Photography is not the easiest way to make money, but it can help you to pull a few bucks to the side. If you've started taking photos that you think might do the trick (either with your iPhone or a dedicated camera) there are some ways to get started and sell them online – though you probably shouldn't quit your job yet .
Sell your photos in magazines, newspapers and websites
For an amateur with nothing but a smartphone and a good eye for photography, the easiest way to make money off your photos is to sell them directly in magazines, newspapers and websites. These versions are always on the market for images, especially for something that is worth talking about, such as a car crash or protest coming out of nowhere. Don't understand it though – it's easier said, but still difficult.
Magazines and newspapers often need photos for a particular thing, and if you have them, they may be ready to buy them from you. I was at the Rugby Mixed Competition World Cup in Spain in 2017 and I took the photo above. Two newspapers in Ireland bought it because they featured the Irish team (and it's a big shot).
If you're the only one capturing a good photo of something worthwhile, you can make some money – though you need to figure out who to send it to. If it's something that is straight news, go with the news editor or the news line. Make sure you say you want to license the image to them, not that you submit it for publication or that you may not receive payment. It's also a good idea to reach the author you think will be most interested in you. If they like it, even if they are not the right person, they will know who they are. With the photo above, I reached out to the sports editors, but ended up passing it on to another author who had placed it on the main piece of paper.
Similarly, some magazines receive spam submissions and may refer to their submission guidelines in detail online. Check out the Backcountry & # 39; s, for example. The ski and snowboard magazine pays $ 35 for a small spot photo and $ 400 for a cover. It's a decent price for something you already do as a hobby, but it certainly won't pay off your mortgage.
Shoot stock photos
If you don't want to do the leg work required to upgrade the versions, you can sell your photos through online photo shopping. This is where many posts go to buy photos when they need pictures to fit an article like this.
Large photographic sites (such as Getty Images, Shutterstock, and Alamy) have very strict image quality guidelines – photos that are not user-friendly or unable to crop. But both Getty and Shutterstock will receive smartphone photos as long as they meet their standards. Alamy has a separate service called Stockimo that allows users to upload photos from iPhone photos taken directly from their phones. Unfortunately, there is no Android version yet.
Keep in mind that stock photography is a numbers game. Each service boasts about how many images it has – the bigger the service, the greater the competition for your photos. And even if someone empties one of your pictures, your commission will only be between 10 and 50 percent of the fee. Successful mission photographers upload thousands of images, so if you're interested in following this path, you should definitely adhere to the max: "The more, the better."
Working with clients
Many years in photography, money is not so much about how well you shoot, but what you shoot. Once you've reached the level where you can create decent, technically capable work, you can start working directly with clients who will tell you what they need and what the images want to convey (though not always clearly).
At the top level, you've looked for advertising photographers like Erik Almås, who charges hundreds of thousands of dollars per image. If you are reading this article, chances are you are not at this level yet, but the market is great and there are many other opportunities down the ladder.
Instagram influencers are some of the best examples of successful, customer-focused photographers – they get paid to take photos that promote a particular brand or product. If you develop a reputation in a particular niche, there is a good chance that marketers looking for it will want to work with you.
I've done some simple client tasks – things like taking snapshots of a menu, taking headshots of someone's website, and taking photos of one's online dating profile. It's not a glamorous job, but because photos serve a purpose more than look beautiful, it's much easier to charge money for your work.
The difficult part of a client's job can be, well, people who are looking for money to take photos are difficult. If your downloads are really good, your friends, acquaintances, and business may be coming to you. Otherwise, you will need to start doing serious work to create a portfolio and market yourself. Think of ways you can promote yourself to potential customers, whether it be online ads, cold corners or personal presentations, and do so.
At some point someone will ask you to shoot a wedding. If you have no experience photographing any kind of event, do not. While event photography may look superficially similar to customer photography, it is not the same at all, and requires a completely different skillet for taking photos as a hobby. At a wedding, you don't have the same level of control over the pictures you take and there are so many ways to go wrong. Every few weeks, the photographer still carries another story of a suing photographer to confuse one another's wedding photos because they have fallen over their heads.
Save the hassle and start small. A good starting point might be taking photos at a low-key event involving someone you know, such as a party at a nightclub or a quiet charity event. Help set realistic expectations by being transparent and telling them you've never done it before but are happy to try it. Documenting this kind of event is pretty easy, technically, and since it's not great, one day in life, there are fewer opportunities to miss a critical photo or otherwise break it.
If you find that you have an advantage to it, you can start working on your photography skills and go from there. There's not a whole lot of creative work you can do here, especially when you get started – you're really just there to put the button on top of the camera, which makes it a decent enough way to get an hourly wage if you have a camera.
They sell prints or a photo book
If you're a really charismatic amateur photographer – someone who takes photos that people (other than your mom) want to print prints is one of the best ways to make money. You will need to set up an online store or convince a local gallery to transfer your work, but both can be a weekend getaway.
You will also need to find some way to print your work. I would recommend going with a local, high quality printer that will allow you to work with someone to get your photos ready for their printer and to do quality control afterwards. If you don't want to handle orders yourself, you can use a custom print service like Fine Art America, but you won't have the same quality control.
Just enjoy it
I thought about going full-time as a professional photographer, but for me it's not worth it – I spend a lot more money on photography than I would sell prints of my work and wedding photography is a no-no. I'm prepared to do. Keeping it as a half-hobby, half-part-of-my-job, I am able to continue to enjoy it. So if you don't really want to make a lot of money if you love photography, you might be better off doing the same.