As we step into 2023 with our cameras ready, it’s time to take our photography skills to new heights and create a successful, income-generating venture! Whether you’re a passionate amateur photographer, a budding professional, or a seasoned expert, the potential to turn your vision into a profitable business has never been greater.
Photography has evolved rapidly over the past few years, with advancements in technology and connectivity increasing the opportunities for talented photographers to showcase their skills and make a living from their passion.
This exciting and informative guide will introduce you to 55 ideas on how to make money with photography in 2023. Throughout this guide, we’ll delve into various profitable avenues within the photography industry, enabling you to capture the essence of your artistic flair while monetizing your talent. We include the latest trends and emerging revenue streams that didn’t exist a decade ago.
One of the critical things to remember is that it’s essential to have multiple revenue streams, especially in a dynamic and ever-changing industry such as photography. This not only diversifies your income but also helps you to sustain and grow your business over time.
From selling prints and stock images to offering workshops and photo editing services, there is something for every skill set and niche. By following our comprehensive guide, you’ll discover new ways to generate income through your photography and gain insights into how others have succeeded in turning their passion into profit. The world of photography is vast and full of potential, so let’s kickstart your journey into making money from your love in 2023—because it’s time to turn those breathtaking shots into cold hard cash!
What are the best ways to make money as a photographer in 2023?
In 2023, there are many ways to make money as a photographer. One way is to run photography tours and workshops. This can be a great way to share your skills and passion with others while making a profit. You can set up tours in well-known locations and offer workshops for beginners or more advanced photographers. Or, if you live in an area popular with photographers, offer your workshops or photography tour locally.
Another option is to sell online courses. You can create courses on different aspects of photography and sell them through platforms like Udemy or Teachable. These courses can be a great source of passive income as you can continue to make money from sales without having to teach actively.
Lastly, starting a YouTube channel can be a lucrative way to make money as a photographer. You can create videos about your photography techniques, gear reviews, and more. You can earn money through advertising revenue and sponsorships as your channel grows. These are many options for how photographers make a living in 2023. Choose those that work for you!
How I make money with photography in 2023?
My photography genre of choice is travel photography. In 2023, I make money from leading photography tours in the Czech Republic, international photography workshops, licensing my images on stock sites, publishing calendars, occasionally working with magazines, teaching photo editing online, and doing business consulting.
55 Ways How Photographers Can Make Money in 2023
1. Sell images on stock photo sites
You can sell your photos on sites like microstock and macro stock agencies to earn a passive income. It’s a number game where the more quality images you upload, the more potential sales you can make. However, it’s important to note that there has been a declining revenue trend in recent years due to oversaturation and price competition. That being said, profitable niches can still be found.
2. Sell video footage on stock photography sites
Record footage during your photo shoots and monetize it on stock footage platforms. You don’t have to do almost any video editing, which makes it a simple way to earn extra income. However, a high-speed internet connection is required to upload the footage to stock sites.
3. Become a vacation photographer
As a vacation photographer, money can be made by shooting portraits of people traveling in your region or city. Vacationers always want memories to bring home, and tourists always search for keepsakes to remember their time abroad.
Offering holiday engagement sessions is another option to increase your income as a vacation photographer. Money can be earned quickly by providing a unique and memorable experience for customers seeking beautiful and professional photos of their travels.
4. Offer family, couple, or engagement sessions
As a professional photographer, you can make money by shooting different types of photo sessions. Portraits, family photography, couple photos, and engagement are the most popular. People want unforgettable memories captured in pictures and are willing to pay for it.
Offering these services can create a sustainable business for you, and there are many different ways to upsell, such as delivering photos in the form of albums or photo books.
5. License your images to magazines or newspapers
Another way to earn money with photography is by licensing your photos to magazines or newspapers. This means the publication will pay you for the right to use your photograph in print or online content.
It is essential to have high-quality and relevant images that can work for various purposes, such as editorial or advertising. Building relationships with editors and photo editors can also increase the chances of getting your work published and paid for.
6. Real estate photography services
Real estate photography services offer a lucrative way to earn money by capturing the beauty and essence of various kinds of properties. There is a lot of money to be made by photographing hotels, resorts, restaurants, and vacation properties (like Airbnb or VRBO).
