How to Make Money as a Freelance Photographer

Freelance photography can be a very lucrative venture – Combine the growth of the internet with the crazy evolution of technology over recent years and you have a situation where one person can produce images that would have taken a high end studio a few ears ago. This has made it possible to get high-end photography equipment for not a lot of money as well creating the means for photographers to showcase their work to a huge audience.  

On the flip side, it also poses a challenge for photographers since today, it is quite easy for anyone to purchase a standard camera or even a smartphone to take pictures with. That has led to a high number of photographers. That means that for one to be able to turn their photography venture into a successful business, they will need to work extra hard and stand out!

Getting Started with Freelance Photography


Photography equipment (what do I need to start a photography business) can be extremely expensive to purchase; therefore, when you are starting as a freelance photographer, there is no need to invest so much in your first camera. You can even take photos with your camera phone; the majority of the smartphones we have in the market today have high-definition cameras therefore there is no shame in using what you already have, besides, what matters is the output.

After all is said and done, remember that freelance photography is not only about taking good pictures. You also need to be good at aspects such as photo editing, managing finances, communication skills as well as marketing.

Start Working

Getting good at photography requires you to do a lot of practice; this will help you work on your angles, exposure and camera settings as well as help you figure out which niche you are most comfortable in. There are a variety of niches to choose from however while working as a freelance photographer, there is no need to beat yourself up to specialize in a niche.

Alongside practicing to take good shots, you should also work on sharpening your editing skills. Editing helps to fine-tune a picture making it more appealing and presentable. To some, editing tends to be the most challenging step of photography; if you are having a difficult time tuning your edits, then you might consider purchasing photo presets online.

Build your Portfolio

Most clients will ask to see samples of our work before they can hire you to take photos of them or to cover their events. You, therefore, need to build your photography portfolio to make this easier. An easy way to do this is by creating a website for your hustle and uploading your best works there. As such, you can easily send someone a link to view your work.

Finally, you need to determine your prices. Besides, that is the whole reason why you are doing this; to make money from freelance photography.  When deciding on this, factor in aspects such as time, the money you have invested in, your creativity, the cost of traveling to the shoot and also remember to pay yourself. Also, you might want to research as to what other photographers around your area are charging; this should help you set up competitive rates.

Sources of Income for a Freelance Photographer

Working at Events

This is the most common and classic type of photography. Events could include weddings, birthday and graduation parties as well as corporate events. Working at events is not only a lucrative source of income for a freelance photographer but it also offers a good opportunity for you to network with potential clients. Working at events can be fun but also daunting, this is because several challenges come up when working in a busy setting. Therefore, this also offers you an opportunity to sharpen your skills.

Do Product Shoots

We are living in an era of social media, content is king. Not just any content, high quality, unique and engaging content. As such, businesses are now more than ever in need of highly skilled photographers to be responsible for providing them with good quality photos for their social media accounts (make money as a photographer on Instagram), websites and magazines.

Sell Stock Photos

Selling stock photos is a great way of earning passive income as a freelance photographer. There are a variety of sites and apps that offer a ready market for good high-quality photos. With these, you are paid a certain commission for every sale that is made either for exclusive or non-exclusive rights to your work. The photos could range from a variety of subjects this might include photos of food, nature, animals, people, events, fashion, vehicles or even a photo of yourself (make money selling photos of yourself).

Blog, Website or YouTube Channel

Having a website or a YouTube channel or both is a good way of branding yourself as a photographer. These platforms allow you to inspire, teach and share your experiences with others in the same line of work.

Also, you can use these channels to help you earn income. For example, by monetizing your YouTube channel, you can make money from people viewing your content as well as from paid ads and sponsorships.

The same applies to a website and blog. You can monetize these platforms to enable you to earn passive income from ads and sponsorships. You can also use your site to sell photography courses, digital prints, consultation services as well as your freelance photography services.

Photography Contests

Photo contests are a great way to showcase your talent. Since they get competitive, they offer the perfect opportunity for you to sharpen your skills and prompt your uniqueness. There are thousands of photo contests available online in every niche, for example, National Geographic always hosts photo contests for nature and wildlife photographers. Therefore, do your research and find the one that interests you. Rewards for photo contests can either be in cash form, photography gear, or as an opportunity for being published which is great for exposure and strengthening your online portfolio.

Bottom Line

Making money as a freelance photographer is a lucrative venture. There are a lot of opportunities available both online and offline. Therefore, do your research, observe what others are doing and you are most likely to find various opportunities that suit you.

Besides the monetary gain. Working as a freelance photographer offers you the best opportunity to explore your creativity which is also very fulfilling.

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