How to make money with photography in 2023

How to make money with a camera? So you have a camera and you are wondering how to make money with it? The easiest way to make money with a camera is to go into wedding photography. I think that’s the easiest barrier to cross. Now, it is going to be a little difficult to get into the industry at first. You will need to implement a sound strategy to succeed.

man taking photo of model indoors with grey wall background

Second shooting is likely not going to be an option to gain work experience

One of the recommendations that people often put forth is to do second shooting, to gain that experience. And, the truth is, probably nobody’s going to give you an opportunity. It happened to me, not one person I contacted offered the chance to second shoot. I’ve reached out and I’ve been ignored. And that’s ok, people don’t want to help out their competition, that’s normal. They want to protect their revenue stream. So the first thing you have to do, once you have your camera, is really start photography by shooting for free. There are people in the market who are getting married and have limited budgets. I would say offer your services and shoot the first few weddings for free and the fact that you are a beginner, there will be limited expectations.

Charging a fair price for your services

Once you have a few weddings under your belt, start charging money. The first thing you should do is an environmental scan, look at your competition and find out what they’re charging. And then start charging a lot less than that. I would say you start your first few sessions very low. You should charge at most 30%-50% of what the industry standard is. Then as you progress, increase your prices, improving your confidence, expertise and skill, as well as your equipment. Photography can be an expensive journey, and you’ll need a lot of equipment. So, slowly build your kit, slowly build your portfolio, and slowly raise your prices. And, usually, over the course of 6 months to 1 year, you should be able to charge the normal industry rate. 

Build a Website 

Once you have your camera and a decent portfolio, the next thing you need to do to present yourself as a professional is to build a website. There are companies that can help you do this, and for not a lot of money. I started with WordPress. I had some experience managing web pages through my previous job. So, I built my own website. But companies like Squarespace and Wix offer quality web templates. They charge you a little bit more than WordPress. But at least you have a web presence. Today everyone is on TikTok; It’s a little bit harder to show your portfolio on a site like TikTok and on social media. The way I use these social accounts is really to get a presence. Often I talk about my expertise, I show my gear, how I sold common issues, I speak about my photography style, and I do this mainly for SEO search engine optimization. 

How to attract leads 

Now you will be tempted to do some cold calling. Gone are the days where you’re going to call clients and offer your services. So what you need to do at this point is really start putting paid advertisements. Gradually increase your marketing budget as you secure more paid gigs. By going this route, you will put your business in front of more and more potential clients, and continue to do this until you are able to build a referral chain. As you start the paid advertisement process, you will quickly realize that ads, like posters, and so on, often cost more money per click. And an easy way to reduce that cost per click and get a bigger audience is to put out a video promotion. And so in this case, you really want to go ahead and produce a video to showcase your capabilities, your portfolio, and that will give you help with attracting your ideal clients. 

At this point it is all about rinse and repeat. So, improve your portfolio, improve your website, increase your marketing budget, and put a bigger footprint on social media and before you know it, you’ll have a business full of content and if wedding photography isn’t your cup of tea, there are other industries like sports photography, you can do school photoshoots, graduations, headshots there’s a million ways to make money with photography. I would say weddings are the lowest barrier of the cross. If you live in a good size city, you can easily secure 10-30 weddings per year. So try out these strategies and thank me once your business takes off. 

Published by Samatar David

Ottawa-Gatineau Wedding Photographer

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