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Five Ways To Make Money With Your Camera

Is it time to turn your hobby into a business? Unless you are a professional photographer, you take photos for the love of the craft but wouldn’t it be nice to make some money while indulging in this passion? It could become a lucrative side hustle, or it may even lead to becoming a full-time photographer. At the very least, earning money through photography gives you extra cash to spend on new photographic equipment. Here are five ways to make money with your camera that you may not have thought of.

How to make money using your camera

Microstock Photography

Have you heard of stock photography, where businesses download images from professional photographers for use in their websites or newsletters? In the early days of its existence, it was a lucrative way for photographers to get their work in front of the public and earn a decent income. Microstock photography took this idea and extended it to hobbyist photographers.

Although microstock agencies are flooded with images, if you focus on a specific niche, there are still opportunities to sell your photos through these sites. Most amateur photographers upload their favourite holiday snaps hoping that people will like and download them, but this genre is overflowing with the same style of images. Advertising agencies, website designers, bloggers, and magazine editors search for unique images that fulfil their needs.

Working from home photos for stock photography

Corporate and lifestyle shots are the main areas businesses and publishers want. Enlist friends to be your models and set up working situations such as working in a small team, working from home, photograph a teenager looking at a smartphone, or show a woman working from home on a laptop. Perhaps go on location and take photos of your friends celebrating in a bar, studying in a library, or running in the park.

Some of the best microstock agencies to consider are Dreamstime, Alamy, and Shutterstock.

Advantages

  • It’s a set-and-forget system for passive income. 
  • After submitting your photos, you can take more pictures while potential customers browse and buy existing images. 
  • You can upload the same photos on multiple sites for greater exposure.
  • There is no fee to post images on a microstock website; they will only deduct a small commission when it is downloaded.
  • You can sell or licence the same photos over and over.

Disadvantages

  • The small amount of money charged for each photo means you have to sell many thousands of images to earn a decent wage.

Photograph Sporting Teams or Clubs

Families love taking photos of their sons and daughters as they play sports, but in this smartphone era, they won’t get decent action shots because the wide-angle lens sets the subject too far in the distance to be worthwhile. A hobbyist photographer with a long lens can zoom into the action for spectacular results.

Photographing sports can make money

Speak to the coach or president of a local sporting team and volunteer to be their official photographer during matches. When the players see photos of themselves in action, they are sure to want those images to remind them of their sporting prowess. Based on these results, they may hire you to do team photos, cover their awards nights, or capture headshots of the players for promotional purposes. 

If you have children involved in dance classes, approach the organisers to see if they are interested in having an official photographer take team photos and images of the kids at competitions.

Photograph dance classes to earn some money as a photographer

Remember to take photos of individuals who work behind the scenes too. Coaches, runners, and administrative personnel contribute to the team dynamics and should be rewarded with memories of their commitment to the sport. After you have taken the images, upload them to a platform such as PhotoShelter. It’s an effective way that photographers can display, sell and deliver their photos all from one website. The built-in shopping cart lets people buy their photos directly from the gallery. Place an ad in the team’s newsletter and watch the orders come rolling in from participants and proud parents.

Advantages

  • There’s no shortage of sporting teams to approach.
  • You can set your price for downloads.

Disadvantages

  • Your weekends are spent at sporting competitions, rather than with your family.

Make Greeting Cards

Have you taken countless photos of flowers, sunsets, and landscapes? Don’t leave them on your computer, have them printed onto cards and share them with the world. If you have editing skills and can add text to the images, you can aim them at occasions such as Mother’s Day and birthdays. Bright, colourful images sell the best.

Photographing flowers to use as greeting cards

Folded greeting cards with your image printed on the front can be created on sites such as Snapfish, but the profit margin is not as generous as making your own (and selling through Etsy). Although it takes extra time, printing your photos at a local photographic store and glueing each one to the front of blank card stock is a cheaper but more labour-intensive way to manufacture a supply of cards. Sell your cards at a market on the weekend. Remember to print the best photos in a larger size so people can buy them along with your cards.

Advantages

  • When people purchase your cards, you know they appreciate your photography.

Disadvantages

  • You need to spend all weekend at the markets. 
  • There is an initial outlay for display stands, fixtures, and the manufacture of your initial stock. 
  • You pay stall hire at each event, so you must sell a reasonable number of cards to cover your costs.

Get in Front of the Camera

YouTube is where the money is. Do you have a spare camera that can take video? If so, all you need is a lapel microphone and a blank wall, and you can become an expert who explains everything beginners need to know about your camera gear.

Tell people why you like the camera you currently use, and explain when you use aperture priority, shutter priority, programme mode and manual settings. Talk about how to clean the lens. You already know these topics, so you don’t have to spend time doing any research; talk about what you know. As you build a following, you can monetise your channel and make money while you sleep!

Become a YouTuber to make money from your camera

When it’s time to expand your series, you don’t need to buy another camera; instead, discuss accessories that make photography a better experience, such as a Lucky Deluxe 45 Padded Leather Camera Strap. This comfortable, padded camera strap is worn like a sling across your body and adds a stylish element to your gear.

Advantages

  • Apart from buying a microphone and perhaps some cheap continuous lighting, there are no initial outlays or overheads.
  • Having made your recording, it will stay online forever, bringing a steady and continuous income as long as your content is engaging and fits a target audience.

Disadvantages

  • To make a video stand out from all the rest online, you must make it look professional, so you may have to learn some editing skills.
  • Unless you have some training in public speaking, you may not feel comfortable speaking to the camera, so it could take time before you can present your subject confidently.
  • It can take around three years of continuous work to make it as a YouTuber.

Volunteer or Become The Main Photographer at  an Amateur Theatre

Have you ever been to an amateur theatre production? In the foyer, there is often a display of photographs featuring the main actors in the show. Somebody has to take those photos. It could be you! Although you may have volunteered to take those headshots for this introduction board, you don’t have to give those photos away afterwards. If the performers want copies of the images to further their acting careers, charge them a nominal amount. This type of photography gives you some pocket money, expands your skills, and you get to see a variety of theatre productions for free.

Photograph actors to make money from your camera

Advantages

  • Many people are involved in theatre productions, so there is the potential for spin-off work like portrait photography and family shots.

Disadvantages 

  • If you don’t already have some appropriate lighting for headshots, you may have to buy it.
  • If you haven’t used studio lighting before, you must take enough practice shots to feel confident in your abilities before offering your services to the theatre.

Final Thoughts

For many people, the creative side of photography is all the reward they need to motivate them to experiment with their cameras and expand upon their skills. But when times are tough, it’s good to know that options are available for turning your hobby into a money-making business. Happy shooting!

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