9 Ways to Make Money With Your Photography in 2021

Print by Felipe Jimenez available here

Prints

Selling Photography prints is both exciting and rewarding. It is one of the many ways you can monetize your photography and actually start getting paid for all the beautiful pictures you have sitting around not making you money. Selling prints is also a good way to get your name out there in your community and start to get recognized and respected as a photographer.

An easy way to start selling prints as quickly as possible is by uploading your images to print on demand websites such as Fine Art America. All you have to do is upload the images you want to sell and Fine Art America takes care of shipping and handling worldwide. The negative of subscribing to these print-on-demand websites is they take a cut of your profits so you won’t make as much money as you would if you were selling the prints directly yourself. Fine Art America is the most popular of the bunch but other print-on-demand websites include Society6, CafePress, Art Web, RedBubble. Sellfy and Zazzle

You can also choose to sell prints yourself, this starts with a website. You need a website to showcase and advertise your work to the public. By choosing to sell, handle and ship the prints directly yourself you choose to take on more work but in turn, you will make more profits and have more control of the process than if you sold your work through one of the websites listed.

Stock Photography

The key to creating a successful revenue stream from stock photography is to constantly upload images. It’s all about volume. The more you build your online stock photography portfolio, the more your images will get downloaded and the more money you make.

The pictures that sell as stock photography the most are pictures of people(kids, adults, and everyone in-between of all cultures.), people working, food, cities(cityscapes, buildings, people commuting), tools, nature, and travel(pictures from all over the world are in high demand.)

The best websites to sell your stock photography are:

Your own website — you set your own prices and get 100% of the royalties

Adobe Stock — They give a higher percentage of the profits than other stock websites

Shutterstock — Shutterstock gives you 20–30% of the profits and doesn’t require you to sell with them exclusively which is a huge plus. They also have a huge audience and let you keep your copyrights protected which allows you to set the rights on your photos.

Alamy — Alamy, like Shutterstock, doesn’t have strict rules of exclusivity and pays out its contributors well.

iStock Photos — Stock photos is a great platform because they offer contributors 45% of the profits but they also have a strict exclusivity rule which means that the images you upload to the website can only be sold on iStock and nowhere else.

Photography Coaching

There’s a lot of money to be made online in becoming a photography teacher. The first step in becoming a successful photography coach is understanding that there’s a clear difference between having excellent photography skills great teaching skills. Once you’re honest with yourself and work on your teaching skills (if they need to be worked on) then you can start offering your services without any hesitation.

There are many platforms that you can offer your services; websites for freelancers like UpWork and Fiverr are great places to start. You can do individual photography classes within your community by advertising your class on websites such as Kijiji, Gumtree, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. You can also apply to be a tutor in popular online course platforms like Udemy and Skillshare.

Selling Presets

If you’re really serious about photography then you are familiar with editing software such as Adobe’s Lightroom Classic. With a distinctive and creative editing style, you can sell your presets to other photographers. Presets are extremely valuable for any photographer as it helps speed up the editing process and by selling your presets you can help other photographers achieve a look that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to figure out on their own. Digital products like presets are a great way to build passive income because once you put them up for sale and market them you don’t have to touch them or think about them again.

Freelance Editing

Is photo editing something you actually enjoy doing? Then you’re in the minority when it comes to photographers. Most photographers out there dread the idea of having to edit a ton of pictures from an event they shot that past weekend. It’s extremely time-consuming and can be a very tedious process for most. If you’re skilled with programs such as Lightroom Classic and Photoshop then you can offer Photo retouching services online. Again, Freelance websites such as Fiverr and Upwork are the best place to start to advertise your services. You can also promote your work on your own with ads or on business directory sites.

YouTube

YouTube is a great way to start getting your name out there. You can monetize your channel with Youtube ad-revenue but along with that, you can bring your work a lot of exposure by gaining an audience on the platform. You can monetize that audience in ways that don’t include ad revenue such as including affiliate marketing links on your channel or selling your prints. If you have the time, Youtube is a great way to market your photography as well as monetizing it.

Photography Tours or Workshops around Your City

If you love street photography and love showing your city around to new people for the best photography spots then this side hustle is for you. You can advertise your service to tourists in your city that want to see the best secret photography spots around town or you could set it up as a photoshoot taking people around your city and photographing them in the most iconic spots. You can advertise your services locally with Facebook marketplace, Kijiji, or with ads or even a business directory and you can also put it up on freelance websites such as Upwork and Fiverr.

Photograph of the Toronto skyline by Felipe Jimenez available as a print here

Find Opportunities in Your city

Finding opportunities locally means you have to work for your clients. It means seeing a need for photography and offering value to people through your photography skills.

This is where you get on the phone and contact as many local businesses that are in need of professional photography. Every business runs on marketing and learning how to properly sell yourself within your community is crucial for this hustle.

Maybe you don’t have a lot of experience with the type of photography that people need, that’s ok. Offer them free samples of your work with no commitment and show people what you can do first hand. Follow up and win people over. This is exciting because this is where you can really make money through your own work merit and people’s skills you can bring value to your community as well as to the businesses that you work with and make some money in the process.

Enter photo contests.

Photo contests aren’t a big way to make sure income but if you’re lucky and win you could see a huge cash prize. Some photo contests also give you camera equipment as a prize and also a chance to have your work in a famous gallery or exhibition.

Whatever the prize is, it’s worth a try because your work will likely stay up on the competition’s website. So even if you don’t win, you’re still showcasing your work to a large audience and gaining exposure which is always important.

A good way to find these photo contests is by checking out websites that showcase these competitions such as Photocrowd. You can also try a quick Google search and several competitions will pop up. Try to be specific when you’re looking for competitions. If you’re a landscape photographer, make sure you specify “landscape” in your search.

If you do enter photo contests, I recommend you have your own website, then when you get the exposure from the contest people can potentially purchase more of your work.

Good luck, and remember that to be successful with any side hustle you need to be disciplined in what you do and find opportunities wherever there are any.

About the author: Felipe Jimenez is a landscape, Urban and Portrait photographer based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. You can find more of his work on his website or by following him on Facebook and Instagram.

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Felipe Jimenez

Felipe Jimenez

I’m a freelance photographer and writer striving to live a beautiful life worth capturing and writing about.