How To Make Money With Photography Online
You may be an enthusiastic amateur or aspiring to be a professional photographer with a collection of amazing photos. But how can you make money from photography? In this post I am going to go through all the methods on how to make money with photography online.
Businesses are creating content all the time in order to relay their message to their audiences. Often, they need images to bolster what they are saying, illustrate something or simply be on brand. However, not all of these businesses have the budget to hire photographers to take photos for each piece of content. Also hiring a photographer to take certain photos it time consuming. Therefore, there are websites that have collections of photos to suit the needs of these business. But somebody has to take them, why can’t this be you?
What Exactly are Stock Photos?
Stock photos are photos that the photographer has made available for sale or commercial use. The majority of stock photos are sold through stock photo websites. People search these websites in order to find relevant photos for their content.
In most cases the photos are not being sold, but licensed for people to use. Licenses can be worth hundreds or thousands depending on the photographer.
Alternatively, on microstock websites such as Shutterstock, you can earn from $5 to $10 per image. This doesn’t seem a lot, but don’t forget they can be sold multiple times.
Examples of some great stock photo websites you can upload your photos to are:
Your Own Website
When it comes to making money from photography online, you really need to have your own website. Your website can be a way of advertising your services
Where To Start
Choose A Domain Name
The first thing to do is to come up with a domain name. You may think that this is an easy thing to do, but it does take some consideration to get it right. I go in to more detail in my post on how to choose a domain name, but in summary your domain name needs:
- to be a .com
- to be brandable
- to be short
- to be easy to type
- to be easy to say
- to not be in use
Choose A Website Host
A good website host isn’t the cheapest. Cheap ones are generally unreliable and make your website slow. I recommend Bluehost, as they are reasonably priced, fast and reliable.
WordPress is free to download platform that is popular with website owners. This is because it is very easy to use and customise. I use WordPress for all of my websites for this reason.
Customise Your Website
This is where you give your website the look that you want. You do this by choosing a theme and there are thousands to choose from. many of the themes are free, but you can pay for themes too. The ones that you need to pay for will be supported and updated more frequently. However, when you choose your theme, you need to make sure that it is “responsive”. This means that it will work well on mobile devices and loads up quickly.
Themes are easy to customise, but you need to ensure that your website design fits in with your brand.
Create An Image Gallery
Choose a selection of photos that you want to sell or display through your website. Some themes may allow you to easily create an image gallery. If the one you chosen doesn’t do that, you will need to choose WordPress plugin that will do this. There are thousands of plugins just for this purpose, here is are some recommendations:
Modula is a very easy gallery plugin to use. It allows you to create cool photo and video galleries. Modula allows you to create grid galleries and is a good choice for a few reasons:
- It gives you the ability to design custom grids and resize images within the gallery container to make life much easier.
- Easily make a lightbox gallery with 6 different lightbox styles that are included in the plugin.
- Animate the images with effects such as sliding and rotation.
- 12 built-in hover effects
- Easily add videos to your gallery.
- Built-in social sharing buttons.
Price: There is a free plan and paid plans start at $29
NetxGen is a very popular WordPress plugin and gives you slideshow and thumbnail galleries. You get a wide range of options for adjusting photo and size, style, timing, transitions, controls, lightbox effects, and more. If you want even more features, you can pay for extensions. The premium versions have additional features such as:
- eCommerce functionality to sell images
- Image protection (hotlink protection, watermarks, etc.)
- Image deep linking for lightbox galleries
Price: Free. The cheapest premium bundle is NextGEN Plus at $79.
Envira Gallery is another really easy plugin to use. It is designed so you can quickly set up your galleries without too much effort. The free version is great for making simple galleries, but to get the most out of what this plugin offers, you should go for one of the premium plans. These give you features such as:
- Social sharing
- Video support
- Image deep linking
- WooCommerce support
- Much more
Price: Free. The basic premium version starts at $29 for a single-site license, but the full-featured Pro version costs $99
Monetising Your Website
Create An Online Shop
If you want to sell your photos, you need to make your website in to an eCommerce store. With a WordPress website, you can use various ways to monetise it. Some gallery plugins will allow you to sell your photos, but if not, you will need to install an eCommerce plugin, such as WooCommerce. Check out the video below to see how this works.
