Feature photo: Marvin Meyer, licensed under CC0
Although competition is growing, there are ways to apply your creativity to your business as well as your craft so you can make good money as a photographer. Here are our top five tips for building a professional and sustainable photography business.
1. Photograph people, events, and businesses
Whether it’s capturing a flattering portrait or once-in-a-lifetime occasion, there’s always demand for talented photographers. In the US, for example, wedding photographers command an average of over $3000 per event.
Likewise, offering headshots and group portraits to individuals and groups, from sports teams to corporate colleagues, is a good way to leverage your skills – and benefit from valuable word-of-mouth marketing.
Finally, promote yourself to small businesses and entrepreneurs. In the digital age, images matter more than ever. From a craftsperson selling their wares online to an Airbnb owner looking to perfect their listing, to the website of a local shop, opportunities abound – especially if you can connect with the potential client in person. Remember to make your website SEO friendly to tap into opportunities in your vicinity.
2. Promote yourself with a blog and social media
When it comes to selling yourself as a photographer, the demand is there, but so is the supply. The market is crowded with image creators, so to stand out, make sure you have a strong online presence. In addition to a portfolio highlighting your flair and versatility, a blog is a great way to add a storytelling element to your work or focus on a specific theme. If you can identify a niche that doesn’t get much coverage, you stand more chance of getting noticed and of building that all-important reputation. Plus, once they have the audience, successful bloggers can monetize through advertising and paid partnerships.
Social media also plays a key role for photographers in generating income. A smart social media strategy can boost your visibility and get your work in front of global audiences. Check out our guide about how to promote your work on social media while protecting it from copyright infringement.
3. Share your skills with workshops and tours
We live in an experience economy. More and more people are choosing to spend money on doing something rather than buying something – and in turn, demand for photography tours and workshops is growing.
In the travel sector, photography tours represent a unique way to explore and discover a destination. If you live in a place that attracts tourists, why not hone in on that market? Or sign up to Flytographer and become the personal photographer for visitors on a special trip.
Even if you don’t live in a destination with tourist traffic, it’s still possible to tap into the market for educational workshops in your local area. Bringing together a group of like-minded people with an interest in photography can also help grow your network and enhance word of mouth business.
4. Sell your prints and digital images
It’s easy as pie to set up an online store through which to sell your work, both in digital format and as high-quality prints. Alternatively, or in addition, you might consider working with a stock photography agency, which can help get your work in front of new audiences, expanding your profile and opening new revenue streams. Bear in mind, however, that this often means you sign away control of how your work is used, and can also devalue your work when it comes to licensing images directly. We’ve weighed up the pros and cons here.
5. Protect your work from copyright infringement
Promoting your work effectively involves sharing it online – but with this comes the risk of loss of earnings due to image theft. Pixsy not only monitors the web for unauthorized use of your work they can also recover compensation for you. Signing up to such a service means the value of your work is protected. So you can focus on putting your images out into the world, safe in the knowledge no one is helping themselves for free!