There are many ways to make money from your photography. In this guide we’ve compiled every single way we can possibly think of to help you get thinking about how you can make money from your photography.
There’s an eclectic mix of ideas that will suit different types of photographers, and a few alternative options for those who want to go down the less traditional route.
Remember you don’t need to stick to one avenue either! Many photographers bring in multiple incomes through various measures so you can mix it up to some extent however you like!
45 ways to make money from photography
1. Stock photography
Stock photography can be a good way to top up your income. But be warned, big companies like Getty, Adobe Stock, Dreamstime and Shutterstock are not as profitable as they once were due to the large competition. Consider smaller agencies such as Envato and Yay Images or look at James Abbott’s alternative guide to Stock Photography for further tips.
2. Sell your work on online
There are many different online marketplaces where you can sell your work from Ebay, Fine Art America to Etsy. They all attract large audiences and should be considered by any artistic photographer wanting to sell their photographic products. These products could be anything from cards, fine art prints to gift type items such as calendars and mugs.
3. Sell your work from your own platform
If you’re keen on the thought of selling your work online but want to keep 100% of your profits, then you can do it yourself. This can be achieved through most website providers, or if you want something bespoke then you’ll either need the skills or pay someone to build it. Keep in mind though you’ll have a much smaller target audience compared with the likes of Etsy and other online marketplaces, but on the plus, you are in full control.
4. Wedding photographer
If you’re a people person and you enjoy capturing the moment, a career in the wedding industry might just be the perfect job for you. Photographers make good money from this sector as there is a large target audience that is willing to pay significant amounts to record their special day. See our latest wedding photography tips and technique guides if you want to learn more about this genre.
5. Sell your images and stories
If you have a set of inspiring images that tell an interesting story the chances are that a publishing company will be interested in featuring it. As a start there are many different types of magazines out there from Amateur Photographer to magazines like National Geographic that you could try. If you’re unsuccessful pitching to one don’t get disheartened as it is a competitive industry, and you have to keep going. Making sure your pitch is clear will go a long way to getting results. See our guide on how to get involved with AP.
6. Event photographer
There is money to be made from event photography. Routes to go down range from corporate events to black tie dinners. There are two ways to shoot an event – the first is to simply document what is happening, and the second is to set up an area where clients can have formal portraits taken. You may want to offer one or both of these services.
7. Sell your fine art prints
If you are creatively minded and have an artistic approach to the photographic medium, becoming an artist and selling your fine art prints is a great career. There are many outlets where you can sell your work from approaching galleries to retailers in the home decor industry. You could even go one step further and set up your own shop gallery although overheads can be pricey so do the maths first.
NFT stands for non-fungible token and they create a unique digital file. Many collectors are now buying original digital photographic artworks through this online system. You can only buy and sell an NFT using cryptocurrency so before you begin you need to set yourself up. Although be warned, the NFT market can be extremely volatile!
9. Music Photographer
Although many people are willing to shoot gigs and festivals for free (especially if it’s a well-known band), if you are good at what you do, you can get paid for the work. See our guide for more tips on how to shoot a music event.
10. Start a blog
Blogging is a great way to get people to notice you and to see what you do, as well as share you stories as a photographer. Although starting a blog in itself won’t make you money it can lead to many different opportunities so keep going.
11. Lifestyle photographer
There are many ways to make money from lifestyle route to snapping portraits out on location, new-born images to formal family shots in the studio. Develop your own style and offer unique packages that separate you from your competition.
12. Portrait photographer
If you’re keen on shooting portraits but unsure about the lifestyle route, there are other opportunities in the field. Headshots for actors or business owners are a couple of avenues that spring to mind. Read our best Portrait Advice from the Pros for more inspiration.
13. Fashion photographer
From the catwalks of Paris to product shots on retailers’ websites, there are many ways the fashion industry and photographers can work together. See Amanda Thomas’ guide as she shares her top tips with us.
14. Enter photography competitions
What better way to get your name out there than by winning a prestigious photography competition! Ok it’s a long shot but it really can boost your ego and get your name out there if you do get a win or even just some recognition as a runner up. Stuck on where to start? See our list of the best photography competitions to enter.
15. Landscape photographer
From the sprawling seascapes to the rolling hills, landscape photography for many is a hobby but can turn into a career for those who are at the top of their game. If you want to take landscape photography seriously, here’s our guide to the best cameras for landscape photographers.
16. Edit and retouch images
There are some photographers that hate being stuck on the computer or others that have too much work and need help when it comes to editing and retouching images. You can earn money by offering your services to those in need of a good photo editor.
17. Paparazzi photographer
If taking pictures of celebrities looking their best or worse grabs your interest, then a job as a paparazzi photographer could be worth exploring. This job is intrusive though so won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
18. Pet photographer
People love their pets, and they are willing to spend money on them. It’s not an easy genre to shoot and requires much patience plus a few tricks in the bag! See our pet photography guide for more tips.
19. Film set photographer
A film set photographer or unit set still photographer (as they are often referred) takes photographs during filming that can be used to market and publicise the film. What a great job!
20. Commercial photographer
There are many businesses out there that need professional looking images. As a branding photographer you cover many different genres and is the perfect career for anyone who enjoys mixing it up!
