Three easy ways to make money taking pictures

Use these three easy ways to make money taking pictures with your digital camera.

One question I get asked often is “how does one realistically make money taking pictures?”. Its always asked by new/amateur photographers who read my blog or I close friends. Professional photographers already know how to make money doing this and never ask this question. But it seems more and more these last several years, photo hobbyist want to turn their hobby into a part-time income. It’s possible, but let me be honest, it does take time, dedication and a lot of work, especially in the beginning.

Here are three realistic ways you can make money taking pictures. I will leave out the obvious but unrealistic ways like shooting for newspapers or magazines. For hobbyist/amateurs, this is not a realistic way to make money. I will also add that I recommend people practice a great deal of time, build up a collection of your best images, and do lots of research before trying to make money by taking pictures. Now to my list:

1. – This site is one of the best ways for new photographers to get noticed and to make money. Flickr is more than a “photo sharing site”, there are two ways to make money at this site. First its with Getty Images (stock photos for sale) but you must do a few things to be eligible. Start by uploading only your best images. Make sure that they do NOT show brands names or famous buildings or distinguishable private property. Any images with people, should have a proper model release. Then make sure that you check yes to “Make your photos eligible for invitation by Getty Images?” under your “Privacy & Permissions” tab on your flickr account. Finally read this info page on Getty Images on flickr. If you eventually get chosen, all you do is take pictures, upload them to flickr and they will add your images to their collection of images available for purchase. You can make anywhere from a few dollars to several hundred dollars per image.

2. Stock photography – There are several sites that you can use, but if you recall I mentioned earlier that Flickr had two ways of making money, using it as your own stock image showcase is the second way. I personally have sold some of my images to people who were searching for images via google or flickr itself for a project. They then found a picture they needed and contacted me for publishing rights. This is more of a “do it yourself” method, but does work. The other ways to sell your work is to sign up to these stock image sites: DepositPhotos, Shutterstock, Fotolia, Dreamstime, iStockphoto.

3. Shoot Senior High School pictures – Why? Because for the most part this is a newer and growing market. I don’t recommend wedding photography because the competition is too high and most wedding/pro photographers that also do senior pictures charge a higher fee, so its easier to compete. Plus it does not have the urgency and/or stress of a wedding project. If you want to take it further, purchase a portable 2 light kit so you can shoot at the clients home. Most Senior pictures are done outdoors, but if you have a light kit you can shoot indoors as well. Start with family and friends, you’ll be surprised at how word spreads. Use to print your pictures, they have professional prints sometimes as low as .99 for 8×10! This will lower your overhead and allow you to charge less while still making a profit.

I hope these few tips will help you get started in making money taking pictures. Of course there are many other ways, but if I were starting out, these are the ways I would start. As for Flickr, there are some specifics things one should do to get more viewers, I’ll tackle that subject in a later day. Good luck and let me know if it works for you! Or perhaps you have some tips you’d like to share!

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