5 ways to make extra money from your photography practice

5 ways to make extra money from your photography practice

Cover photo by Chris Petersen-Clausen

Focus Editor Philip discusses five different ways you can make money from your photography that you may not have considered before

We all know how competitive the photography industry is and the challenges of making money from your craft. However, there are many ways you can make money from your photography, and we've covered all of the main avenues, such as licensing images and selling prints, in our Business of Photography section of Focus.

However, there are some different avenues you can pursue too. While they may not be your primary source of income from your photography, they could help increase the amount you make. In reality these days, it's very advantageous to have a diverse portfolio of photography services to make money.

1 Take photos of products

With the proper setup (our guide on how to set up a product photography studio is coming very soon), you can easily take professional images of products at home. It can be a relatively straightforward way to make some extra cash from your camera. Thousands of businesses need photos of their products, but you'll need to sell this as a service to gain some customers, and it's worth starting small. Contact local businesses and SMEs, don't forget to create some shots beforehand with examples of what you can do, and soon enough, you'll land yourself a client.

Make it as easy as possible for them by either offering to pick up and drop off their product or offering to send and return service, where they send you the products, and you then send them back. Just make sure you stipulate beforehand what you can and cannot do; for example, if you know your setup can only accommodate products of a specific size, make sure they know this.

Many bottles by Adam Słowiński

2 Actor headshots and corporate profiles

I was once asked while I was at university to take some headshots for a fellow student studying drama, it was an unexpected job and I earned a little bit from it, but it made me realise too in some unexpected ways you can get small jobs for photography. It goes the same with corporate headshot and profile images, in the age of LinkedIn and having an online presence, there are many professionals and companies out there who will happily hire a photographer for a professional looking headshot.

Corporate area with London architecture with three people walking. Photo by Vividrange

3 Real estate shots

Photographing properties may not be the most exciting thing to do, but with a constant demand for these types of photos you could well find that it could become a lucrative revenue stream. Again with something like this, it's best to advertise your services locally as realtors will want someone who can travel to properties around the areas easily.

If you own a drone too, this could be a huge bonus as aerial shots of properties are becoming increasingly popular, so absolutely consider advertising this as part of your service to any realtors and estate agents.

A brightly decorated house in Italy with the bold stripes being reflected in the road markings. Photo by Devlin Willoughby

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4 Engagement photos

The biggest share of a professional photographer's income often comes from weddings, if they choose to shoot weddings, that is. However, with photographing weddings comes a huge amount of responsibility (and often stress) and it's not for every photographer.

However, taking photos for announcing an engagement, known as an engagement photo, is a lot less stressful, less labour intensive, and less risky that something will go wrong. You'll be joining a couple to take pictures of them together in a setting of their choice, for example, outdoors in a natural area. Do a good job and you'll likely be seeing repeat jobs through recommendations.

Love in the city by Chantele Smith

5 Images for local events and festivals

Have a look and see what festivals and events are coming up in your local area and who is sponsoring them, more often and not they'll be needing images. Get in touch with them well in advance so you're in their mind when it comes to them sourcing a photographer and you could land yourself a few jobs throughout the year. As always, send over some sample images to demonstrate what you can do, and make sure your turnaround of images is quick after the event. You might also want to consider sending images to local news for publication.

The winner of 2014 Mersea Regatta Greasy Pole. Photo by Shaun Mills