Professional and stunning photographs can significantly impact a customer’s decision-making process when booking a place to stay, leading to more bookings and profits for the property owners.
7. Start local photography tours or workshops
This has quickly become my favorite option as I run Johnny’s Prague Photo Tours, offering tourists and locals the opportunity to capture the city’s stunning architecture and picturesque streets through their camera lens. Not only do I get paid to do what I love, but I also get to meet interesting people from around the world who share my passion.
8. Operate international photography tours or workshops
As a photography tour guide, you can monetize your knowledge of attractive international locations and make a good living. There is a high revenue potential in operating these tours or workshops, but it’s important to note that a lot of experience in traveling is needed.
With the rise of social media and interest in photography, this is a promising career path for those with a passion for photography and travel.
9. Sell fine art prints
With the popularity of wall art, selling fine-art prints can be a great way to generate income on the side. However, it can be difficult if you don’t have an audience. The key is finding the right market and promoting your work through social media, galleries, art shows, and fairs.
By selling prints, not only can you earn money, but you can also reach a wider audience and share the beauty of your art with others.
10. Sell printable wall art on Etsy
Looking for a new way to make money by selling prints? Consider selling printable wall art on Etsy. As a big marketplace, Etsy offers a broad reach for potential customers. By selling a digital file that the client prints, you can offer unlimited copies and greater scalability. Plus, you can maximize your profits with no shipping or production costs.
11. Sell digital wallpapers
Selling digital wallpapers of your images is a great way to make a little extra money. Digital products like wallpapers can be sold multiple times without worrying about inventory or production costs. With the popularity of smartphones and desktops, there is a high demand for unique and visually appealing wallpapers.
Creating and selling your digital wallpapers can generate another revenue stream for your photography side hustle.
12. License photos to tourism boards
By taking pictures of a particular destination and offering them to the local tourism board, the photographer can earn money from the sale of the photos. While it may be challenging to get the first client, once a photographer establishes a relationship with one board, others may soon follow.
This can be a great way to earn income while doing something you love.
13. License photos to calendar publishers
Calendars are a popular item, and wall art is always in demand. There are many calendar publishers and many publications to supply your image to. However, to succeed in this field, you must have strong photos from one region or subject that make you stand out. Seasonal themes are popular, so keep that in mind when selecting your photos to license to calendar publishers.
14. Shoot images for a local car rental company
You can make some money by shooting photos for a car rental company. These companies often require professional photographs to promote their vehicles and services online in print and on social media. As a photographer, you can capture their cars in iconic locations or showcase a lifestyle that aligns with their brand.
Additionally, if the rental company offers campervans or other unique vehicles, you can use your skills to showcase them visually stunningly.
15. Teach local photography courses
Teaching photography can be a great way to earn some extra cash for many photographers. By offering photography courses in your area, you can share your photography knowledge with others while also getting paid for your time. You can offer classes in your native or another language to cater to ex-pats in your area.
The key to success is to find a niche audience and create a course that meets their needs. Although it can be challenging without a local audience, teaching photography can be a rewarding way to share your knowledge with others.
16. Teach online photography courses
If you are a skilled photographer, you can start earning money by teaching online photography courses. There are various kinds of photography that you can lead, such as portrait photography, landscape photography, product photography, and more. Online courses offer opportunities to make money, as students can purchase your digital product and complete the course at their own pace.
Scalability is another advantage of teaching online courses, as you can reach a larger audience without worrying about physical limitations. Online courses have a higher potential than in-person courses due to their scalability. Platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, and Teachable are great places to start offering your photography course.
17. Edit photos for others
If you are proficient and fast with Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, you can earn little money on the side. While it may not be enough to make a living, it can be a good side hustle. You can even outsource some of the work and make it more scaleable. So, put your editing skills to good use and start earning some extra cash!
18. Teach photography editing
It’s a subset of offering photography courses, but I still think it deserves its own place. If you are skilled at photo editing, teach others how to make their images pop using tools like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop you are proficient with.
You can teach in-person classes and online courses or even offer on-demand editing of clients’ photos and screen recording the entire process from start to finish.
19. Offer portfolio reviews
An experienced photographer can earn income by offering portfolio reviews to other aspiring photographers. Experienced photographers can help others improve their skills and grow their portfolios by providing advice and feedback on their work.
