- Join an Affiliate Program
- Self-Publish an eBook
- Offer Your Photo Editing Services
- Sell Canvas Prints
- Teach Photography
- Broker Used Camera Gear
- Optimize Your Marketing
When you think of the most challenging aspects of photography, the fact that it's such an up-and-down business has to be at or near the top of the list.
That is, you have periods in which you're so busy you can barely think straight, and periods when business is so slow that you stress out about whether or not you'll be able to pay bills.
Some people say that the best way to make money as a photographer is to sell your camera.
And while that's tongue-in-cheek advice, there's actually a lot of rock-solid ways you can make money to help even out the ebbs and flows of your photography business.
Here are a few ways that you can earn money to supplement your photography income, all of which you can do without even touching your camera.
Find a Good Affiliate Program
One of the best ways photographers can make extra income is by joining affiliate programs.
The short of it is that you put a company's banner ad, button, or even links to their website or specific products on your website, or have a specific code that you give to your clients, and each time someone clicks on one of the affiliate links and buys something with the code you gave them, you get a commission.
Those commissions range from company to company, and can start off as a low single digits to upwards of 50%.
The exciting part is that, over time, those commissions - tiny or large - can add up, providing you with extra money to help beef up your rainy day fund.
Even better, affiliate programs earn you passive income. That is, once you've signed up and have the appropriate links on your site, you don't really have to do anything else. Now, I will recommend making sure it’s easy for your clients and guests to find these links, and in the case of a code, getting that code over to them.
Helpful Tip: Have one or two of your favorite affiliate programs mentioned in your email signature or even on the back of your business card you are handing out.
If you select affiliate programs that are in line with the type of photography you offer, the chances are good that your clients and website visitors will likely find the affiliate's product or service useful. In other words, you can help your clients out while making a little money at the same time!
Self-Publish an eBook
The eBook game is ripe with opportunities to self-publish a photography-related book.
And the best part is that you don't necessarily have to go out and take a bunch of new photos for the book, either.
I live in Southern California and have thousands and thousands of photos of beautiful and fun places to visit in this area. What's stopping me from pulling a couple of dozen photos out of my archives, researching each location to provide detailed information for photographers, and publishing a little Southern California Travel guide?
If you're a wedding photographer, why not self-publish a wedding photography posing guide using some of your old photos?
If you're a landscape photographer, how about putting together a themed collection of images (i.e., mountains, beaches, forests, etc.), and self-publish a photo book?
The point is that there is a market for all manner and sort of photography books, so tapping into that market could be a lucrative way for you to earn some extra money and put your old photos to use at the same time.
Edit Photos for Other Photographers
As you well know, when you get busy, you get busy, and finding the appropriate time you need to get everything done that needs to get done can be difficult.
So why not use your photo post-processing skills to help out other photographers when things in your world slow down?
If you've got mad Photoshop or Lightroom skills, you might be surprised at how many opportunities you can find to edit other people's photos.
Heck, even if you aren't a Rembrandt with photo editing, that's okay. There are tons of top-shelf photo editing programs out today that make editing images a quick, simple, and painless process. In fact, some even have presets that allow you to take a photo from boring to beautiful in just a few clicks.
Plus, think of all the skills you can learn about post-processing by tackling image editing for other people! That means you can help others and help yourself all at the same time.
Remember earlier when I suggested that you use your old photos to create a photography eBook?
Well, there's something else you can do to earn money with your old photos - sell prints.
I'm primarily a landscape photographer, so I have thousands and thousands of photos of beaches, rivers, mountains, deserts, and other landscape scenes that would look pretty darn good on someone's wall.
To make a little extra money, it would be dead simple for me to connect with a printing company, have a few prints made, and start selling them.
The best part is that you can get high-quality, fine art prints made that make your photos really pop. Then you can add them to your website, post about them on your Facebook and Instagram, and earn some cash.
Teach About Photography
Okay, okay. So it would be pretty hard to teach photography without picking up a camera, but at least in this case, you're picking up a camera to earn money by teaching, not by taking photos.
And there's tons of ways you can earn money by teaching.
Perhaps the easiest is to start a YouTube channel and monetize it.
You can offer workshops in your local area as well, or even work for an after-school program to teach kids how to use a camera and take better photos.
There are plenty of websites that specialize in offering online photography classes, too. Joining one of those sites as an instructor could provide you with the ideal platform for earning money by sharing your passion for photography and your expertise as a photographer with others.
Broker Camera Gear
There are scores of people with camera gear they no longer want or need, and sometimes, you can find incredible deals from someone that just needs to get rid of their old stuff.
That opens the door for you to broker camera gear...
By that, I mean that if you can find smokin' deals on places like eBay or Craigslist, you can buy gear on the cheap and then turn around and sell it at a markup.
There are some keys to making this work, though.
First, you absolutely need to understand the market, including whether the items you're considering buying are priced well for you to make a profit and whether the item is in demand.
Second, you can't be trigger happy and just buy everything you see. Instead, you need to take a measured approach, crunch the numbers, and really consider if you'll be able to make money off flipping the gear.
Third, it's imperative that you inspect the gear to ensure that you're getting what you pay for. That can be tricky when buying from places like eBay or Craigslist, but understanding what questions to ask and what problems to look for will definitely help.
Lastly, you need a place to sell the gear you acquire. Joining communities that specialize in selling used photography gear can make it more likely that you can offload your purchases.
Optimize Your Marketing
I remember years ago when I started my first website being shocked that I didn't get tons of traffic just by virtue of the site being live.
Clearly, I forgot the part about needing to actually tell people about the site to get them to come check it out.
The same is true of your photography business - you need to optimize your marketing strategy, because the benefit of doing so is getting more eyes on your work, more people familiar with your name, and more clients as a result.
Don't just rely on social media, either.
You need a website. Have an online portfolio too, either as a standalone or as part of your website.
Getting listed on photography directories is a good plan as well, because they connect photographers directly with clients that need photography services. In other words, by getting listed on a directory, you have a ready-made pool of potential clients that need a photographer right now.
When it comes to making more money as a photographer, it's hard to beat that!
In summary, if you want to make more money (who doesn't?!) and do so without picking up your camera, give these seven tips a try: