How do you make money as a photographer? Do you shoot weddings? Sell fine art prints? Apply for press jobs?
Or, even better, do you diversify your revenue streams by thinking outside the box with other ways to make money with your photography knowledge or camera gear?
Photography presents a huge opportunity these days because there are so many different ways to monetize it, regardless of whether it’s your full-time job, your side hustle, or your passion project.
In this post, we’ll look at 13 ways to make more money from your photography in 2023. So, let’s jump in!
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How To Make Money As a Photographer in 2023
If you’re hoping to earn money with photography, you should consider that photoshoots are not the only source of revenue.
For one thing, you can sell your expertise. In other words, you are making money by sharing your knowledge. You can do this by creating online courses. You can also teach at local schools, become a photography tour guide, etc.
Another source of income is your photos. You can sell them as prints or products, turn them into a photo book, sell them on stock websites, etc.
As you can see, there are many ways to make money with photography online and offline. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to choose just one. The more you diversify, the more you can earn. Also, it will be easier to face difficult times on one side of the business if you have others to complement it.
So, let’s see some of these ideas in detail so that you can start growing your revenues right away.
1. Create an Online Course
The world is full of photography lovers who want to perfect their skills. For many, an online course is the best option because it has flexible hours, and they can follow at their own pace.
You can fulfill that need by sharing your photography skills. By selling online courses, you can make more money as well.
It might sound overwhelming at first, but don’t worry! There are tools to simplify the creation and distribution of online courses. One of the most popular is Thinkific.
Thinkific allows you to create your own website without any coding knowledge. You can also develop different plans for your students. It supports live webinars, release certificates, and much more. The platform is easy to use and has great customer support if you need help.
If you want to give Thinkific a try, you can go here to get started and receive a free month. Otherwise, you can check out other platforms like Teachable, Kajabi, or Podia.
Remember that you can offer as many courses as you want. You can do a general photography course to start. Then, offer others more specific to a particular genre or photo editing.
2. Sell your Services as Gigs on Fiverr
Many platforms connect clients with service providers. Fiverr is a unique website that specializes in freelance creative gigs.
Fiverr started off as a place to offer ‘Gigs’ for $5, but now you can charge much more than that by setting up your profile and offering your photography-related services.
Most of the Gigs are remote jobs – for example, creating clipping paths for product photography or batch editing photos, but there are local photography services as well.
Many Fiverr photographers offer to shoot photos with their dog or model. Others sell portrait sessions, wedding photography, photography tours, and so on.
You can create as many Gigs as you want, and slowly get reviews that will push you up in the rankings – the more positive reviews you have, the more your Gigs will be shown when someone searches for a service you’re offering.
You’ll communicate with the client through the platform, and Fiverr also handles payments. If you think you’re experienced enough to charge much higher for a Gig, check out Fiverr Premium. Either way, you can visit this link to start selling and earning money through Gigs.
Other platforms to find freelance jobs as a professional photographer are Thumbtack, Flexjobs, Obeo (for real estate photography), Upwork, and Guru.
3. Sell Stock Photos
Many photographers prefer to sell photos on stock photography websites. There are two ways to make money this way: macrostock and microstock.
Macrostock agencies sell higher price images for exclusive rights. You can earn money from royalties using this type of stock photography site.
Microstock on the other hand means that you sell photos online through royalty-free stock websites. This way, you’ll get paid for every download.
Many stock photography sites work this way. Some of the most famous are Shutterstock, iStock and Depositphotos.
If you’re interested in this, check out our guide for some valuable tips on how to make money with stock photos.
4. Create & Sell NFTs
Maybe you’ve heard about all the buzz about NFTs. Or perhaps, you didn’t think you could make money from it. If so, you’re missing out on a great opportunity!
Check our guide to making money with NFT pictures if you’re not familiar with it or if it all sounds a bit intimidating,
Let me summarise the main characteristic of NFT photography and its earning potential, just to pique your interest.
The appeal to buyers and collectors is that an NFT offers proof of originality and ownership. This means that buying photo prints becomes like buying paintings. People know they are buying a unique piece, which makes it more valuable.
