Yes, there are many ways that you can make money as a photographer without taking photos...
In fact, you can make money off your existing photos in so many different ways that you can build a nice side business to supplement your photography income.
This is especially nice for wedding photographers who have to suffer through highly cyclical work cycles - busy in the summer, not so busy in the winter.
Let's take a look at a few of my favorite income-producing ventures.
Sell Stock Images
Stock photography isn't what it used to be, but that doesn't mean that there isn't income to be earned in the stock photography space.
All you need to do is spend a little time going through your existing images and select ones that might have broad appeal (or maybe not - many people are looking for highly specific photos).
The key to making a success out of stock images is the keywording. After all, if you don't apply the appropriate keywords when you upload your images to sites like iStock or Shutterstock, you can't expect people to find your images in their search.
Another important thing to remember is that you have all the necessary model release forms if you plan on selling images that have people in them. You can earn a nice income from stock images, but not if you get sued by a model who didn't give their permission to appear in your stock photos.
But if you do things right, stock photography is a great way to earn recurring income without having to do much at all apart from the initial work of selecting your images, uploading them, and keywording them.
Like stock photography, selling prints of your work is a smart way to earn a little extra money.
What's more, selling prints is an ideal marketing tool because every print you sell that hangs on someone's wall is like a little billboard advertising your work.
Where keywording is hugely important in stock photography, the quality of the print is key for success when selling printed images.
That goes for the quality of your photo and the quality of the physical print as well.
I've tested dozens of printers over the years, and more often than not I've been underwhelmed.
Sometimes the quality is good but the customer service sucks. Sometimes the customer service is great but the turnaround time is too long. Sometimes everything about the experience is forgettable!
A couple of years ago, though, I found a printer that combines high-quality materials with quick turnaround times with excellent customer service, and I haven't turned back since.
That company is CanvasHQ.
Since then, I've ordered a few dozen prints, each seemingly more beautiful than the last.
And while my prints are for my personal enjoyment, you can certainly add to your income by selling your own work as gorgeous large-format prints.
That's especially true because CanvasHQ is budget-friendly. That means you can mark up the price on the prints and make a profit on each one without having to charge customers an arm and a leg (though, these prints look so great that people would no doubt be willing to pay a high price).
The secret is in the materials CanvasHQ uses for their prints. We're talking archival-quality canvas, high-grade inks, and handmade frames that ensure the print stays tight and true for generations to come.
There's just something about canvas that looks so high-end, too. I personally love the subtle texture of the substrate - I think it adds a bit of dimensionality to the image.
Earning money off of prints is as simple as selecting some of your favorite images, making them available in your online store, and partnering with CanvasHQ to have them printed.
Trust me, when you see your first print from these guys, you'll understand that the time and effort spent in offering your prints for sale is well worth it!
Image Credit: South_agency via iStock
If you're a professional photographer, you have the skill, know-how, and experience to teach other people how to be better photographers.
That means that you can offer workshops to supplement your income...
You don't have to get wild and crazy with your workshops, either - there's no need to lead an expedition of landscape photographers to the Arctic tundra!
Instead, partner up with a local coffee shop or bookstore and have a Saturday morning workshop in your hometown.
You can even offer small group workshops - 1-3 people is enough - which is often easier to plan and implement than something that has a dozen folks involved.
When planning your workshops, really think about what it is that beginner photographers want to learn, and then consider how you can offer that knowledge in a way that's fun, informative, and more valuable than what people can find online.
Better still, if you can implement all three of these ideas into your workflow, you'll have multiple revenue streams that don't require you to take a single new photo. Not bad, right?