How Photographers Make Money

You have learned the necessary skills in photography and you have learned How To Start A Photography Business as well. But now you are wondering how photographers make money.

Most photographers are passionate and they have a desire to create something unique and creative. Creative passionate people don’t care about money, but still, it’s a necessary consideration.


We have compiled 10 proven ways, how photographers make money and set up their own business;

1. Teach Photography

If you have photography skills and expertise, you can make a lot of money by teaching it to other photographers. But still, a good photographer can’t be a good teacher and vice versa.

Photography teaching is a steady stream of income. There are many people who want to learn photography from professionals and start their own photography business.

Teaching and photography are two separate professions, before doing so, ask yourself if you are fit to do so. You can teach it online as a tutor on online platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, and LinkedIn Learning.

You can teach tips and techniques to young passionate photographers that you have learned from over the years of experience. Additionally, you can conduct photography classes at various levels separately, like for beginners and experts.

But still, there are many people who cannot learn properly from the internet. So, it’s better for you to run an academy in the form of clicks and mortar business. In which you can provide teaching photography services online and in physical form as well.

It is an idea to attend a photography workshop by yourself. You can observe things like what can you add and how it could be improved.

Afterward, you can improve your way of teaching. For example, if you are a landscape photographer, you can hold your sessions on beautiful landscapes. You will need to find these places and might need a permit before conducting a session.

2. Small Business Photography

Businesses nowadays are going online and on websites. All types of businesses you can think of are going online, whether it is a corporate company, restaurant, and others. They need to fill their online platforms with beautiful realistic photos.

There arises an opportunity for a photographer where they can offer their services. You can offer them to take photos of their store, offices, teams, workplace environment and many other things.

You can talk to business owners in your locality, show them your portfolio, and communicate them the benefits. People love to see visuals rather than having explanations. Tell them what you do and how you can help them in attracting more and more customers.

3. Write Photography Blogs

If you have got skills, knowledge, and expertise in the field of photography, you can start writing blogs about it. Bloggers make money through advertisements and sponsored content on their websites.

Research about the topics that are in demand and people are interested to read. Understand specific keywords people are searching that matches your niche, and you will be able to write and create content.

You can create and upload tutorials, share tips and techniques, and can write reviews about photography gears and software.

Photography blogs will help you in generating traffic towards your photography work. In this regard, you can create your own website and start writing your own photography blogs and upload photography work.

You can choose different angles to write your blogs, like;

  • Food photography blogs
  • Travel photography blogs
  • Product photography blogs
  • Fashion photography blogs
  • Tips and techniques regarding photography
  • Art photography blogs and philosophy behind it

You can earn through different ways as a photo blogger;

  • Place advertisements on your website and blogs
  • Write reviews
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Offer paid content updates

4. Enter Photography Contest

Participating in a competition can grant you cash prizes, equipments, and at least it helps you in making new connections. It helps you in gaining exposure, confidence, and clients. It is worth participating at least your work will be published on competition’s website. 

Photographers in the competition have different backgrounds, expertise, and skill level. Luck is also another factor that adds up, and it can make you win a huge prize.

Here are some famous photography contests;

5. Start A Photography Niche Business

As a photographer, it is one of the most obvious ways to make money. Starting your own photography business which focuses on a specific type of photography.

For that purpose, you can follow clicks and mortar business model. You can set up a photography website about your niche. Although you can offer many services, one specific niche will make you earn more money and gain more experience as a photographer.

For example, you can start with pet photography, travel photography, fashion photography, food photography, product photography, wedding photography, and many others. But it is up to you that in how many domains you work on.

Working for a niche makes you more credible and builds your reputation as an expert in your niche. Think for a while, will customers rely more on a niche photographer? Or on the one who is dealing in all types of photography?

Customer prefers niches because they know that they are expert in the field. For example, if a client wants to hire a wedding photographer. Will he hire a photographer who does real estate and product photography or will he hire the specialized one?

Take on a niche and become the best in it.

6. Edit & Retouch Pictures

Capturing photos is just half of the task, the other half of the task is to edit and retouch photos.

These both go hand in hand. Capture photos, and then edit them to create a specific mood or feeling.

