (that I refer to often) is photopreneur. It’s a great blog with lots of different information on making money as a photographer, what it takes to be a pro, and more. They conduct interviews and have a lot of great information on the subject. Be sure to check them out.

That’s it for this week, I hope everyone has a great weekend as we get ready to wrap up 2007 and head into 2008. See you next week!


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