How to Make Money as a Photographer

Have you ever noticed that there is a disdain between models and photographers? All over social media, it's a tug of war on "who should be getting paid." Models don't model for free and photographers don't want to take photos for free either. Well, I'm here to tell you, you're both right. And you're both wrong. There is also TFP (Trade for portfolio) in which the mutual gain is new work. If you ever feel that struggle between who should be profiting off of a shoot, you're simply in the wrong market.

Every photo shoot should have a purpose, while it's very nice to take photos of half naked women, is there a purpose behind it? If you're working for playboy magazine or even Maxim, the purpose is to get people off, at a cost in which both parties can be getting paid. See what I'm getting at? Is there a story being told behind your photo, are you selling a product, a person, an event or an establishment? If you're not selling anything, no one will get paid.

Though the market is saturated with photographers it is also saturated with new business owners looking to represent their brand with quality photos. Do not have a scarcity mindset, there is enough money out there for everyone. Your "competition" is proof that you can also make it in this industry. Furthermore, not all of your marketing should be done on the Internet, sure it's easy and convenient but it's also easy to be turned down. Get in touch with local businesses to build your portfolio if you believe you can deliver something special.

I see artists focusing on one style of photography, honing your craft is essential but does not promote growth. Having a style is one thing, taking the same photos month after month is another. What does this mean? It means you may be missing out on corporate accounts because your portfolio is stock-piled with booty shots. Booty shots are getting likes but they aren't getting money.

Don't be afraid to try something new. Over a year ago, I got a message asking if i had ever done food photography. The truth is, I had only ever taken photos of my own food. So I  said yes, threw together an online album of any of my photos I could find of food. That same night I was on my way to shoot photos at a restaurant for the first time. I had a sandwich of time to prep and research everything I could. That opportunity led me to more, so be not afraid. 

Get a website, anyone's photos can look nice on a tiny screen in a social media application but can you zoom in to see the quality? Having separate links to different sources will be beneficial to landing clients. A lot of platforms are simple to use and free, some patience goes a long way.

Get business cards, nothing seems more official than business cards. Simply put, it means business. Business is money. When you're out shooting photos, if it's interesting enough, a crowd will generate. Having cards on hand so that those viewers can see the finished work is an opportunity.

Lastly, have social etiquette. If commercial work is something you want to get into yet the person requesting photos does not want to pay, decline this account and let them know why. There is no reason to be rude or offended, everyone loves free but time is money and you should be paid for all the time you invest.

I hope this was helpful for you all, now go get that money!


Amanda Lee

Amanda LeeComment