How to make money as a photographer - 10 Tips
Dog Photographer Rebecca Goutorbe
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Here are 10 tips how to make money as a photographer.
If you are serious about learning of ways how to make money with your camera this blog post could help you.
By following the 10 tips this will help you every Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter with your photography business.
Get yourself a cup of tea and have a read through to the end of the post.
1. Enter Photo Competitions
Entering photo competitions could earn you some extra cash out of your photography if you win.
But just watch out read the rules to the competitions you may just be filling up companies stock photo libraries by entering some of them.
By joining the Guild of Photographers you are then able to enter their monthly photo competitions IOM (Image of the month). Your images will not be used anywhere else when entered in the Guild comps.
If your images are awarded a Bronze, Silver or Gold you can download and use the Guild award logos and put them on your images. Also you can use the pre made press release forms from the Guild.
Fill in the press release form and send the form off to the press in your local area.
Once you start getting photography awards you will be able to use these to -
This will earn you money
2. Sell Prints Online
Selling prints online is an easy way to earn some extra money through your photography.
Use your very best images to sell prints from like the award winning images from the competitions you enter.
You will need a proper photography website to sell prints online.
A website which is dead easy to use, set up and quick to start selling prints from.
SmugMug allows you to set up and start selling prints in as little as 15 minutes.
Take a look at the blog post 9 tips to design a website that sells prints for ideas
3. Offer outdoor Mini Photo Shoot
If you don’t already , offer outdoor mini photo shoots or studio mini’s if you have one.
Not everyone can afford a full photo shoot or photography package but may still want to use you as a photographer.
They may love your style of photography which they have seen on your website, but think you are out of their price range.
A mini photo shoot will fill gaps when your not busy and make you more money for your photography business.
Create a ‘Special Offer’ for example, Summer Mini Photo Shoot.
Charge something like half the price of your normal photo shoot. But also add that with the offer includes say 10% off all prints, or 10% off all photography products after the photo shoot.
Private Online Galleries
After the photo shoot and editing send out the photos to be viewed through a private online gallery via email on a link. This is a photographers alternative to IPS (In person Sales) and will save you time. Time is money.
If you use a SmugMug photography website it is really easy to set up a private online gallery for viewing.
If you use the Portfolio or Pro plan with SmugMug you can also watermark the whole gallery of images easily for photo protection.
When you send out the email with the link to the images in the private online gallery. Also send out a discount code for 20% off prints or photo products. Add that the offer lasts just 7 days. Put the date when the offer ends on the email too.
The original offer was for 10% off prints & products with the mini shoot. By giving 20% off for a limited time you will get your sales quicker and probably sell more because it’s a good offer which has a time limit on it.
Coupons & Discounts
The Pro account gives you the ability to use coupon codes to offer discounts, and money off at checkout and lots more to get sales moving for Professional photographers.
Also create a page on your website to advertise the mini photo shoots, where, when and how much.
Put all the details about the mini photo shoot on the web page.
4. Editing & Retouching Services
Not everyone is a pro in photoshop. When it comes to editing and retouching some find the editing process boring. They would much rather be out photographing that sat behind a computer.
Offer your editing and retouching services out to other photographers to make extra money if you are good at it.
Create a separate page on your website to offer the editing services. Include on the page prices or prices from for your editing services and your contact details so they can get in touch.
With a SmugMug website they have pre made website pages to work from to make things easy for you.
The page type ‘pricing’ is brilliant.
Use the pre made page layout to display your photography services and prices or prices from on.
If you want to change the photo on the web page to a slideshow for multiple photos or a video. All you need to do is delete the photo section and drag another content block onto the page dead easy website builder for photographers.
There are 10 service/product sections to work from. If you don’t need them all just delete what you don’t need to use. It’s that simple.
I built my 30 page dog breeder website with a SmugMug website by mainly using the pricing pages. 13 pages of dog show news with the ‘list’ pricing page type. The blog pages were made with the ‘Banners’ pricing page type. It’s so easy.
5. Start A Photography Blog
Start a photography blog about your photo shoots, awards, or anything else which is relevant to your photography.
This will show off your skills as a photographer.
A photography blog works great to show off the areas or venues which you use or want to use!
Great for Wedding photographers to show up in the google search results for certain Wedding venues when you do this right.
You can do this with a SmugMug website. There is not a section or pre made page which says ‘Photography Blog’.
SmugMug do have though 10 template pages including a blank page. These are all suitable for any purpose.
Just make a blog page, I did this with my dogs website. I started a blog for the dogs on my SmugMug website.
I really didn’t want the hassle or expense of 2 websites for the dogs. 1 website with SmugMug to show off the photos well. And then another for blogging.
So I used the SmugMug Banner pricing page as a page for all the blogs. Which includes a photo for each blog and little section of writing ‘a teaser’ about the full blog page with a link (the page URL) to that whole blog page.
Used a SmugMug custom page (design your own page) for each actual blog pages.
Finally I added the main blog page with all the ‘blog teasers’ and photos into the navigation menu. I also added a link ( the page URL) on the home page to this main blog page too.
So there are 2 ways for visitors to the website to find all the dogs blog if they don’t find them first in the search results online.
