As a job and a pastime, photography has become more prevalent in recent years. Thanks to the proliferation of high-quality cameras, smartphones, and the resulting decrease in the cost of entry-level equipment. Everyone can now be a photographer.
A photography business is much different from an amateur photographer. The main difference is that a photography business’s goal is to provide 50-100% of its income from photography. While an amateur may charge a little bit here and there, most enjoy the art of shooting photographs for the fun of it and aren’t interested in a career to sustain their lively hood.
So what is that an actual photography business does?
Photography is defined as the art, science, practice, and business of capturing and preserving digital or analog pictures.
The unique thing about a photography business is that most are run by individuals and can look very different from one to another. Most photographers generally choose an area to specialize in and narrow their focus to a specific type of subject or client. A photographer many times will wear many hats. They are the photographer taking the pictures, but they are also usually the salesperson, the accountant, the marketing department, the janitor, etc.
Many photography businesses fail within the first three years. And it’s not because the photographer doesn’t take good pictures; in fact, many of the most creative photographers fail simply because they do not know how to run a business and are not pricing themselves appropriately to afford the help they need to become successful. Or they don’t have the personality or drive to wear all the hats it takes to be a professional photography business. Talent is usually the last reason a photography business fails.
Through photography, there are several ways to earn a living. If someone is interested in earning a living by selling photography or using their photo retouching skills, various options are available. It is possible to make money from photography in multiple ways, depending on the photographer’s personality and individual interests.
Seven ways to earn a living as a photographer:
- Stock Photography
Photographers can now sell their images online using Flickr, Getty Images, or some other stock photography platform. Regardless of the images are created by amateur or professionally trained photographers. There is a big market where individual work can be displayed and sold through stock photography sites. It means that the clients can search and access a variety of styles and types of images online without hiring a professional photographer. The drawback to selling stock photography is that it’s a very competitive market, and many times the work and effort have to be put in advance, and then hope someone likes their images enough to purchase them. The plus side is that if you can create content in demand, thousands, if not millions of people, can buy the same images repeatedly, making it very lucrative.
- Travel Photography
Travel photos showcase the beauty of a particular place, town, or city. However, this has also become an excellent way for professional travelers to expose other people to new and uncharted areas. Some photographers travel around the world photographing unique, beautiful places and sell the images as stock photography or to clients such as travel magazines, etc. Sometimes travel photography is paid on assignments covering the cost of your travel. Other times, all expenses are on the photographer and the sale of the images, which pays for the expenses.
- Babies, Families, and Wedding Photography
People like to preserve their memories, especially at weddings and other milestone events. The family photography market is the largest and most famous among amateur and professional photographers. Millions of photographers offer services to help people capture their precious milestone moments, whether it be the birth of a new baby, high school graduation, or a wedding and all the little moments in-between. Thus it has become a significant source of business for many full-time and amateur photographers.
- Architectural or Real Estate Photography
Showcasing and promoting a new building project or a massive building structure, or a brand new house is one of the most prominent ways to highlight its features and attract buyers and showcase the craftsmanship of the builders and architects. Architectural photographers often travel for specific clients to photograph newly built buildings for marketing, advertising, bidding, and competitions.
- Workshops and Teaching
People who had given their prime years learning the art of photography or even some with really great creativity are hosting workshops and teaching the art of photography. These workshops are found online as well as in person. You can find training and education in all different shapes and sizes.
- Commercial Photography
One of the largest photography markets is commercial photography, and it is often the most overlooked market and, in my opinion, one of the most lucrative. A commercial photographer specializes in working for businesses and advertising agencies. Helping companies to sell their products and services to their clientele. A commercial photographer might take corporate headshots, product photos, branding images, advertising images, and or photographs of industrial machinery. Many different specialty areas fall under commercial photography that many photographers don’t think about.
So if you are a photographer or thinking about becoming a photographer, it’s essential to decide which area of photography you would like to focus on and choose a business model that will help support your role as a photographer and attract the clients you want to shoot photography for!
Good Luck; 20 years strong, and I still LOVE what I do!
kp studios is a Birmingham, Alabama-based commercial photographer. Give us a call today to learn more at (205) 410-0688.