5 Ways to Make Money as a Photographer
Projects that Pay for Amateur & Professional Photographers
A great photographer needs to have both technical skill and a creative eye, and a financially successful one also needs good business sense.
But all pro photographers started somewhere, and even newbies can make money at this job. Whether you’re looking to go full-time or need to earn a little extra cash on the side, here are a few ideas for how you can earn money at photography.
This is a broad category that covers festivals, sports matches, corporate events, nonprofit events, private parties, and many other types of events. Many photographers love it because it’s varied, and it can also get you into some unique venues — those two combined together can create many special photos for your portfolio. In addition, you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get your foot in the door. A great camera with an external flash unit as well as telephoto and wide angle lenses should be enough to get you started. Work your contacts both personal and professional by offering a substantial discount in exchange for a testimonial that you can use to market your services. At the beginning of the year, reach out to local nonprofits and charities that you support and offer to photograph their event(s) as your yearly gift in lieu of a financial gift. This can help build your portfolio and your business.
Weddings are technically events—but wedding photography is a specialized niche on its own. It involves more posed and semi-posed moments than most event photography. Many wedding photographers are expected to craft a story in images while taking candid and journalistic photos. If you are new to this style of photography, see if you can shadow a more established photographer as an assistant. For new and experienced photographers, there are a number of sites that allow couples to “bid” for your services. This can be an excellent way to grow your business.
Industrial and Product Photography
Industrial photography involves taking pictures of industrial spaces or equipment for catalogs, newsletters, and company publications. Product photography involves pictures of products for sale, in print catalogs or increasingly online. Both are specialized niches. In industrial photography, the challenge lies in framing a large object or space well; it’s not always easy. A lot goes into product photography as well, including staging in-context shots as well as high-contrast photos in front of a white backdrop.
Cosplayers spend a lot of time and money on their costumes, and they want beautiful pictures of them. Often, they fall back on their camera phones. A great cosplay photographer should be well versed in portrait photography and understand how to put the subject at ease, and coach a model to pose in ways that are flattering and show off the costume. Why not attend one of the many gatherings around the country that attracts a large number of cosplayers. If your budget allows, consider setting up a mini studio in a guestroom of the event’s official hotel and offer free or low cost portraits. If you have a limited budget, walk the convention floor and offer cosplayers a portrait sitting with the first image free of charge. Offer to take a candid shot on the spot and email or text it to them. With their permission, capturing their information will permit you to follow up with each to book a future portrait sitting. Additionally, post the portraits to your social media and share it with the subject(s).
Family and Baby Photography
This is another specialty in and of itself. Photographing children is especially challenging, because kids are unpredictable—and when you’re working with a family, you might get children from several different age ranges. A great photographer can get everyone in the family in a happy, relaxed mood and draw out great photos—without making it look too posed. These types of shoots can be done outside or they can be taken in a professional studio. The art of distraction can be your go-to strategy when photographing young children. It is a good idea to have a few kid friendly toys and snacks on hand and be mindful when booking the client that you work around the child’s nap schedule.
Why Photograph in a Bay Area Studio?
If you’re looking to take your photography to the next level, look to Meets the Eye Studios. We offer one of the largest and best-equipped facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area, complete with two air-conditioned soundstages, a pre-lit green screen and white wall, and a range of settings for shooting—including a cafe space, large commercial-quality kitchen, plenty of free parking, offices and conference rooms. We provide the ideal setting and all the equipment you need for portraiture and commercial photography of all kinds. Check out our capabilities and get in touch to schedule a free studio tour today.
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