I am Considering A Career In Photography, But How Can I Make Money?
The popularity of photography has exploded in recent years. The immediate feedback of modern digital cameras and availability of information online has shortened the learning curve immensely. One of the most common questions by enthusiastic hobbyists is “How do I make money with photography?”. Even seasoned professionals are looking for new ways to sell photos or their services. There are several factors to consider before you make the plunge.
Is my photography good enough to get paid for taking photos?
This is one of the toughest questions to answer for someone who is first considering a career in professional photography. It is difficult to see your work objectively. Those around you also can be biased, or may want to support you completely. They may offer you partial feedback, or may hesitate to be completely honest for fear of discouraging you and hurting your feelings.
Honest feedback can sometimes be painful. As a professional photographer you must be able to take direction from clients (after all you are being paid to capture their vision), and also not take it personally when things do not turn out exactly as hoped.
One of the best ways to learn to accept and take advantage of criticism is to join a local camera club. These folks are often very honest (in a constructive manner), and they will challenge you to photograph subjects which may not interest you. Taking great photos of subject matter you like, and being able to produce great images of a subject you aren’t really passionate about, are two vastly different things. Separating your emotions and objectively looking at your work is critical to your future success.
Participating in art shows or contests can also be a way to get honest feedback. Keep in mind their critiques are a way to help you improve and should never be taken personally.
Volunteering your photography to nonprofits or even offering some free photos for a friend who runs a business is a great way to test the waters, and will also provide the opportunity to get honest feedback. Many photographers start out taking family portraits. Getting out with your camera as much as possible and getting honest feedback is the quickest way to improve and prepare yourself for a career in photography.
What other skills do I need to be a successful photographer?
Honestly most folks enter the arena of professional photography with the misconception that they will be shooting photos more than anything else. That just isn’t the case. Remember you will be running a business. This means you will be in charge of scheduling, customer service, promoting, accounting and every other aspect of owning your own company.
Photoshop and Lightroom (and other photo related software) are very powerful tools for photographers today. What escapes most people who are considering a career in photography is that image management, and post processing will be a huge part of the workload. After image editing and business duties are done, most photographers are actually shooting around 25% or less of actual working time. Unless of course they have the resources to get help managing these other tasks.
Ways to make money taking pictures
There are several common avenues that people pursue in photography. I will mention a handful here but in no way is this a comprehensive list.
Wedding Photography – This type of photography requires a very creative person who can adjust to problems “on the fly”. High energy and an eye for style are critical. This is definitely one area to slowly get your feet wet. While there are plenty of people looking for cheap wedding photographers, these situations tend to create a ton of headaches. If you are interested in wedding photography I would suggest finding a professional and establishing a relationship with them. Working as an assistant is a great way to learn the skills needed to succeed.
Portrait Photography – This realm of photographer also requires a highly creative person that can adjust to situations quickly. As with wedding photography it requires a strong ability to work closely with strong personality types. One perk of portrait photography is less pressure. In most cases if need be the shoot can be redone. The same cannot be said of wedding photography.
Stock Photography – Selling photos online via stock agencies is a popular choice. Stock photography is providing photos to an agency on speculation that someone will need an image similar to what you are providing. The hope is that business owners or designers will purchase the rights to use your photographs for their websites, brochures and other media. Being a successful stock photographer is a real challenge. It is important when trying to sell stock photography online that you keep up with fashion trends and cultural trends of what people are looking for. A common misconception is that a photographer can take any photos they want upload them and they will sell. While stock agencies may accept images of any subject, there are only so many sunset or nature images that will sell. Images of trendy people using the latest tech gadgets are in much higher demand. Unfortunately paying for models is not cheap especially based on speculation the resulting image might make the photographer money.
If stock photography interests you consider 123rf.com
Virtual Tour Photography – Taking photos of homes for sale, or businesses to be featured on line is a great avenue to make money in photography. You will work closely with real estate agents and business owners to provide high quality images of properties that will be featured on websites and virtual tours. Virtual tour photographers have the luxury of less pressure than wedding photographers without the risk of photos not selling as may happen with stock photography. There is some specialized equipment and software that is required but the total cost to start a virtual tour business is very reasonable.
Are you ready to learn more about making money as a virtual tour photographer?
RTV is the industry leader in the virtual tour market place. Our custom virtual tour platform is easy to use and very versatile. We offer hands on training of the software, and with our ever expanding Rock Point Marketing program you will have access to training and marketing materials to teach you the ins and outs of becoming a successful real estate photographer. A free trial is available for those who would like to test drive our system. If making money as a photographer interests you and you would like more information about partnering with a company that can help you succeed contact us today!