A popular marketplace for ‘minting’ and managing your NFTs and brand assets on the blockchain is Mintnfts – they already feature thousands of creatives who are trying to make money with NFTs.
If you are already selling photo or art prints (or considering doing it), NFTs will make your efforts more profitable.
5. Sell Prints & Photo Books
Many photographers make money by selling prints and photo books. This is usually the case for those who do landscape, wildlife, fine art, and travel photography.
Most platforms support an online store on your own website. This way, you can sell the images from your online portfolio as wall art, framed prints, canvas prints, etc.
One simple way to start selling your photography is by using a service called Shootproof, which is a popular way to showcase and sell your photography both to existing clients and new ones.
Shootproof gives you a print-on-demand service via customisable online galleries, even if you don’t have a website. It’s easy to use and allows you to start selling prints and making money from your photography right away.
You simply upload high-quality photos – this way, they have enough resolution. Then, set up your prices and publish the site. If anyone buys a print, they take care of everything, and you’ll get paid.
On some sites, you decide how much you want to receive for each print, and they add their fee. Other sites charge a percentage of your sales, so you have to add that to the final price you set – see how to price your photography prints.
You do have to take care of your own marketing, for example, sharing your images on social media channels. Otherwise, it’s difficult for people to find your images on the website. This is because there are many other photographers selling their art.
6. Rent Out Your Photography Gear
Another way to make money is to rent out your gear. Many beginners or aspiring photographers don’t have the budget to buy equipment, but often they need gear in order to take photos and build a portfolio.
It’s a chicken and egg situation where they need camera gear in order to make money to earn enough to buy more gear!
Other times, established photographers require gear they don’t already own. For example, a fashion photographer who has a photoshoot on safari and requires a long lens. Or a wedding photographer who needs to use a drone once for a clifftop ceremony,
This type of gear can be very expensive to buy and use just once or twice, so the next best option would be to borrow or rent the item.
On the other hand, you may be a photographer or videographer who owns expensive equipment you don’t use regularly that’s just gathering dust. You don’t want to sell it, but if only there was a way to make money from it.
Since these types of situations happen often, there are websites dedicated to solving this problem. You can list your equipment or even your own studio for others to rent, and earn money as a photographer or creative.
Some of the most popular options are KitSplit, Beazy and ShareGrid but make sure you find one that has an active community where you are located. Otherwise, you can always offer international shipping, but this would obviously increase cost and risk.
7. Host Photography Workshops
One more way to earn good money is by teaching photography. Many photographers organize photography classes online or in their studios, or teach photography on-location shoots.
For example, you can offer beginner courses because you’ll have a larger audience. Yet, you’ll also face a great deal of competition. Sometimes is better to target a smaller audience interested in more advanced skills. Finding the right balance according to your specific market might take some time.
If you do travel photos, you can organize photography trips which are very much on demand. This way, you can also get students worldwide.
It’s not easy to find students on your own. If you’re having trouble, consider offering your services to an institution. For example, local art schools or cultural associations. Here’s a list of the best photography schools to start your research.
8. Get Paid to Show your Photos
Most places where you can get your photos displayed only pay you if you sell something. This applies to physical and digital galleries, but there’s one platform that pays you when someone sees your photo. It’s called ClickaSnap.
I know it sounds ClickaSnap sounds like a scam, but it isn’t… however, it’s also not as magical as it sounds.
It requires more than just taking photos and uploading them. You do need to invest money, time, and effort before you can start making money with it as a photographer.
That said, stock photographers go through the same thing. You can check our ClickaSnap review to understand better how it works and whether you can make money using it. Then, you can decide if it’s something that you want to try in 2023.
9. Build a photography blog
While many people don’t know this, building a photography blog can be an excellent way to make money. First, using relevant keywords will drive potential clients to your website. That’s already an excellent way to promote yourself.
Also, it can be a source of revenue in itself. Actually, you can be a photography blogger and not have a commercial practice. For example, you can make money by doing a sponsored blog post or adding an affiliate link.
One of the most popular website builders for photographers and creatives is Flothemes, which offers hundreds of beautifully-designed templates you can edit. It also offers functionality for client bookings, invoicing and more.
In the same way, you can make money by starting a YouTube channel. There, you can host photography tutorials or do product reviews.
