How to start making money with photography

One of the problems I had when I first started was how to get a job. How can I turn my hobby into money? There is very little advice on the internet. So, here is my advice to anyone looking to take the next step and make money from their art.

I know the stress of going to a paid gig for the first time. You are afraid of screwing things up. Just know that if you’re paying for a gig for the first time, you’re doing it right. All you need now is to show up, shoot and deliver the file. But let’s get back to the part where you get that show, because that’s where it’s not clear. Honestly, online authors do make it look easy, but it really isn’t. It’s one thing if you already have some work experience, but it’s a whole other thing if you’re fresh out of high school.

In this article, we won’t go into the details of building a portfolio, finding a niche, and developing your own style. These things come much later. Instead, we’ll briefly discuss how people who own a camera earn money through their work. The three easiest types to start with are events, weddings (with one capture), and headshot photography. There is a fourth option, but that’s the most important.

event photography

I started out as an events photographer and this is how I made my first income. You hardly need a portfolio to do this, and often, someone needs their activity covered by the person taking the photo. In general, all event photography should be paid for. If you’ve covered two or more events and the “client” is happy with the photos, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start charging.

While I don’t want to say that event photographers are all beginners, I’d say it’s a relatively low entry point. Professional event photographers are incredible people with a million eyes that can capture every little detail. I admire people who can run around with gear around their necks. I’m not a professional event photographer by any means. In one of the jobs, I had a camera, a lens, and a half-finished flash from Neewer. Pictures are fine.

One way to get involved in a filming event is to offer your services free of charge to the person in charge of any event organization. Then, at that event, the network did say you filmed the event. There will almost certainly be job opportunities for paid employment in the future. If you want paid work right now, try searching for as many events in your city as possible and email the organizing team.

Wedding Photography – There’s a catch

Please, please, please, don’t ruin someone’s special day by taking a bad photo. Don’t say you can’t take wedding photos. I’ve never photographed a wedding in my life and I don’t want to change that. Despite all my event experience, the pictures would be terrible.

At the same time, you can join a wedding photographer as a second photographer or assistant. It’s not easy for photographers to know how busy and hectic a wedding can be. Standing for 12 hours, having to carry a flash with you, and staying in good spirits can take a toll on anyone’s health. This is why many wedding photographers have a second photographer and assistant. A normal wedding kit includes at least 3-4 lenses, 2 bodies, a bunch of flashes, stands and more accessories. Your job will be to capture the process from a different angle, keep the light on for your boss, and be a helping hand.

The way to get the job is to contact several wedding photographers in your city and ask if they need anyone to help them.

headshot photography

Everyone needs a headshot. It takes years of practice to do a good headshot. However, if your interpersonal skills are in place, a simple white background headshot with basic lighting is fairly straightforward. Just find a way to set up a 1-2 light setup for headshots and you’re good to go. My personal choice for headshots is a simple two-umbrella setup: one in the back for fill light and one to the right or left of the subject as key. If you want to dive into the art of headshot photography, check out our tutorial with Peter Hurley.

So, how is it done? Actually, it’s fairly simple. All you need to do is get a few buddies in, make sure they’re well-dressed, and take a few pictures that can be used for advertising later. Now that the marketing is done, create a page on Eventbrite. Make it as simple as possible, something like “shoot 20 minutes in the studio, retouch two images in two weeks”. You’re not shooting King Charles III, you’re doing batch headshots. Make it affordable, depending on the cost of headshots in your city. Eventbrite is especially useful for this because all organizational parts are largely automated.

The egos of many photographers are directly proportional to the cost of their cameras. To this, I say: reading the self is the enemy. If I never assist, I don’t shoot fashion. My first contact in the industry came entirely with helpers while filming. Assisting is not only a way to make new connections, but also a way to learn how professionals work. Good assistants always benefit from the photographer. A good assistant is someone who makes your shooting days infinitely less stressful and infinitely better. My best assistant so far, Brandon, had a world class on-site neck massage (other than knowing where everything was).

There are many benefits to having a photographer’s goodwill, trust me: from work to networking to being granted free access to studios and gear.

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So, here we are, a guide to start earning money in photography. Of course, these are just the beginning. A long and exciting image-making journey lies ahead. For me, image making is by far the greatest joy I have ever experienced.

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