With a reputation as an excellent photographer, offering portfolio reviews would allow the photographer to become a mentor to others and provide valuable insights into the industry.
20. Build itineraries for other photographers
If you’re passionate about travel and photography, creating itineraries for other photographers can be a rewarding and lucrative career. Photography is particularly important to many travelers, but planning a photography trip is very time demanding. You can offer on-demand customized as well as premade itineraries.
The latter can be sold online, scale well and reach photographers worldwide. The former is more time consuming and requires more communication with the client. However, you’ll undoubtedly make some repeat customers if you do a great job.
21. Rent your photography gear
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve invested quite a bit of money in your photography gear. Did you know you can make some extra money by renting out your equipment when you’re not using it?
Several online platforms allow photographers to list their gear for rental, providing them an excellent opportunity to earn some extra income. Whether it’s a high-end camera, a lighting kit, or a set of lenses, your gear could be put to work when you’re not using it.
22. Organize online webinars
Running online webinars about various photography topics can be a good source of income, especially if you have an existing audience. As opposed to online courses, webinars are usually live. You can offer free webinars to grow your audience or paid ones to earn extra cash.
Whether you are teaching others how to improve their photography abilities or sharing insights on the latest tech trends, webinars can help you connect to a broader audience of individuals worldwide. And its digital form makes it a scaleable model.
23. Publish a photo book showcasing your images
You may consider publishing a photo book showcasing your best images. But I warn you – it’s a risky investment. Self-publishing can be expensive, but the benefits outweigh the costs if you have good distribution and a built-in audience. Consider creating a coffee table book of your most striking images, and market it to photography enthusiasts.
24. Sell a photography e-book
E-books are a great way to make money on a scaleable platform. They can be created once and sold multiple times, generating income with low costs. Your photography website is a great place to sell your e-book and reach a wider audience.
Share your expertise and insights with others who are passionate about photography while adding some extra cash to your pocket.
25. Sell printed wall calendars
Selling printed wall calendars featuring your photos can be an exciting source of income. I’ve been publishing my calendars since 2017. For me, it’s an annual project that helps me to stay motivated throughout the year when the enthusiasm dips.
Even though the packaging and shipping are time-consuming, seeing your own photos printed is thrilling and well worth it. You best sell it on your photography website with online store functionality.
26. Start a wedding photography business
Starting a wedding photography business is a great way to make money through professional photography. Wedding photography is one of the most profitable genres, and many choose it as a photography career. By starting your own business, you can capture the special moments on couples’ big days.
You can offer various packages to clients, including engagement sessions, wedding day photography, and album designing. With hard work and dedication, a wedding photography business can be a successful way into a booming career.
27. Sell your services as a destination event and wedding photographer
To continue from the previous idea, you don’t have to settle for shooting weddings locally. Offering your services as an event photographer for destination weddings and events can provide clients with stunning photographs of their special day. You can expand your reach and target a larger market by marketing yourself as a destination event photographer.
With the potential for higher payment due to travel expenses, this can be a highly profitable niche in the photography industry.
Similarly, you can get hired as a resort photographer and capture photos of people on their vacation or the resort’s other event photography needs.
28. Organize local photography meetups
Organizing a photography club in your city is a great way to unite like-minded individuals interested in photography. Using platforms like Meetup.com, you can easily connect with potential community members.
Once a group is established, there are many different ways to make money through the club. You can accept donations from members to help cover costs like renting out meeting spaces or organizing events. Additionally, hosting paid meetups or securing sponsorships from local businesses can provide the group with an additional source of income.
29. Start a photography podcast
Starting a photography podcast could be great if you want to make money through photography. While it may be difficult without an existing audience, it can help you build a loyal following over time.
Securing sponsorships and affiliate marketing can also be a lucrative way to generate income with photography podcasts. However, it can take time to get subscribers, so it’s important to keep creating engaging content that people want to listen to.
30. Pursue photography infringement cases
You can use reverse image search platforms that help photographers find their images online and protect them from unauthorized use. You can generate some income by pursuing copyright infringement cases. Some platforms offer a business model based on a success fee, so you have no monetary risk involved.
