How to Monetize your Photography Skills (Part 2)


As promised, here is Part Two of "How to Monetize Your Photography Skills (Part 1)"! We hope you enjoyed our last post about this incredibly important topic.


If you have the photography skills and talent, and you've often wondered how you could monetize that talent, here are some more ideas.

group photography

Team & Group Photography

Whom do you think takes those professional and college team pictures? That could be you. Start small and work your way up.

  • School Photography: Find opportunities with your local schools and other organizations. (Remember our nonprofit tip in our last post?) Approach local schools to see if they are interested in giving you a chance - even if they already have a photographer. Some might be ready for a change.

  • Senior Photography: Professional fine art photography for high school seniors has become very popular. Start with asking to shoot family and friends and work your way toward paying gigs. Once you've built a portfolio, approach your local high schools.

  • Sports Photography: If you're good at shooting sports action shots, ask if you can shoot some local games and offer parents or fans the opportunity to buy individual shots. Partner with local teams for ongoing work. Here are some tips for becoming a sports photographer.

  • Sports Teams: Approach your local little leagues and ask if you can be their team photographer. Keep in mind that smaller also means less money, but you have to start somewhere!  Once you've gotten a foothold with smaller, nonprofessional teams, use your portfolio and contacts to work your way up to more professional organizations. Also, don't forget the cheerleading squads associated with sports teams! There's an opportunity there as well.

  • Clubs: Rotary, Toastmasters, Mommy & Me, and church groups. There are countless groups and religious organizations you could approach about photography work. Some do annual and some haven't thought about it but might if you ask.

animal photography

Animal Photography

Yes, animals. There are numerous needs to do animal photography from commercial to private.

  • Dog & Cat Photography:  According to Psychology Today, approximately 42.5 million households in the United States own at least one dog. Canada has 6 million dog owners. Western Europe has around 43 million dog owners. And, Eastern Russia claims approximately 12 million pet dogs. According to Psychology Today: Many pet owners want professional portraits of their dogs or cats. So, animal photography is a real thing. Just look on Instagram and you'll get a feel for how popular it is.

  • Wildlife: You can shoot wildlife photography for commercial purposes (many companies will need it for marketing purposes). Don't forget documentary wildlife photography. Look for researchers needing photography work. Here are some excellent wildlife photographers to follow on Instagram:  

  • Veterinary & Boarding: Vets like to display animal photography on their walls. Look for a vet or the owner of a boarding place to partner with especially before the holidays when many look to send clients pictures.

  • Horse Photography: Whether it is equestrian showcasing or horse racing, horse photography can be big business. Look to connect with horse farms, breeders, and owners. Google the words "horse photography" and you might be surprised at just how many results come up. (We were!)

  • Showcase Photography for breeders: Animal breeders often rely on professional photography to highlight their animals whether for competition or sale.

Other Kinds of Photography:

landscape photography

Other Kinds of Photography

  • Real Estate: This is different than architectural photography, but not by much. Realtors and real estate companies have ongoing needs for photography work. Homes are frequently coming onto the market and need to be photographed for marketing purposes. Build relationships with the right professionals, and you can find that you have endless work here.

  • Drone Photography: Once rare, it's become commonplace especially in the real estate world of higher-end homes. But, builders, homeowners, and architects often ask for drone photography as well.

  • Landscape Photography: There are several ways to go with landscape photography. Landscape architects and landscape contractors will want to document their work through photographs. You can also try selling some of your landscape portraits through sites like Etsy or local art fairs. Here are Capture Landscape’s top 25 landscape photographers for 2017

  • Architecture: There are various needs for architectural photography starting with architectural or construction firms wanting to document or showcase their work. You can see some spectacular work on ArchDaily's website

  • Food: This can be big money and business once you break into this field. Try starting with your local restaurants and shooting their food to be featured on their website or other promotional materials. It's all in the presentation, after all! Check out Saveur Magazine’s top 6 food photographers of 2017.

  • Paparazzi and Journalistic Photography: The first can pay a fortune, while the latter not so much. Catch a picture of a big name celebrity, and you could earn six figures for one shot. If you're particularly good at breaking news-style photography, you can end up working as a photo-journalist.

It's not always easy to break into a field where you can monetize your photography skills, but it can be an enormously rewarding experience and career. Whichever type of photography you choose, we recommend doing some research before you head out the door. If necessary, reach out to professional mentoring or networking groups. It can be a good way to learn more about the business before you get started.

You don't need to reinvent the wheel to be successful in a photography business, but you do have to be good and bring some value to the table for your clients. Otherwise, there are plenty of other photographers out there willing to help them.