You should consider that making money from a photography blog or channel will take time. You need to offer quality content regularly so that you get a good number of followers, then learn photography SEO and marketing to promote it properly.
10. Sell print-on-demand products
Earlier on in this article on how to make money as a photographer, I mentioned selling prints or a photo book as one viable and popular way.
You can offer your photographs printed on any number of products. Everything from the traditional t-shirt to a unique yoga mat.
Two of the popular platforms for creating on-demand print products from photography include Prodigi and Printify.
Another way to sell products with your photos is by making the actual products yourself. This is more appropriate for photographers who like to get their hands dirty with DIY crafts, so to speak!
If you’d like to have a go at making products featuring your photography by yourself, you can use platforms like Etsy to sell your products or set up stands at local events.
11. Enter photo contests
I remember that the first time I made money with my photos was by winning a photo competition. I wasn’t a professional photographer back then. I just had a beautiful photo that perfectly matched the topic of the competition.
Entering photo contests isn’t of course a way to earn money regularly, but it can still add up. Check out Gurushots, Photocrowd and Viewbug to name just a few,
It doesn’t matter where you are in your photographic career or what type of photography you do. Nowadays, there are photo contests for all levels and topics. The only thing is that you need to have some amazing photos.
When you join photo contests, make sure you carefully read the rules. Some competitions ask for full rights to your photos – in my opinion, those contests are not worth it. Of course, you can decide that on your own, but it’s important that you are aware of what you give as much as what you get.
Some photo contests are free, and others ask for a participation fee. If you’re going to be spending money, make sure that the price is worth it.
12. Monetize your photo editing skills
Photography is not just about capturing images but also post-processing them. If you are good at editing photos, you can use that skill for making money.
For example, you can offer editing services to other photographers on Fiverr or Creative Market. Also, you can sell photography presets on your website or on platforms like Etsy or even over social media.
You’ll find that many famous photographers earn a side income through selling Lightroom presets, especially if their photos have a unique look that others want to replicate.
13. Branch out into other photography genres
It’s essential to have a specialty to be successful as a photographer. You need to be the ‘go-to newborn photography girl’, or the ‘go-to wedding video guy’. Having a niche is a powerful thing – generalists often water-down their potential to market themselves effectively.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your photography business laterally to increase your earnings.
Let’s say that you have a wedding photography business. Well, you don’t necessarily need to stick to shooting only weddings. You can branch out to include other event photography, like birthday parties, portraits, christenings, etc.
As a wedding photographer, you already have the skills and equipment to shoot multiple types of photography. This would also help you to fill your schedule during the week when there aren’t many weddings.
Think about your main photography activity and how you can diversify it. Don’t be afraid to try a new photography genre – squash that imposter syndrome when starting a new job and have some confidence in yourself!
A different way to expand is by partnering with other photographers and work as an agency or a studio. This way, each one of you sticks with one genre but as a team you’re diversifying.
14. Do some writing or reviewing on the side
As a professional photographer, I assume you’re already very knowledgeable about your craft and the equipment you use each day. If you know how to write well, you can earn some side income writing.
Sites like this one pay experienced photographers to do thorough, impartial reviews on the latest photography gear – sometimes you even get to keep it :)
In addition, you can be paid to write articles on photography-related topics that you’re experienced in. If you find writing easy and enjoyable, it can be a fun way to increase your income during the down season.
Many of the top photography websites employ writers, so why not reach out to see if they have any staff vacancies?
What Kind of Photography Makes the Most Money?
Different kinds of photography offer different salary expectancies. However, you should also consider the type of clients you have. For example, it’s not the same to do commercial photography for small businesses as it is to take photos for Apple.
You should also consider your years of experience, your work area, and other factors. You can check out a more in-depth article we published about photographers’ salaries.
In any case, consider this data as it is – an average that will give you a general idea. There’s nothing written in stone.
For example, Annie Leibovitz reported charging an average of $100,000 to $250,000 per day of photoshoot. That’s much more than the average yearly salary of a regular portrait photographer.
Returning to the average photographer, let’s separate freelancing vs. a full-time job. On average, you can make more money as a freelance photographer than with a permanent contract.