31. Start a paid photography community or membership
Starting a paid photography community or membership can be a great way to generate income. There are various ways to make this work: offering exclusive content or access, running photo challenges, or providing personalized feedback and reviews.
You can set up your community on different platforms, but starting with a Facebook group can be a great option. Weekly challenges and feedback sessions can help to keep members engaged and motivated, while reviews and critiques can help them improve their skills. Creating a paid photography community can be a fun and rewarding way to monetize your skills and knowledge.
32. Become a photography contest judge
If you are part of photography clubs or have rich experience in photography, you may have the opportunity to be a judge in a photography contest. As a judge, you will be responsible for evaluating the submissions based on the criteria set by the contest organizers.
You must provide feedback on each photograph submitted to help the photographer improve. If you are an excellent photographer, you can earn extra income while doing something you love.
33. Offer online presentations to photography clubs
Photography clubs are open for presentations (even online presentations or webinars). If you have interesting topics, you can quickly get some gigs. Your presentation can be educational or inspirational; typically, one hour will do just fine.
You can offer tips on how to make the most of your camera and lens, set up lighting, present images from your latest trip, or demonstrate how you edit your photos for maximum impact. With your knowledge and experience, you can help others improve their skills while earning money.
34. Write photography gear reviews
Photographers can potentially attract a significant readership and generate affiliate revenue by writing reviews on various camera gear such as cameras, lenses, filters, and tripods. By sharing their personal experiences and opinions about the product, photographers can inspire readers to purchase the gear and generate revenue through affiliate programs.
35. Write content for photography magazines
As a photographer, you have an excellent understanding of the industry’s nuances and can provide valuable insights to readers. Writing informative articles can build your reputation and increase your popularity within the photography community.
Many magazines seek freelance writers to contribute content, so don’t hesitate to pitch your ideas to them and start earning money from photography.
36. Offer photography mentorship
Sharing knowledge is not only fulfilling, but it can also be profitable. You can guide, teach, and inspire others through mentorship while earning a steady income. Take that first step and start earning with your photography expertise.
37. Start a photography blog
By showcasing your expertise and knowledge, you can attract a broad worldwide audience and monetize your blog through sponsored posts, ad revenue, affiliate marketing, and selling your own products or services. To succeed, make sure your website loads fast, is easy to navigate, and offers valuable content.
38. Sell Lightroom presets
Photographers can make use of selling Lightroom presets as a digital product that is both scaleable and profitable. By creating presets unique to their style, photographers can market them to individuals who want their own images to look visually similar.
With presets being a one-time creation, it provides a good way to earn a passive income stream that can continue to grow as more and more people become interested in your work.
39. Start a Youtube channel
This can be a long-term venture that will require two years of consistent hard work, but if done correctly, it can be a lucrative and fulfilling way to monetize your photography skills. With a wide range of topics to cover, including tutorials, reviews, on-location, and behind-the-scenes content, there is unlimited potential to grow your channel and attract a loyal following to help you build a sustainable income.
40. Create social media content for brands
If you already know how to make money as a photographer and you’d like to expand your revenue streams, creating social media content for brands can be a great option. You can also get paid by the brands for sponsored posts on your profiles and leverage your following if you have a good one. Brands are willing to pay really good money for that.
Choosing the brands you want to affiliate with is crucial so you don’t deter your audience with too many sponsored posts.
41. Shoot for tour operators
Being a travel photographer is an excellent choice to be hired by tour operators or travel companies. They constantly need fresh images showcasing their destinations, activities, and team members interacting with participants. They can use these images for advertising on their website, social media, or other marketing materials.
42. Participate in photo contests
Participating in photo contests can be an excellent way to gain exposure. You have to enter powerful images because competition is usually very fierce. Many contests require you to pay a participation fee, so choose well where you will try your luck. That being said, contests with participation fees usually have much more attractive prizes for winners.
Make sure you carefully read a contest’s terms and conditions. Sometimes, they take a right to the images you upload – avoid this at all costs.
43. Create jigsaw puzzles
Online marketplaces that allow you to upload your images and transform them into puzzles. You can set up your shop, choose the number of pieces and difficulty level, and earn money whenever someone purchases your puzzle design. It’s a fun and creative way to make extra cash.