21. Write about photography
If you have a way with words, then you can make a living writing about photography. There are many businesses and publishing houses that are looking for talented writers. Articles range in content from conducting interviewing, writing technique guides to compiling definitive lists like this one!
22. Architectural Photographer
From big buildings in the centre of the city, estate agents to holiday lets on Airbnb, there are many opportunities to shoot properties both inside and out. A wide-angle lens is a must if you go down this route! Check out these pro tips for some inspiration.
23. Self publish a book
From Blurb, Amazon KDP to Reedsy there are many established platforms out there that allow you to self-publish and sell your own book. Think about how you can make your book unique and how to present the content, so you stand out above your competition.
24. Self publish an eBook
If publishing a physical book doesn’t spark your interest, how about creating an eBook! Lulu, Tradebit, NOOK Press and Smashwords are all viable options to create and host your eBook.
25. Studio photographer
A studio photographer shoots all sorts of genres from products to portraits. Becoming a studio photographer is a big investment but once you have the kit there is plenty of opportunity to earn a decent living.
26. Assist other photographers
Assisting is an excellent way to learn from those who have been in the industry for a while. You can get assisting jobs on a freelance or permanent employee basis.
27. Press photographer
Press photographers take all sorts of images that cover current news events, including travelling to war torn countries. The latter isn’t an easy job and one that takes courage and difficult decision making. See our interview with Nick Ut to get a better understanding behind one of the most iconic war images ever taken.
28. Sports photographer
If you love sports, what better way to make a living than to photograph them! Most sports photographers have a long telephoto lens in their kit bag. If you’re unsure where to begin, start local. Build up your portfolio, make contacts and see where it takes you.
29. Wildlife photographer
For those who love nature, a career as a wildlife photographer could be an amazing undertaking. There are many different ways to make money from this genre from running workshops to capturing the story of an unusual animal and pitching your story to a magazine. See our guide to the best wildlife lenses if you want some kit inspiration.
30. Travel photographer
If you love to travel with your photography, have you considered sharing your top tips and locations with others? From blogging, creating maps and guides to running travel photo tours, travel photography has many opportunities. Get some inspiration from our Photo Tours to see the different possibilities.
31. School Portraits
There’s lots of money to be made from taking children’s school portraits of both individuals and groups. If you want to go into this line of work in the UK you’ll need to be DBS checked to work around children.
32. Go for a grant
There are many different photography grants out there for various genres and for photographers of all different ages and abilities. Arts Council is a good place to start to see what is available. Remember you are more likely to receive a grant for your work if it benefits the community.
33. Teach photography
If you are a people person and you enjoy sharing your knowledge with others, then a career in teaching could be an excellent path to undertake. To teach photography in the formal educational system you will need to have the right qualifications.
34. Food & drink photographer
Food glorious food! Many restaurants and food manufacturers seek professional food photographers to capture delicious looking images. Food photography is a lovely genre to shoot and once the job has finished you can eat!
35. Product photographer
Products come in all shapes and sizes from clothes to gifts. Product photographers predominately work in the studio but can also shoot out on location depending on the subject. Jewellery photography is one area that is in high demand.
36. Start a YouTube channel
YouTube is an excellent resource for those who are good in front of the camera. Many photography YouTube stars make their money by reviewing kit, unboxing new cameras and sharing behind the scenes videos from their photo shoots.
37. Become a social media superstar!
Although social media doesn’t pay out directly, if you gather a large following on popular platforms such as Instagram and TikTok then you may find many exciting opportunities coming your way. These could be anything from the big camera and tech companies asking you to be an ambassador to interview opportunities in magazines. See our guide for using social media as a photographer to get you started.
38. Create and sell presets and profiles
If you’re a Lightroom guru who enjoys styling your images, a great way to bring in some extra money is to sell your Profiles and Presets. Presets and Profiles can be sold to a large target audience however it does help if you have a good social media following where you can market these products. See our guide on how to use Lightroom Presets & Profiles for some tips.
39. Workshops and photography tours
If sharing your love of photography is something you enjoy, running your own photography workshops or tours is a great way to bring in some extra income. To do this well you need to be a people person, and it greatly helps if you have an established and well-respected reputation in the industry.
40. Career in the forces
Did you know in the UK the RAF, Navy and Army all have their own photographers? If you love adventure, travelling and being on the go this could be the perfect career path for you.
41. Forensic photographer
This job is not for the faint-hearted! A forensic photographer takes photographs of crime scenes to capture evidence and document whatever they can find.
If you have an interest in space, then a career as an astrophotographer could take you to a galaxy far far away!
43. Review photography kit
There are many photographers and journalists out there that make a living from reviewing photographic equipment. Just look at our experienced team at AP! You’ll need to enjoy writing and understand the camera market inside and out if you want to go down this route.
44. Share your images and get paid
ClickASnap allows users to share images whilst getting paid at the same time! Though it’s not a get rich quick scheme and it won’t pay the mortgage. Think of it like a small bonus on the side of your other profession.
45. Exhibit your work
What better way to get your images out there than by putting on an exhibition! This could be a solo or group exhibition if you find the right photographer/s to exhibit with. Think carefully about framing and costs to ensure it is profitable for you.
Also have cheaper items for sale such as prints and cards for those with smaller budgets as these sales will add up. For more tips follow our guide to exhibiting your work.
Featured image: There are many different ways to make money from your photography. Copyright: Ben Eaton on Unsplash