Below we discuss the top opportunities right now for making money as a photographer. These ideas will apply to anyone who is considering a full-time job, being a freelancer, or wanting to start a business.
As you review this list you’ll see something obvious about being a photographer, you won’t always be in front of your computer working, there will be many times you’ll have to go into the field to snap photos and won’t be able to bring the computer with you, except for your mobile phone perhaps.
Keep in mind too that my list below is not the end all be all of photography ideas and opportunities. With a little bit of imagination and research, you can find an endless amount of opportunities for making money with photography.
Related post: How To Make Money as a Photographer
Let’s get into it!
1) Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest, Facebook, and Vero Can Help Make Photographers Money
Any social media site where you can post photographs or videos will be great for promoting your photography skills and brand. But you must also enjoy using that particular platform and be able to relate with the users in such a way that you can organically build a following.
Instagram Is Popular
Instagram is the most popular for photographers because it originally started as an easy-to-use platform where you could easily modify pictures with filters, then upload them to share with an audience.
Then, Facebook/Meta bought Instagram and has slowly introduced changes like adding short videos and trying to make it more like a Tik Tok type of experience. So many photographers have been trying to find a new social media platform to migrate to. Vero seems to be on an upward trend at the moment, check out this article to read more about that.
In addition to Instagram, you have Pinterest which is a visual platform and it’s great for photographers too, especially if you take photos of fashion, nature, or food. Pinterest even has short-form videos now.
Pinterest is mostly a female audience, but, over the years there are a lot of males on the platform too now.
Facebook Is Still Relevant, But For How Long?
Facebook has been around for a very long time at this point. You can post both videos and photos by using a profile or a business page representing your photography brand.
Facebook mostly caters to an older audience now of 30-year-olds and up. If this is your demographic, it may be worth the investment of your time to build a following, but I wonder where Facebook will be in 5 years.
If I had to choose between Facebook and Instagram, I’d choose Instagram to be more relevant going forward.
Flickr is Awesome
Flickr is great because it’s 100% just uploading photos to share with other people who love photos. You can build a following there to promote your photography brand and even sell licenses for others to use your photos on a business project or website.
There’s even an app for Flickr too.
TikTok Is Big Right Now
TikTok is by far the most popular social media platform for people younger than 30 right now. If your demographics cater to that age range, it would be worth it for you to make short-form videos to discuss your photos or provide behind the scenes about why you love photography.
Then promote and tell people to go buy your photos or prints from your website.
YouTube Is Fantastic
YouTube is a very good option for photographers.
In fact, because Instagram is slowly becoming a place not friendly to photographs anymore, YouTube might be the best next option for you! Especially if you don’t like Tik Tok.
With YouTube, not only can you do short-form videos like Tik Tok using “YouTube Shorts”, but you can do long-form videos as well.
Another great thing about YouTube, just about every age range is on there!
YouTube is also the second most popular search engine used on the internet too. So as people search for your photography niche, they can find your videos talking about why you love photography or you can do videos of the areas you are shooting photos for, then sell your pictures as prints.
Urban Exploring, Travel, or Nature would be perfect niches where you could do videos or vlogs showing people behind the scenes of your trip, or entertain them with a video of your niche.
Then sell your photos as prints from your website to make money online.
The Proper People, A Real Example Of Selling Photos Online With YouTube
The Proper People are Urban Explorers who make video documentaries of abandoned places like old hospitals, old power plants, old houses, old mental institutions, and old factories. When they go out shooting videos, they also take photos.
The Proper People put their best photos online to resell them as prints. With over 1.3 million followers on their YouTube channel, I’m sure The Proper People are doing quite well with photo print sales.
The Proper People’s success is an example of how Social Media can be a great thing for helping photographers make money online, but you do have to get out there with a camera and be off the computer at times for it to happen!
2) Make Money As A Product Photographer
If you enjoy reviewing products, you can definitely make big money as a photographer. You could do this as a freelancer or a full-time job for a big company.
Think of all the possibilities when it comes to products. You have toys, food, cars, electronics, clothing, furniture, and many more items to choose from.
For food, an opportunity might be a restaurant that needs help with photos going into a menu or website.
With cars, maybe you have an opportunity to do photography work for a dealer selling new cars on their website?
So if photographing products is an interest you have, go online to Google and search various jobs and freelance opportunities to see what you can come up with!
Better yet, you can also market yourself as a freelancer who specializes in a certain type of product.
3) Start Your Own Photo Blog and Be an Online Publisher
If you hate the idea of uploading your photos to a social media platform like Instagram, starting a photo blog will be your next best option.
In fact, sometimes having your own platform is the best option because you don’t have to follow someone else’s policies.
To get started, I recommend you research about self-hosting a WordPress Site. It’s pretty easy to set up and only costs around 5 bucks per month.
You can try doing a free hosted WordPress.com website instead of self-hosting, but you’ll have far fewer options for customizing the feel and look of the blog.
