- Ways to Make More Money as a Photographer Without Taking More Photos
- What to Do If You Want Better Photos
Ready to take your photography hobby and turn it into a profitable career?
There’s a lot of work to be done, but sometimes just getting the process started is the most difficult part.
Ease your transition from hobbyist photographer to professional with these easy photography business tips.
Practice Your Skills
I know that “practice your skills” isn’t an especially informative piece of advice.
But there’s really no other way to put an emphasis on how important it is to hone your craft as a photographer.
There is always something new to learn, be that a new compositional trick or a new camera setting or a new bit of software to help you streamline your workflow.
What’s important is that you commit yourself to exploring new possibilities and practicing the things you learn each and every day.
Being a pro is much more than having a nice camera and a fancy website. The skills you build regarding composition, lighting, post-processing, and so forth will serve as the foundation for your move from casually taking photos to taking photos for money.
Zero in on Your Calling
When you’re just starting out as a photographer it might be tempting to try to be everything to everyone.
The problem with casting such a wide net is that it’s hard to establish your professional identity.
Think about it...when you need a wedding photographer, are you more likely to hire someone that specializes in wedding photography or someone that bills themselves as a wedding/newborn/macro/wildlife/landscape photographer?
Obviously, you’d choose the former.
That means that in addition to practicing your technical and artistic skills, you also need to identify what type of photography intrigues you the most, and make that the focus of your business.
Branding your business is all about crafting an identity as a photographer, and while there’s a lot of moving parts when it comes to branding, the basis of it all rests on who you are as a photographer and the kind of photography services you offer. The sooner you identify what those are, the better!
Learn the Difference Between Quality and Cheap Prints
An essential part of being a photographer is understanding what constitutes a quality or a non-quality product.
After all, when someone pays you to take their photos, you can't deliver them sub-par prints and expect them to hire you again.
Getting a good print doesn't have to be difficult, either, assuming you know where to look.
When I started to have my images professionally printed, I had no idea where to turn. As a result, I got a ton of really poor quality prints.
Then I found CanvasHQ...
What sets CanvasHQ apart from all the other printers I've tried is that these guys use only the finest materials.
We're talking about archival-grade canvas, UV-resistant, water-resistant, and scratch-resistant inks, and kiln-dried wood that's hand-assembled for the frames.
All of that put together means one thing - a gorgeous print that not only looks good when you unwrap it, but will look good for years and years to come.
In fact, CanvasHQ has a 30-day guarantee on all their prints, so if you order one and it's not up to snuff, just send it back and you'll either get a refund or you can opt to have a new print made.
There's also a lifetime guarantee against fading, cracking, and bubbling. That's precisely the kind of peace of mind you need when you're ordering prints for clients (or yourself!).
To top it all off, the folks at CanvasHQ treat your photos with care. They know that if you're getting a print made that the image is special.
I have dozens of prints from CanvasHQ. And despite that, there's always still a "WOW" moment when I unbox each new one. They look that good!
If you want to turn this photography thing into a career, start figuring out what products and services you can offer future clients sooner rather than later.
From a branding standpoint, offering the best-quality products is a surefire way to get clients coming back for more!
Make It Easier to Edit Your Images
Image Credit: Geber86 via iStock
Post-processing is not an optional stage of creating a photograph. It’s an essential part of a professional photographer’s workflow.
But before you can edit your images, you have to be able to organize them and make them easier to search, otherwise you’ll end up with thousands of images on your computer that have no real means of organization or identification.
Many professional photographers utilize Lightroom as their means of organizing their images. And while it’s far superior to Photoshop in terms of organizational capabilities, it’s not perfect.
That’s where Excire comes in.
Recently recognized as the Best Software Plugin by the Lucie Technical Awards, Excire offers loads of functionalities that will make easy work of cataloging and organizing all of your images.
Excire’s real claim to fame, though, is its artificial intelligence engine that ramps up the image searching power you have in Lightroom.
For example, Excire will analyze the images you upload and automatically tag them based on their primary features.
That includes subject matter - like “beach” or “motorcycle” as well as the predominant colors in the shot.
What’s more, Excire can identify people in your photos and tag them based on certain characteristics like “male” or “female” or “child” or “teenager.”
As a result, your images become incredibly organized and highly searchable. So, if you’re looking for a specific portrait you took of a female client at the beach, just type in “beach,” “female,” and other pertinent search terms, and Excire will bring up the images that match.
In the case of the former, it’s equipped with 125 common keywords to assist you in finding the images you need. In the case of the latter, you get over 500 keywords as well as the ability to transfer your keywords to existing images in your library. Nice!
The whole point here is that making money as a photographer requires you to streamline your workflow and maximize the time you have to actually meet with clients and take their photos.
With Excire, you can speed up your workflow and have more time in your day to attend to all the important tasks of being a business owner.
Get some insights into how Excire works in the video above by Suzette Allen.
Keep Your Day Job (at First, Anyway)
Image Credit: courtneyk via iStock
Photography as a business - especially wedding and portrait photography - is extremely cyclical.
That means that in the summer months you might be slammed and in the winter you might be twiddling your thumbs.
Though it can be difficult to juggle your current job and starting a photography business, keeping your day job will at least help ease the stress and pressure related to making money from photography.
Image Credit: NguyenDucQuang via iStock
Continuing in your current position allows you to pay the bills while you get all the necessities like a business plan, a business license, a website and marketing materials, and so forth organized and off the ground.
Then, once things are progressing nicely with photography, consider working half-time (if possible) in your current job and then when things really take off with your photography, shift to that full-time.
The reality is that most photography businesses fail, so having a safety net in your current job is a smart way to approach starting a photography business.
Figure Out Your Costs
Image Credit: Jirapong Manustrong via iStock
A critical mistake that some photographers make when starting their business is not taking careful consideration of their costs when determining their pricing structure.
That is, you can’t just factor in real costs like rent and insurance, but you also need to factor in opportunity costs as well.
For example, you have to account for all the time you spend making phone calls, returning emails, processing images, meeting with clients, and so on.
Likewise, you have to factor into your prices the time it takes you to get to a shoot location.
Every moment you work - whether it’s in direct contact with a client or not - should be accounted for when you devise your pricing, otherwise you’ll find that you aren’t making much money at all!