How To Make Money From Photography – When I started freelancing I didn’t really think outside the box about how to get paid. But looking back over the years I realized that I have had many different ways to make money as a food photographer.
For sure, there’s no denying that there are people out there who make 6 (or even 7 figures) from the photo commission alone. (The reason is they charge more)
How To Make Money From Photography
But in order for many of us to make a living (or a decent amount to justify what we do to our family … wink, wink), we’ll probably need several ways to make money as a food photographer.
Photographer Money Images, Stock Photos & Vectors
Here is a short list of the best ways to make money with food photography and how to leverage the revenue around your photography.
As for ways to make money as a food photographer, this is a no-brainer, right? Get paid to take pictures of damn delicious food. But food photography can sometimes seem like a very small world. Fortunately, with the ease of social media and access to beautiful websites, everyone wants to join the action of having beautiful images on their sites.
If you feel pigeonholed into food photography, you can pair it with portraits of chefs and food influencers. Food also goes well with travel photography. Adding those feathers to your cap can get you more gigs and have a competitive edge. (Maybe I should take my own advice!)
Also, don’t be afraid to shoot something else besides food. Be responsible for your trip. Nobody cares if you shoot everything. They only care if your style matches their brief.
Infographic: 36 Ways To Make Money As A Photographer
Clients sometimes already have an existing relationship with a photographer, but they love your style. Then they may contact you to do just the styling part of the job. However, it’s one of my favorite ways to make money as a food photographer.
A word of warning. Just because you know how to style doesn’t automatically qualify you as a food stylist. A food stylist is soo beyond knowing how to cook and dish food. It’s best to check with the customer what they expect to make sure you can deliver.
I have regular “styling only” gigs and even though they have pre-production, not having to do post production is sometimes a dream!
Passive income at most. You have a work that you have already created, shot and produced. Customers will want to use it because it speaks well about their brand, article or story.
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If you have a good working bank that you can arrange with a stock agency, you can make some extra cash while they do the work for you.
Personally, I tend to receive license requests through Pinterest and the license directly with the customer, eliminating the middlemen. I will get a wider cut, but my work may not be seen by so many people trying to get licensed. Having both options may serve you well.
We food photographers are a talented group, right? If you have a website or social channel and a unique story to tell, chances are that at some point someone will want to hire you to create some content. Whether it’s a blogging series, recipe, design, social media takeover, or video series, I’ve heard of many ways to make money as photographers can leverage content creation to get paid.
Even high-volume blogs will outsource their content creation, so keeping an eye on job boards like Pro Blogger and sites like UpWork can sometimes get the better of them. There may be other ways to make money on these cards you come across. Let me know if you do!
How To Make Money With Photographs
Affiliate commissions come in all shapes and sizes. There’s the classic “buy this” link in a blog post that can get you a small share of that article’s selling price. It works wonders for high-traffic and expensive items, but can prove penniless for low-cost items like the spice mix for a recipe you created.
But fear not, the affiliate commission in my opinion should be for the products you believe in and use. You can partner with bigger brands, other bloggers, or influencers to add some affiliate commissions to your bottom line.
One caveat, however, if affiliate commission is your only strategy, you may not add value to your customers or community. Having a balance between providing value and getting paid to promote is important when thinking about ways to make money as a food photographer.
In case your iPhone has been broken in the past three years, sponsorship is rampant in the world of social media. I can’t scroll for 10 seconds (#legit) without seeing a sponsored post on Instagram. Sponsored posts are really just advertisements that don’t cost that much.
How To Make Money With Photography Online
Here you get paid to partner with a brand (hopefully one you believe in) and promote their products through your photography. Usually to include how you use it or to create a recipe.
Like affiliate promotions, always promoting other products can devalue your brand. It is best to achieve this with a “less is more” approach. Publish fewer sponsored posts and upload more. Remember to add value to your audience and customers.
If you love editing and … well, (that’s why I created my Lightroom Magic e-course, THE SECRETS OF EDITING to create food photography you’re proud of), then you can take up the editing work through a site like UpWork .
From time to time I have undertaken editing work. Usually the works I like, simple post-processing or Photoshop alterations / manipulations to keep your head in the game. This is especially useful if you are a part-time freelancer who needs a little more stable income. Working with a busy photographer to do the editing can fill this gap. This is not for the “just cause” crowd. Most photographers will want to keep and maintain a relationship. It is for the long haul.
Ways To Make Money With Photography
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Harder to find, but it sure can be part of your income mix. Recipe / cookbook jobs are occasionally offered where the initial budget is limited until some cash comes in. You can enter into an agreement to waive an upfront fee in exchange for royalties in the future.
The percentage usually sounds ridiculous, but multiply that my thousands of copies sold and you could be looking at a decent commission for the next couple of years. It comes with a risk aspect, being dependent on the quantity sold, but it can also pay off.
The first cookbook I ever shot was paid for in royalties and gives me and the author a whopping 5 figures in the last two years. Cash Bonus I call it!
The Truth Behind Why You Can’t Make Money From Photography
It seems like everyone does them these days and if you do them for the money, you might be shocked to know that most seminars don’t return a whole chunk of money. They usually cost a lot to run and there are definitely overheads with running a food photography seminar. (Large wig photographers may charge a mint due to their status and there’s nothing wrong with that. Be prepared to wait a few years before you see that kind of return)
But they’re a great way to connect with your creative buddies and earn a few extra bucks. You may also have another special talent that you can teach. As a creative colleague Laura E Patrick. Killer food photography and calligraphy artist. Now, if there’s no workshop idea, I don’t know what it is.
In fact it is different from workshops. Coaching services are more profitable as they tend to be one on one style and provide tailored advice. Which means … you guessed it. More of those dollars, dollar bills, all of you.
You will always have fans or admirers of your work, people who want to learn exactly how you do things. With the ease of the internet and connectivity, don’t be surprised if someone contacts you for a session.
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Just be sure to remember that more money should always mean more value. Wherever this is tangible or not, you will want to make sure that your students or pupils get value from you.
As you continue your journey into freelance photography, you will begin to notice that you have more streams of income than you thought. The key is to take a look at ways to make money that are related with minimal effort.
Anyone who is a real pain and energy drainer may not be worth it. Then you can eliminate those and focus on the ones that are worth (and that you like to do).
What’s your favorite or most amazing way to make money with your food photography? If you’ve recently found an activity that is more annoying than it’s worth, leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
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