I suggest you write stories or articles to accompany your photos. This way you can share more feelings or experiences with the viewer and keep them engaged longer.
Having text with your photos will also allow you to get SEO traffic from search engines. There are plenty of resources online if you want to learn more about Search Engine Optimization, just Google “how to get started with SEO”.
As you gain readers on your blog, you can resell prints, do affiliate marketing, offer some photography services, and do remote coaching, the possibilities are endless.
4) Sell or License Your Photos To Business Websites, News Sites, and Online Magazines
In a digital world on the web, there are so many places that need great photographs. For example, you have businesses, online magazines, and news websites.
One great opportunity I can think of would be for a travel photographer to resell some photos to a travel magazine. Also, a travel photographer could sell or license photos directly to a travel agency. Since travel agencies need photos for their website and travel brochures, they would be willing to spend a good amount of money on photos that no one else has the legal rights to.
Even if you are not into travel, other niches of photography can work well with reselling photos to various business websites and online magazines. Real Estate, Finance, Architecture, Unique Products, Food, and whatever else you can think of.
Don’t forget about news sites too!
If you are able to get live pictures at a popular event somewhere and it’s newsworthy, you could license or sell those photos to a news outlet to publish along with a news story.
5) Sell or License Your Photos To Stock Image Websites
As a blogger myself, who is not very good at creating graphics, I rely heavily on stock images for creating a visual appearance in the articles I write.
90% of the time, most stock photos I view are just horrible. It’s very easy to tell the difference between the free ones from the premium ones.
When you find a premium stock photo that pairs up well with an article you just wrote, it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world knowing that you won’t have to spend any more time hunting for a good photo.
I end up feeling happy to have found the photo and will pay any reasonable amount for a license fee to use it on my blog.
The same is true when I am helping a client design a new website and we need some quality stock photos.
For this reason, the market for licensing and selling stock photos is big. It’s a market that can also generate passive income for a photographer. To get started, consider the following stock photo websites.
To find more stock photo websites, just use Google and see what you get. Popular photo sites are always changing.
6) Tourism Companies Need Photographers
If you enjoy traveling and taking photos, a dream job or gig might be for you to go along on a vacation for a tourism company.
When a tourist company puts together a trip for a big group, part of the package will be photos of their trip. So the tourist company will need to hire a photographer to come along and take pictures of all the clients that came along on the trip.
Afterward, the clients can then have the photos and save the memories of their fun trip for years to come.
If you like cruises, you can even get a photographer job for a cruise ship.
To find the best tourism photography opportunities, whether they be freelance or full-time work, check out Google and job sites like Indeed.com.
7) Self Publish a Book With Your Photos In It
Do you have a story to tell? With your words and pictures together? Or perhaps with just your photos?
There’s a big market for books that have images in them. Whether it’s a travel book or an art book, people like to sit back and flip the pages of a book with beautiful images that can transport them someplace else.
If you want to learn more about self-publishing your own art book, a great place to get started is with the website The Book Designer.
Amazon also has a great program for self-publishers, where you can sell eBook versions of your book, or do print-on-demand for selling physical copies.
If you want to sell your book directly to your customers, you can skip using a service like Amazon and set up your own website and blog. The advantage of selling direct is that you won’t have to pay reseller fees.
8) Enter a Photo Contest
Did you know that you can make money online with your photos by submitting them to a photo contest?
I don’t know how sustainable of an income you can really make doing this though. I would treat this as a fun bonus of extra money that you get here and there.
Some of the popular contests you can check out are:
- National Geographic Your Shot
- International Photography Awards
- Nikon Small World
- Sony World Photography Awards
Over time as I find more contests, I’ll be sure to add them to this list. If you recently won a photo contest or know of one I can add to this list, send me a message on my contact form.
9) Teach Others or Make a Course on Photography
Making a course about photography is nothing new and is probably a pretty saturated market at the time I’m writing this article.
I decided to include it because reselling courses is a great source of passive income. The key to making a successful photography course would be for you to carefully research the market, then, find a gap in the current marketplace for photography courses.
For example, you could bring a new style of teaching beginners. Or you could niche down and specialize in one area of photography.
The possibilities are endless for making a photography course.
A good start would be to teach on a site like Udemy.com
Lastly, you could very easily start a Blog and Youtube channel and teach people for free instead of trying to sell a course. In return, you’d make money on sponsorships, ads, and affiliate marketing deals.
10) Are You Good With Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom? Why Not Edit or Retouch Other’s Photos
If you have a talent for editing photos and enhancing them, you might want to consider doing freelance work for businesses that need help with editing and enhancing photos for their website.
An eCommerce company that has hundreds of product photos on its website would be another good example of a business that needs help with editing and touching up photos.
You could do this 100% remotely and would never need to leave your house because you are just editing and not taking new photos for anyone.
