If you have a professional photography business, congratulations! You’ve turned a passion that many people have into a job that few are capable of. You’re an artist, as well as an entrepreneur. But the actual “business” aspects of running a photography business aren’t as much fun as framing a perfect shot, and even if your business is tightly focused on a particular market or audience, you might find that your revenue isn’t as substantial as you’d like. That’s where diversification comes in. You can find sources of revenue outside your main market to help grow your business beyond its limitations. Here are a few ways to switch up your business model to make more money as a photographer.
1. Sell Your Photos Through Stock Photography Websites
There are a ton of sites that host stock photos that businesses or individuals can then purchase for their own use, and these sites need to source their images from somewhere. iStock and Shutterstock are among the most popular, but sites like 500px and SmugMug are growing rapidly and offer as much as $100 per image! You can shoot everything from nature scenes to travel photographs to posed photos of models and sell them to these sites. Pay close attention to the licensing agreement, though: if your pictures are good, you’re best off selling them to a site that pays you every time your photos are licensed rather than giving you a flat fee up front.
2. Start a Photo Blog
Starting a blog is a good idea for almost every business owner, but particularly for photographers, as you’ve already got something visually appealing to organize your site around. Not only will a blog attract more customers to your main business, it can generate its own revenue through ads and sponsored content if you gain a substantial following.
3. Freelance for Print Media or Websites
A lot of magazines, newspapers, and websites have cut the budget for their staff photography departments—bad news for staff photographers, but good news for freelancers looking to pick up the slack. Inquire at local newspapers and magazines, as well as websites that cover your area or relate to your interests, and see if they’d pay you to shoot for them. Like blogging, this has the added benefit of attracting more attention to your main business.
4. Sell Prints
Believe it or not, even in the age of digital media, people will still pay for printed photographs. You can print your photos yourself and have them displayed in public places like restaurants, along with your contact info, or use a site like ImageKind that will do all of the printing and mailing for you (although they’ll keep a portion of the profits).
5. Teach Photography
If you really know your craft, you’ll have no trouble passing on the key skills to newbies. So why not teach? It’s as easy as posting an ad on Craigslist or Facebook and making contact with people interested in learning the art of the image. You can charge an hourly rate, and if you manage to get multiple students in one session, you could be making more than you would shooting an event!
The myth of the “starving artist” doesn’t have to be true for talented photographers. Explore these ways of maximizing your cash flow and growing your business!