You can use your knowledge of photography to make money too. This is done with affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting products in exchange for a commission. As a photographer, you will have experience with using a lot of equipment. People will be looking for information on this equipment to help them decide whether they want to buy it or not, why not be that person to help them decide. To learn more about this check out my post on why and how affiliate marketing works. But I will share an example on how this works with you now.
You have some experience with the Canon EOS 4000D DSLR Camera. Therefore, you write a review on it on your blog page. Tim has heard about this camera and decides that he wants to look in to it further so he does a Google search for a review. Tim finds your review, and because you have done such a good job in writing about all the details he decides that it is the best camera for him. At the bottom of your review, you will have a link to Amazon, where he can buy the camera.
The link is unique to you, as you have joined the Amazon Associates affiliate program. This is what allows you to earn money from any sales that come through your website. The affiliate link in the orange button above will track those sales and reward you with money!
You don’t have to join the Amazon affiliate program, as there are affiliate programs for pretty much anything that you can buy online. So you can make money from anything related to photography that you have some knowledge on, or can get some knowledge on. You don’t have to limit your content to camera reviews, your content could be:
- Blog posts on personal experiences
- Comparisons of different products
- Photography techniques (while giving recommendations on certain products that will help the reader get the results they want)
- Buyer’s guides
- Accessory guides
- Gift guides
- …..anything that will help your readers
By creating content that is helpful, you will; attract people to your website. This is because you will be answering questions they are having. The most relevant content will rank highly in their searches, making it more likely they will click on it. So the main challenge, is to ensure your content is relevant and has low completion. You do this with keyword research, to understand what people are looking for.
To learn more about affiliate marketing, check out my post How can I make money from affiliate marketing.
Promoting Your Services
By showcasing your best photos, you will be able to get some freelance photography jobs. This will have to go hand in hand with an effective social media campaign, but there will are some other things you could do to make sure you are visible to your intended audience.
The first thing will be to advertise on social media and on Google. When you do this, you can target your audience. For example, you can target people looking for photographers in your geographical area, or for the particular type of photography you are in to.
This targeted advertising costs money, but it is efficient as it gets put in front of the people who are looking for you. This is why your Facebook feed shows you adverts related to what you ahem been looking for recently online.
The other way to attract potential customers, is through your blog page. This goes back to the keyword research I mentioned earlier. By writing regular blogs that appeal to your intended audience, you have a free way of reaching them.
Social media is a very powerful way of showing the world what you are capable of. By posting your photos on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, you stand a good chance of getting more work. You will also be able to make more sales of your photos. I recently posted some photos on my Facebook account and now they are on the wall in a local restaurant. They also have my contact details next to them so more potential customers can constant me.
By the way, I am not a professional photographer, I live in a stunning place in the French alps, so I always have my camera with me. I am always looking more revenue streams, so why not sell some photos?……. Let me know if you want some photos of mountains.
Once you start getting some decent traffic to your website, you will be able to make money from advertising. Be carful with this though, as a photography website will need to look really good. If you go wild with loads of adverts, your site will look a bit cheap and nasty.
Therefore, you should make sure your adverts are relevant to your industry. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, only allow people to advertise on your website that are in the industry.
The other way to advertise, is to use Google Adsense. This is a small piece of code that you put on to your website, that places targeted adverts within your content. The adverts are supposed to reflect what the content is or what the website visitor has been searching for recently. To make any significant money from this, you need a lot of website traffic. Personally, I wouldn’t go for this option for a website of this type. This is because it can make your website look messy and it distracts the visitors from the main purpose of the website, your business.
Thant IS How To Make Money With Photography Online
I hope this has been useful to you and given you some ideas. If you have lots of knowledge or have a passion for photography, I really recommend looking in to affiliate marketing to make money with photography. Use your expertise to to recommend the best camera equipment to the world.
If you have any questions or thoughts on this subject, please leave them in the comments section below.