Free SmugMug template Duke used
This method works because I did the same thing on my SmugMug Dog Grooming website which I made. I had a blog about Crufts Dog Show. Every new dog grooming client who used the contact form to book their dog in for grooming knew that I had won at Crufts. They would talk about it when they arrived for the appointment. That is because they found my dog grooming website through the search results for the services I offer. They then checked me out through my blog posts and other pages on the SmugMug website.
From that then decided I was the groomer for their dog and wanted to book an appointment.
That is why you need a blog and plenty of information on your website.
It will make you money as a photographer, bring in bookings for photo shoots and sell any other services you are offering on your website.
But this can all be done on one website. Blogging, selling your photography services online, selling prints and digital downloads this can all be done directly from your SmugMug website.
6. Teach Basic Photography Skills
Make money as a photographer by teaching basic photography skills.
Offer 1 to 1 photography lessons. Teach how to get off automatic mode and understanding your camera settings.
Not everyone wants to become a professional photographer. But there are plenty of people who would like to be able to use their digital camera properly off the automatic mode. Also a lot who would like to be able to take nice photos of their family, holidays and dogs.
You don’t need models to teach or learn basic camera settings.
Use wildlife, landscapes and waterfalls which can all be done outdoors.
Use your website again to advertise your extra services available. Photography courses are a great gift idea too.
7. Sell Photography Gift Vouchers
A guaranteed way to make money as a photographer is selling gift vouchers.
Label the photography gift voucher however you like they will sell.
Whatever type of photography you do you will be able to sell a gift voucher for it. Whether that is portraits, studio work or outdoor photography.
Even if you are a Wedding photographer you will be able to tailor a gift voucher to sell, even if that is for money off a photography package.
You can even make money as a photographer selling a gift voucher for any photography training or courses you may put on.
Selling photography gift vouchers will ensure you have some photo shoots and work booked in the diary.
Create a page on your website for the gift vouchers so visitors to your website will know you sell them. State the terms and conditions of the voucher on the web page too.
When selling a photography gift voucher if the voucher is for a phoot shoot. Add some credit towards prints and products to spend after the photo shoot.
It’s not much of a gift if the person receiving the voucher then has to spend money to buy the photos afterwards.
Again the SmugMug Pro account is perfect for this.
The Pro account with SmugMug will enable you to offer money off at the checkout.
The money off or credit towards prints and products with a gift voucher can be used on your website to buy the prints, downloads or photo products.
When you send the private online gallery of images for viewing after the photo shoot. Also send a code for the amount of money off at checkout they have to spend too from the gift voucher.
8. Use Social Media
Set up social media accounts if you don’t already have them.
They are free, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter the list goes on.
It is free advertising for your photography business.
This will make you money as a photographer if you post regularly.
Facebook is a great platform for sharing your photography work on.
Add all your social media account links into your website.
Also make sure to add a link to your photography website on the social media accounts.
If you are posting great photos on social media the next move people make is to view your website from your social media profile.
If they like what they see they will book.
9. Photo Sharing Platform
Using a photo sharing platform is a way to make money as a photographer. There are different ways how this can work.
SmugMug is a photo sharing platform. You upload images to a SmugMug gallery which has settings. Private is private, unlisted is unlisted only anyone with the link will see the images in the gallery. Or public everyone can see the images. (To keep it simple.)
Share SmugMug gallery
With a SmugMug gallery of images you can share the gallery to Facebook. Sharing the gallery to Facebook is great for Event photographers to sell their images and sell images fast as well. This is because events are full of people who usually all know each other. You only need 1 person to share the Facebook post with the SmugMug link on to the gallery from the event your sorted. Word gets out, the photos are out.
You won’t need to do any Facebook ad’s to sell the photo’s. If your going to sell the photo’s from an event, once the link gets shared through Facebook, and shared through messenger, text etc you will sell images.
Share SmugMug gallery link
By using SmugMug galleries for private online viewing galleries for after photo shoots has the same effect in different way.
When I send out the gallery on an unlisted link this means only anyone with the link can see the photos. I can also add a password to the gallery for extra protection. I never add a password because for this reason.
I send out the private online gallery which is private, you can only see the gallery of photos with the link.
But the person/client who the link is for, who has had the photo shoot. Usually sends the link to all their friends, family, work colleges and anyone else who they would like to show the photos to. Which is fine it’s their private photo gallery to share with to whoever they like.
But what happens is, it creates more enquiries and bookings for photo shoots.
Because the link to the gallery is coming from my SmugMug website. Which is where there are more photos to view, information about my photography and a contact form to book.
Which is great I’ve actually not done anything there apart from share a SmugMug private online gallery link to a client. By doing this it has generated more bookings more photo shoots or gift voucher sales.
10. Create A Photography Website
Number 10 the final tip how to make money as a photographer in this blog post.
If you have read all this blog post I think you will agree that you need a photographers website. One photography website will enable you to make money as a photographer Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Christmas, next year and the following years to come.
You just need to create pages on your website with clear information what services you offer as a photographer. Which areas you offer the photography services in. Use your best photos on the website to promote yourself. Write blog posts relevant to your photography business and share your work online.
It is so easy to do all this and more with a SmugMug website
Step by step guide how to build a photography portfolio website using a SmugMug template