The main software tools required for doing professional edits include Adobe Photoshop and LightRoom. I’m sure there are other photo editing software solutions out there as well.
Just learn the tools you like to use and get to work, the customer is only going to care about the end result, the photo looking just the way they want.
11) Resell Your Best Photo Prints Online
If your photography has a lot of art appeal, you could sell prints directly to the consumer.
You can even do canvas prints!
You might have to research trademark, copyright, and licensing laws if you are taking photos of cars or popular tourist destinations like the Golden Gate Bridge.
But as long as there are no legal issues with the objects you are taking photographs of and reselling as prints, you’ll have a very nice business model which you can capitalize on.
Also, become knowledgeable about SEO and Blogging so you can drive traffic to your site to generate sales. Also, consider doing a YouTube channel or other social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, or Tik Tok to drive web traffic.
12) Photograph Freelance Gigs on Fiverr or UpWork
The best way to get started as a photographer on these platforms is to create a profile on both Fiverr and UpWork.
Then, start browsing the services of your competition and build yourself a better profile to sell your photography skills with. After that, you can begin applying to other postings or offering your services for others to find you.
Keep in mind however that platforms like Fiverr and UpWork can take up to a 20% cut on your rate. So over the long run, you are leaving a lot of profit on the table by not working with the customer directly.
To save on that 20%, I recommend that you eventually think about starting your own freelancing business after you are established and confident in the type of photography work you are doing for Fiverr or UpWork.
13) Freelance Photojournalist
Are you good at telling a news story with your photos? If so, you have some great potential to make money as a photojournalist.
To learn more about what exactly is required, check out: Wikipedia PhotoJournalism
As a PhotoJournalist, I’d imagine you would have to do a bit of travel for this type of photography work unless you can work on some local news stories. So keep that in mind if you are considering doing this.
I’d imagine that the PhotoJournalist who works in Washington D.C. probably has a lot of great moments capturing news stories of the President and the Whitehouse!
14) Make Cinemagraphs For Businesses (Gif Files)
Cinemagraphs are the in-between for still images and video. As a user scrolls down on a web page for example, they may notice an image that is slightly animated. They are more likely to stop and check it out.
Because cinemagraphs animate and can grab a user’s attention, companies like Disney, Netflix, and even Beer companies will use them for Social Media ads or for Product Pages where they want to promote or sell something.
To view some pretty cool looking samples of various cinemagraphs, take a look at this posting from 99 Designs. My favorite cinemagraph from this posting is the bacon sizzling.
To get started with Cinegraphs, search online for job and freelance opportunities. You can also add them to your portfolio website and advertise your services for them.
15) Take House Photos For Realtors
When the real estate market is hot in the spring and summer months, there are a lot of people buying homes. That also means that more sellers are listing their homes too.
Those home listings will need photos for the MLS, as well as fliers and any other marketing brochures the listing realtor wants to create for marketing the home better.
If you enjoy taking real estate photographs, this could be a huge opportunity for you to make some extra money without having to travel very far. In your local city, start networking with real estate agents, eventually you’ll get referrals to take some photographs of an up and coming listing.
Also, you can build a small website for yourself and show off the previous work you’ve done already. Then advertise that website on Social Media sites like Facebook to get more jobs. You can also try using Google ads.
The bottom line, there is a pretty decent market out there to be a real estate photographer in any city with a thriving real estate market.
16) Take Construction and Landscaping Photos For a Small Business Contractor
Construction companies who do remodeling for homeowners want to have before and after pictures of each project they work on. Then, they can upload the photos to their website and show them off to prospective clients to help close new deals.
The same is true for landscaping companies that build things like fences, balconies, patios, driveways, and terraces, etc.
For someone hiring a contractor, a picture is worth a thousand words, and when you combine that with a good customer testimonial or review, it’s much easier for construction and landscaping contractors to get the next customer and close bigger deals.
Because construction and landscaping businesses may not need a full-time photographer on staff, it’s best to market your services to them as a freelance photographer.
17) Do Photo Shoots For Weddings or other Special Events
Weddings will always need photographers, so if you enjoy going to weddings and can network with other event planners in your area, you can make quite a bit of money during the spring and summer months.
You can use your wedding experience to book other special events that require a photographer as well. Like Christmas Parties, Anniversary Parties, Special Birthday Celebrations, New Business Openings, and any other special event you can think of.
The key to booking these kinds of events is to network around your local town and build up some referral work. Once you build up a good name for yourself, the word-of-mouth marketing you’ll have in place will give you more business than you can handle.
Make sure to have plenty of business cards.
Whether you enjoy working for yourself or getting a job doing photography for a company, you’ll have an abundance of choices for doing something you are passionate about.
Over time, I’ll expand this list of photography ideas and also keep it up to date. I hope you enjoyed checking it out and will review the other articles I’ve written about photography and making money online.