44. Create t-shirts and other merchandise
Similar to the previous point, your photos can be placed on another product type, such as T-shirts, mugs, or notepads. Many online platforms offer easy-to-use tools for designing products using your photos and creating unique designs.
The platform handles production, shipping, and (sometimes) customer service, while you earn a commission on every sale. It’s a simple way to generate another trickle of cash.
45. Become a personal travel or vacation photographer
You’d be surprised how many people are willing to pay for high-quality photos of their trips and experiences. If you can offer unique and creative shots, you can tap into this market and get hired to accompany your client on a journey and take photos of her.
Many influencers need lots of content for their social media profiles and can significantly benefit from hiring a professional photographer.
46. Sell your photos as postcards
While the margins can be small for each postcard sold, the profits can increase if you sell in bulk. To make more money, create premium postcards with high-quality paper and images that stand out. Market them to your local bookstores or souvenir shops.
47. License your photos to apps and software companies
Many smartphone apps and software companies need images for their products; the opportunities for you are plentiful. With many genres of photography to choose from, you can cater to the specific needs of the companies.
48. Sell your images as fine art prints through galleries and exhibitions
In addition to selling fine art prints on your website, selling through galleries or exhibitions unlocks high earning potential. Galleries and exhibitions allow photographers to reach a wider audience and gain recognition for their art, which can lead to direct sales, further opportunities, and success in the industry.
49. Write travel stories
This one is for travel photographers looking to make money on the side. If you are a good writer, you can write travel stories for magazines or online media outlets and sell them the whole package – excellent writing accompanied by stunning imagery.
50. License your images to outdoor brands
If you enjoy outdoor photography, start working with your favorite outdoor brands. They always need high-quality photos for their marketing and advertising campaigns. The chances are that you already own their products, so shoot them in stunning light and location and offer them images for licensing. If they like it, it may lead to more work coming your way.
51. Become a public speaker at photography conferences
It can be a lucrative opportunity if you have a knack for public speaking. Not only can you showcase your expertise with like-minded individuals, but you can also earn good money.
You can build your personal brand and potentially secure future speaking engagements. Consider approaching conference organizers and pitching your ideas for presentations to get started on this career path. Even if you don’t like public speaking now, it’s a skill that can be learned.
52. Get hired as a photographer’s assistant
This job can provide valuable experience and exposure to the industry while helping photographers with the practical aspects of their work. It can also lead to future job opportunities and be a great stepping stone toward a successful career in the photography industry.
53. Sell your photos as NFTs
Photographers can make money by selling their photos as NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which have a very high earning potential and can provide royalties from consecutive resales. Getting noticed in the NFT space requires interacting with collectors on Discord or Twitter, which can be very time-consuming.
Nonetheless, selling photos as NFTs provides a unique opportunity for photographers to monetize their art in a new and exciting way.
54. Write a photography newsletter
You can make money with your photography by writing a photography newsletter. There are several ways to monetize your newsletter, such as sponsorships, affiliate programs, and offering a paid version of your newsletter.
The best part is that you can do all this with the same amount of work you would typically put into your newsletter. By building a loyal following and providing valuable content, you can turn your photography passion into a profitable source of income.
55. Offer photography consulting
As an experienced photographer, one can offer consulting services and help aspiring photographers by sharing their expertise and advising them in their respective photography industries. This can include business advice, techniques for shooting, and post-processing.
By sharing their knowledge, photographers can charge for their time while helping others improve their photography skills and businesses.
How Can Different Ways of Making Money with Photography Benefit You?
Every photographer should know that there are many ways to generate income using her skills. Diversifying different revenue streams is vital to success in the world of money in photography.
I advise trying different things and seeing what works for you and your audience. Apply Pareto’s law, which suggests that 80% of a photographer’s income typically comes from 20% of their work. Focus on that 20% and double down on that. That being said, keep diversification in mind. Don’t let one client generate 50% of your income; it may get you in trouble if you lose this client.
Frequently asked questions
How to make money with photography online?
Popular ways to make money online are to sell your pictures or footage on stock photography websites, teach online courses, run webinars, write a photography blog, publish an e-book, starting a Youtube channel or a podcast.
How to make money as a travel photographer?
One of the most common ways is by selling your travel photographs online. You can either sell them directly to clients (cruise companies, tour operators, hotels) or through online stock platforms such as Shutterstock, Getty Images, and Alamy.
