You’ve got a camera, and a computer, but one thing you don’t have enough of is cash. With the right skills, you can earn money doing what you love—taking pictures. But there’s more than just the traditional career paths like wedding photography. Thanks to the internet, there’s more options available to you than ever before, some are good for a bit of spending money whilst others can pave careers.
We’ve done all the brainstorming for you—here are 28 ways to earn money as a photographer online.
1. Sell Stock Photos
Stock photography grew quickly within the internet age, and it’s still a viable way to earn a little spending money. (After all, photography tends to be an expensive hobby). Stock photos are used by advertising agencies, websites, bloggers, publications and more. You can sell stock photos of pretty much any genre —to really gain some ground, try to shoot photos on subjects that aren’t yet well covered.
2. Sell an eBook
Another way to share your photo-knowledge is to write and sell an eBook. Look to see what’s already out there before deciding on a subject. Platforms through Amazon and Barnes and Noble make it possible to get your title in popular online stores. How-to guides often do well, but you’re only limited by your imagination.
3. Sell a travel guide eBook
Not into the how-tos? If you’ve got a lot of photos of one location, from either your travels or because you live there, you can put together a travel guide to sell as an eBook. Include photographs of all the must-see locations along with a few travel tips.
4. Sell a printed coffee-table style book
Got the photos but can’t do a lot of writing? Sell a coffee-table style photo book featuring your own images. Blurb.com is an excellent platform for doing just that.
5. Sell prints
Selling online doesn’t mean just selling digital goods—you can sell prints too. You can create your own website or sell them through a service.
6. Take pictures at local events and sell them online
Parents love pictures of their kids t-ball games. Offer more than a cellphone snapshot, and you’ll likely have quite a few people wanting to buy your shots online. From games to fairs and festivals, there’s a lot of options, you’ll just need to do the groundwork. Upload your images to a website like Pixieset.com and they’ll take care of the printing and shipping for you.
7. Sell photojournalism prints to news publications
If you’re in the right place at the right time, your image could be worth quite a bit for the right publication. Location or newsworthy events often determine what publications might be interested in the shot.
8. Edit photos
No, it’s not taking photos, but chances are if you’re good at photography you’ve also accumulated some Photoshop skills. Search job boards for people looking for some photo editing, or reach out to publications.
9. Sell your photo on a greeting card
Toss in a touching bit of prose or a joke, and your images could make excellent greeting cards. You can pitch card companies, or create and sell them yourself on places like Etsy.
10. Build a following on social media
This option works well mixed with other ideas, to promote an eBook, for example. But that’s not always the case. Popular Instagrammers are often paid to take pictures of a product and share it with their followers.
11. Sell fine art prints
If your photos are wall-worthy, sell them as fine art prints on your own website. Building your own website may be a bit more work, but may also pay off more in the long run.
12. Work as a photography tutor
Work one-on-one with new photographers as an online tutor teaching the basics and critiquing their shots. You can work for a tutoring company or create your own website. You can also tutor locally and find leads online.
13. Write how-to photography articles
Knowledge is power—err, cash. Publications from websites to magazines often pay for a good how-to article, so it’s another good avenue for sharing your photography know-how.
14. Start a photography blog
If you’re as good with words as you are with the camera, combine the two and create a blog. You can earn money through advertising, but you can also generate additional hype for another income avenue like an eBook.
15. Share affiliate links
If you do build a photography blog or popular social media page, sign up for your favorite photography stores affiliate program. When you share a link to recommend a particular item, you’ll receive a small percentage. Amazon has a popular affiliate program.
16. Take product photography photos
The growth of the internet means a growing number of online stores, and those stores need good images of their products. Pitch websites that operate locally, or work with a company willing to ship products to you.
17. Join online job boards
Photography-related jobs are sometimes posted on job boards like Upwork and Freelancer. Join and keep an eye on the opportunities. Some positions are local, though there’s often some that can be done from anywhere on the globe.
18. Generate potential job leads with Flickr and 500px
By building a big following on photo sharing websites, many photographers have generated paid leads. Sure, you won’t earn money simply by uploading to Flickr, but you could begin building a following that will later lead to paid work.
19. Sell photos to magazines
Magazines need a variety of different high-quality photos. Search for different publications to pitch to online. Take a look at the magazine first to get an idea of the type of images they publish.
20. Sell canvas and other wall art on Etsy
Photography is an art—so why not sell on the arts and crafts focused platform, Etsy? It’s a popular option for wall art, but you could sell anything you can create with your images here, including greeting cards.
21. Snap photos for local businesses websites
Photos speak volumes—and so do bad photos. Drop off business cards at local businesses and let them know you’ll snap magazine-worthy shots for their website.
22. Create and sell a calendar
Sell a calendar featuring your images, either through an established company, or by creating your own. If you create your own, choose a theme for the calendar, like a location or type of image.
23. Offer consultation and image critiques
New photographers may be able to tell that their images aren’t the best, but aren’t sure exactly why. Offer to review photos with tips for improvement for a small fee.
Don’t forget one of the most popular online marketplaces—you can auction your images on eBay too. Prints, canvases—again, there are a lot of options here.
25. Sell fine art shots on online galleries
It can be hard to sell fine art prints without a following. Online galleries can help introduce people to your work, and do the selling work for you too. Some of the popular options are Fine art America and Image Kind.
26. Create t-shirts and other products with your images
You’re not limited to just selling prints and canvas. Put your shot on a T-shirt, a coffee mug or a postcard. Companies like Zazzle (www. Zazzle.com) and Cafe Press are popular options.
27. Sell images from your own website
Keep more of the profit for yourself and sell your photos from your own website. Platforms like Photocrati and Photoshelter are popular options.
28. Bid on local work
Even if you’d like to work locally in a more traditional photography career path, you can use the internet to find new work. Sites like Thumbtack (www.thumbtack.com) allow photographers to bid on work for a small fee.
Photography is creative—so why not be creative with your income and pursue a non-traditional photography income online? While some options are only good for a bit of spending money, many photographers have made their entire careers thorough other online options. Now, get to work!