Many photographers are keen to explore ways to make money with their camera. They may not all aspire to be full-time professional photographers, but making money with a camera can at least be used pay for new equipment and perhaps travel to new locations.
Selling photographs is very satisfying, and the rewards aren’t just financial. If people are willing to pay for your pictures, you know you have reached a good standard as a photographer.
Photographing events is one of the main ways to earn money with a camera. Weddings are of course one of the main events where a professional photographer may be required. Wedding photography is a serious profession, and is not suitable for everyone. If you don’t feel you’re at the level to take on weddings, there are plenty of other events where a photographer may be required. Christenings, anniversary parties and formal banquets are good places to start. It’s easy to pick up the first few assignments for this type of event, and if your results please people they will recommend you to others.
Prom and graduation photos are another area where there’s good money to be made. You need to approach this kind of work in a very professional and organised manner, as people will rely on you to deliver. As well as a good quality digital SLR camera, you may need a portable studio background and studio lights.
Photographing people is another of main ways to make money with a camera. Even though most people have a camera capable of producing quality pictures, they don’t have the knowledge or skill to produce good portrait photographs. If you offer your services as a professional portrait photographer there will be no shortage of work. Many people don’t have time to visit a studio and so offering to produce portraits in people’s homes is always popular. Children a very popular subject for this type of work, and you will often get repeat business as they grow up.
Real estate photography is another easy way to start making money. Many real estate photographers will take their own pictures of properties for sale, but there is still a market for this type of service. The area to target is that of more expensive real estate. A skilled photographer can produce far better photographs than the Realtor. Luxury homes are easier to sell if the Realtor has a range of high quality pictures to show to prospective buyers.
Selling photographs to stock photography sites has to be one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to make money with your camera. A good technical standard is demanded, so make sure you produce quality images if they are to be submitted to stock sites. Some subjects sell better than others, but the photographer is free to submit anything he likes. If you are photographing people for stock sites you will need model release forms to cover the legal aspects. Everything from landscape, travel, food and animals are great subjects for submission to stock sites. A regular residual income can be built up if you contribute pictures regularly.
Restoring and copying old photographs is another great way to make money. A scanner can be used to copy photographs, or you can fix your camera to a tripod and photograph them. Image editing software can then be used to adjust contrast and make other technical improvements. Scratches and stains are easy to remove using basic tools in image editing software.
Once you start to make money with your camera on a part-time basis you can start to think about whether it’s something you’d like to do full time. If it does become a business, you need to consider insurance, taxation and other matters. Seek professional advice and stay on top of these things from the start.