Another way is publishing your work in magazines, newspapers, or travel websites. This requires building a solid portfolio and pitching your work to editors.
My favorite option is leading photography tours and workshops. This allows you to share your expertise with others while earning money.
Finally, social media can also be a source of income but requires much daily attention. You can attract paid partnerships with brands and companies by building a strong following and engagement on platforms like Instagram.
To make a good living as a travel photographer, having a combination of talent, marketing skills, and a solid online presence is essential.
What are the easiest ways of making money with photography?
Some ways mentioned above are easier than others. But to run a successful and sustainable photography business, you must put thousands of hours of practice and hard work into it. As in life, there are no shortcuts to glory and wealth.
How to make money from photography locally?
Several options are to offer photo tours and workshops in popular local tourist areas or scenic locations. You can teach participants the technical skills of photography and composition while exploring beautiful places.
Another option is to offer photography courses, which can be done either in person or online, to teach others how to take better photos. Mentorship is also a possibility, where you can offer one-on-one guidance to students who want to improve their photography skills. Presentations given to photography clubs in your area or photography groups are another option.
Finally, traditional outlets like newspapers may also pay photographers to cover local events or take portrait shots of community members.
Is it hard to make money as a photographer?
There’s no denying that photography is a highly competitive industry, with many talented individuals vying for work. Making a living as a photographer takes more than just taking nice pictures; it requires a strong business mindset, marketing skills, and a willingness to hustle.
Clients often have specific needs and expectations, and photographers must be able to deliver high-quality shots that meet those demands repeatedly.
In addition, pricing products and services can be complicated and challenging, as there is no set standard for what a photographer should charge. While it certainly can be tough to make a full-time income as a photographer, it can be a gratifying career for those who love the art form and have a keen business sense.
How to make money with photography on Instagram?
Instagram has become a popular platform for influencers and photographers to make money by showcasing their skills and connecting with potential clients. As a photographer, creating a visually appealing portfolio with engaging captions can attract more followers and gain organic reach. But likes don’t pay bills.
Collaborating with brands can bring in opportunities for sponsored posts and product placements. If you have developed a recognizable style, selling digital products, such as presets or post-processing classes, can be profitable.
How to start making money with photography?
If you are starting out, focus on practicing and never stop learning. Think about what photography genre you like and how you can monetize it.
Try to sell your images on stock photography sites; it will help you brush your technical and editing skills. If you know more than complete beginners, start offering local photography courses for beginners or photography tours for tourists visiting your area.
Be consistent, do little every day, and your work will compound over time.
Don’t jump to photography 100%. Instead, opt for a slow, gradual transition, and don’t let go of your job until your photography business consistently generates the same amount of money (or more).
Do photographers make good money?
Like most professions, some photographers earn really good money, and some struggle to get by. Good revenue potential in photography exists, and it’s your goal to discover the right mixture of revenue streams that will work for you.
How much can you earn as a photographer per year?
The amount of money photographers can make annually varies widely depending on their location, specialization, and experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for photographers in the United States was $40,000 in 2022, with top earners making over $82,000. However, it’s important to note that many photographers work as freelancers, and their income can fluctuate greatly depending on their workload and clientele.
Which type of photography makes the most money?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of which type of photography makes the most money, as it depends on various factors like the market demand, level of skill, and entrepreneurial mindset of the photographer.
However, some of the highest-paying photography niches include commercial, wedding, and fashion photography, which require a strong portfolio, marketing skills, a clear understanding of the target market and its needs, and the ability to spot opportunities and market gaps.
In conclusion, as we usher in 2023, the abundance of opportunities for photographers is genuinely remarkable. With 55 different ways outlined, there is no better time than now to sharpen your skills, ignite your passion, and make your mark in the world of photography.
Embrace these avenues as you monetize your talent and fuel your creativity and personal growth. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, this guide has something for everyone. Let your unique perspective and artistic voice shine, and watch as the world appreciates your work.
Imagine never having to worry about making ends meet again and instead being able to choose your schedule and pursue your dreams! Trust in yourself and your talent, and go out there and make it happen. Embark on this exciting journey toward financial success and artistic fulfillment in the ever-growing photography industry.