For that purpose, you should have a command of photo editing software like Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop. Then you can offer editing services to your own clients and even other photographers’ clients too.

You can charge according to your hours spent, the number of photos, and the type of editing. Additionally, you can charge differently for different types of editing services. You can earn extra money by doing all by from your home, and at any moment in the day.

If you have the necessary skills and expertise in the field of photo editing, you can also teach it to others. Some people have found success in teaching photo editing techniques on different platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, YouTube, and more.

7. Photoshoots For Clients

For professional photoshoot service, it would be ideal to have your own photo studio or rent out one. Many people prefer indoor and many prefer outdoor photo shoots. Even if you don’t have your own studio, still there are great opportunities for you.

People always need someone to capture the perfect moments and memories that are important in their lives regardless of studio. To initiate your services, you need to have your website, social media presence, and family and friends network.

You can offer pet photography, family portraits, real estate photography, headshots, maternity photography, and many more.

8. Sell Your Print or Digital Work

Creative and beautiful photos are pieces of art and people pay to buy them. Beautiful photography is loved by everyone. Nowadays many companies are offering beautiful and high-quality photos at a low price.

Before selling, look for good printing services to make sure that quality is produced after prints.

You can also sell your photos through third parties. They will take care of leg work, order processing, printing, and sending prints. In return, they will provide you with your commissions. 

If you want to sell your photos, there are a few ways through which you can do it;

  • Sell your photos on Etsy
  • Sell your photos in art and crafts fairs
  • Sell your photos on your own website
  • Send printed copies of photos to clients
  • Upload your photos on other sites like ImageKind
  • Sell your photos in local or state photography and art gallery
  • Display your photos in different locations like coffee shops, libraries, restaurants, and many other places

9. Sell Your Photos On Stock Photography Websites

If you have a number of collections of high-quality photos, you can submit them to stock photography websites, a way to earn a passive income. You can become a contributor for websites like iStock, BigStock, Shutterstock, Flicker, and license them with Getty Images.

Stock photography websites collect a number of photos and videos and sell them to businesses, media, and marketing agencies. In return, the photographer earns a commission against every download.

The amount against the download depends upon;

  • the platform
  • type of license
  • other factors

Login to the stock website and read the guidelines, some platforms prohibit copied content. If you are registered, you can start working by uploading photos on it.

You can add famous keywords according to photos which will make it easier for people to find your photography work.

10. Create & Sell Photo Books

Photo books are way superior to that virtual galleries in many ways. A lesser common way to make money through photography is through photo books. Photo books come with a lot of customization. It takes two to three hours to create it.

You can add or eliminate anything. Like you can add texts, frames to photos, and organize the photo collection. Additionally, you can buy a photo book online and customize it according to your own needs.

Photo books are more cost-effective than that photo albums and are ideal to share with clients. You can gift it to your family and friends where all of the memories are stored. Some photographers show their portfolios in the form of photo books.

The Bottom Line

Photography is a passion and an expensive hobby. But your dedication and hard work can turn it into a profitable steady business. Before diving into this, ask yourself what you love about photography and decide your niche with proper research.

How Photographers Make Money FAQ

1. How much money can you make out of photography?

Statistics shared by New York Institute of Photography show the following figures photographers earn on the basis of their experience;

  • Hobbyist:  0 – $100
  • Amateur:  $25 – $75 per hour
  • Student:  $50 – $100 per hour or $25 – $100 per image
  • Semi-Pro:  $50 – $150 per hour or $50 – $125 per image
  • Professional: $75 – $250 per hour or $75 – $250 per image
  • Top Professional: $200 – $500+ per hour or $250 – $1500 per image

2. What type of photographer earns the most money?

After establishing your client base, earnings from wedding photography, commercial photography, and portrait photography is the highest.

3. Are photographers profitable?

Yes, if you put in the effort and hard work. Like other professions, depends upon motivation and willingness to put effort and invest time. Photography is more of a passion job. Decide what specific niche you are going to select. Initially, you may start this as a part-time but it can grow speedily and can turn into your full-time job because it has huge potential of earning and profitability.