This is because you can diversify your income, for example, by using a few tips from this article. On the other hand, having a permanent photography job gives you other benefits, such as stability.
To give you an idea, Glassdoor put together a list of the average salary of freelance photographers based on information from multiple websites. In it, you can see that according to Freelancer, the average is $51,952 per year. Selfemployeed.com reports an average of 49,840 yr, and Self Opportunity shows $49,840 yr.
Ok, this is a good starting point, but it’s still very generic. Let’s see what other kinds of photography you can do to make more money.
- 1st Place: Fashion Photography
According to Salary.com, as of August 2022, a fashion photographer in the US makes an average of $44,773 per year. This is from a range between $39,318 yr and $51,839 yr with a lowest reported income of $34,350 yr and a highest of $58,272 yr.
- 2nd Place: Wedding Photography
Wedding photography makes the second place since – according to Comparably.com, the average income in the US is $40,169 yr. Yet, the salary range is too big. On the lowest end, you’ll find photographers earning $10,163 yr, while on the higher end, they make as much as $202,650 yr.
Shotkit conducted a survey amongst its readers to know how much wedding photographers cost and make so check it out for a rough idea.
- 3rd Place. Product Photography
Comparably.com reports an average salary of $33,308 yr for a product photographer in the US. In this case, the salary range is much higher than it is for fashion photographers. The lowest income is reported as $10,086 yr while the highest is $167,015 yr.
What photography makes the most money outside the US?
Most of the available data is for US photographers. Yet, the salaries can be very different in other countries. Here are some numbers I found so you can get a broader idea.
- Fashion photographer in the UK: £23,250 yr.
- Wedding photographer in the UK: £35,000 – £55,000 yr.
- Commercial photographer in the UK: $47,053 yr.
- Wedding photographer in Canada: Can$46,800 yr.
- Portrait photographer in Canada: Can$43,349 yr.
- Product photographer in Canada: Can$45,192 yr.
- Fashion photographer in Australia: AU$52381 yr.
- Wedding photographer in Australia: AU$50,000 – AU$60,000 yr.
- Commercial photographer in Australia: AU$61,700 yr.
Photographer in Italy: € 44,587 yr.
Photographer in South Africa: R 162,000 yr.
Photographer in the Philippines: PHP 374,363 yr.
How to calculate your photography rates
As I mentioned before, the average income is just a reference point. Prices can be very different in different areas of the same country. They also depend on the type of clients that you have. Most importantly, your fee needs to match your expertise and portfolio.
So, the ideal way to know how much you’ll earn is by doing your own calculations. The simplest way to do this is by adding up all your expenses.
Then, assign yourself a salary. In other words, figure out how much you want to keep after you’ve paid all your expenses.
Now, divide that number by the number of sessions you can do. For example, a wedding photographer has two or three a week during the high season. Yet, there will be periods when there aren’t many weddings. Consider the fluctuation in your market too.
The resulting number will be the ideal price for your services. Now that you know how much you can make with your photoshoots check how else you can earn from your photography. You can put in place one or more of the strategies shared in this article.
How To Make Money As a Photographer – FAQs
What type of photographer earns the most money?
Advertising photography is one of the highest-paying jobs. Of course, it depends on the clients that you have. It’s not the same doing advertising photos for a local artisan as it is for Coca-Cola. Other high-earning branches are fashion photography and wedding photography.
How do I turn my photography into a business?
Once your skills reach a high level, you can turn your passion into your job. To become a professional photographer, you need a strong business plan, build a brand, and a good marketing strategy. Keep in mind that it takes time to gain enough clients to make a living out of your photography.
How can a beginner photographer make money?
A good way to start earning money is by selling your work as stock photographs and selling prints. This way, you don’t need to convince a client to trust you – the client is already seeing your work. Then, advertise locally and start with small clients. Don’t try to land the big brands or the most desired clients from day one.
As you can see, it’s quite possible to make money with photography.
Of course, increasing your revenue often involves spending money, but nevertheless, we hope these tips will help you to find a good combination of sources to make a good living.
What about you? What other ways to earn money as a photographer do you know?
What do you recommend to beginner photographers? Have you ever struggled with your photography business?
Share your advice and experiences with us in the comments section.