Few steps to make money as a photographer

A solid number of photographers are getting paid big bucks for their craft. 

How do they achieve this? The steps we’ve highlighted below will show you how. 

1. Select the niche(s) you want to be known for

A marketing saying goes, “If you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one.” 

Would you rather go to a dentist for a tooth extraction or a general doctor with “some” experience in dental care? That’s right, you want the one who specializes in solving your tooth problem.

It’s the same for photographers. Choosing a niche will help you market yourself better. Take Nicole Anderson, for example. Nicole is a brand photographer, and in a recent podcast interview, she shared how she felt the need to try everything so she could reach more people. Yet later on she realized honing her craft in brand photography helped her to become an expert in that niche, and sell her photography savvy even better.

But picking a niche doesn’t mean you can’t explore other types of photography or change your niche. You can always try various niches and change to another if you please. 

It may mean you have to take on fewer clients, but the truth is, you don’t always need so many clients to make good money as a photographer.

What you need are high-paying clients. And specializing allows you to charge more.

So, how can you niche down?

  • Search online for profitable photography niches like wedding, event, product, or real estate photography.
  • Write the list of profitable niches you’ve found. Pick more than one niche, but it’s advisable to have three at most. 
  • Research and see if there are people interested in hiring photographers who specialize in your chosen niche(s). 
  • Work with clients in those different 2-3 niches you’ve picked to see what you like or don’t like.
  • Brainstorm and research to find lowkey industries that need high-quality photos to market their business.
  • Search for people already in your niche on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or your network and speak to them. Also, search for their online presence to see how they market themselves.
  • Follow YouTube channels in your niche(s) and watch their videos to learn more and sharpen your skills.

2. Be one of the best in your niche(s)

Being the best in your niche is important if you want to stand out from the sea of photographers around the world. But, as Daniel Kordan, a professional photographer, says, “People start their photography career asking how to earn money – not asking how to make a good picture.” 

That’s why anyone can hold a camera these days, but not everyone who holds a camera is a good photographer. Becoming the best in your niche helps you move from the hustling and struggling photographer life to being the first name everybody thinks of when they need their pictures taken. 

How can you do this? Kordan advises that, “First, you need to take a good picture, then you can think about how to earn money.” You can achieve this when you:

A bride and groom pose for photos, along with a photo of wedding rings.
A great example of how to show great photos and tell a story on your photography website.
  • Take photography classes on YouTube, Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare, etc., to hone your photography skills.
  • Understand the basics of photography.
  • Work with more experienced photographers in the same niche as a second shooter.
  • Work for free or at a discounted price to get a feel for the experience and to gain more exposure.
  • Join group photography classes online or offline.
  • Practice as often as you can with test props and collaborative shoots.
  • Tell a story with your photos and share it with your audience.
  • Always continue learning and practicing.
  • Be open to constructive feedback and criticism.

3. Build a solid portfolio website

As a photographer, a solid portfolio gives you visibility. It leaves a digital footprint that, in turn, redirects high-profile clients to you without you having to hunt them yourself. You can also optimize your portfolio for search so potential clients can find you when searching for photographers on Google. 

Professional photographer Tiffany Nguyen says, “Keep building your portfolio, and when you’re ready to look for work in the photography business, be selective about the photos you share. Be sure that you know why you’re including each photo and what skills you want to showcase with it.” 

Fashion photography portfolio website from Alena Saz.
Fashion photography portfolio website from Alena Saz

This strategy also works if you have diverse and unique projects scattered across different platforms.

Your portfolio is what will group them together into one big picture that your clients can see all at once. Plus, in the long run of your career, this will save you the time and stress of locating them individually.

Mathew Ree is one professional photographer that uses website portfolios to his career’s advantage. His portfolio houses a brilliant carousel slider featuring wedding photography and engagement events.

Creating your first website portfolio can seem challenging, and it’s easy to make mistakes. You’ll want to consider intuitiveness, color scheme, security, and speed, as well as other factors to make sure your clients have the best experience while interacting with your website.

Such factors include:

  • Ensuring your website images load faster
  • Categorizing the images so it’s easy to browse through
  • Making it easy for clients to contact you through the website
  • Showing your pricing upfront so clients can have their budget ideas ready before contacting you

It’s easy to overlook these details, which is why many photographers’ websites fail. But we’ve written an article on the10 common mistakes to avoid when creating a photography website to ensure your website doesn’t fall into that pool.

GetResponse also has an AI-driven Photography Website Builder if you don’t have much time to build your site from scratch. It can help you get your page running (for free) in just a few minutes without the intensity of dealing with codes.

And don’t get us wrong, creating a website from scratch isn’t hard at all. You can build them using one of the free ready-made portfolio website templates available in GetResponse.

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