How To Make A Passive Income As A Photographer. Do you feel like you deserve a better source of income without having to work full-time or spend countless hours in the studio? If so, this guide is for you. From selling stock photos to creating online courses and tutorials, we will reveal some of the most profitable ways to make money with your photography memories that you already have. So, let’s explore the ultimate guide to making a passive income as a photographer!
While running a photography business is creatively rewarding, it’s also notorious for its unpredictable cash flow. Indeed, incomes come in steadily when there are strings of clients needing shoots, but there are also dry spells where only one or two clients are contacting you for shoots in weeks or where no one is seeking your services at all.
During this work drought, the money flow halts. And even when the demand for your services is at its peak, unfortunately, you can’t split yourself into two or three to cover events held on the same day. This means your reach is limited; hence you can’t always have enough to save for rainy days. These factors can set photographers in an unbalanced place financially and make it important to have multiple streams of income!
How To Make A Passive Income As A Photographer
As a photographer looking to boost your earnings, you should know that making a passive income in your field is not as difficult as most people believe. Yes, photography involves a time commitment, but there are many areas you can branch out to with your skills without sacrificing your main job!
Sounds impossible? Well, we can tell you for a fact that it is possible. In this article, we’ll look at what a passive income is before diving into the numerous ways you can support your active income with one.
What is a passive income?
You might have heard this phrase before: ‘A passive income is a source of making money while you sleep.’ This doesn’t encompass what a passive income is, but it gives a good foundation to build on. When you have a passive source of income, you have a side job where you don’t have to put in as much time and effort as you do with your main job to earn money.
It is the opposite of an active source of income. With an active income, you are paid based on the number of hours you dedicate to working. This can be traveling overseas to do a wedding photo shoot, or for the hours you spend editing photos.
If you are not actively working on these activities, you won’t get paid. With passive incomes, however, you don’t have to focus on the process 24/7 to make money. It requires minimal time and management. And one of the best parts of a passive source of income is that, indeed, while you’re asleep, it can earn you money! So how can you set up a passive source of income?
Sources of Passive Incomes For Photographers
Let’s explore some of the best ways to make passive income with the photos you already have and other strategies to make money without much investment.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links which means we might receive a commission if you decide to buy something at no extra cost to you.
1. With Affiliate Marketing
While people from different fields consider affiliate marketing a good source of passive income, affiliate marketing is especially favorable to photographers. This is because photographers already utilize a lot of tools and products for their business.
For instance, if you use an Online Editor and can vouch that it’s a solid product, then you can recommend it to other photographers searching for quality online editing tools. This applies to reviews you write for photography cameras, drones, tripods, and other photography tools commonly used by photographers.
As an affiliate, the promotion you’re doing for the online editor’s company will include a specific link to indicate your referral. When readers of your post click on the link and are directed to the product, you’ll receive a commission for their purchases.
The more people purchase the product through your link, the more you’ll get paid. And since photographers use multiple tools for their work, you’ll have just as many opportunities to make a passive income through affiliate marketing. The process of becoming an affiliate marketer is fairly easy! There are so many affiliate programs you can sign up with—some of the most common affiliate programs are rewardstyle, collective voice, awin, commission junction, and many others.
2. By Becoming a Photography Blogger
Blogging is a popular way to make money online, so why not give it a go? Unlike some passive income sources, with a blog, you need to dedicate a decent amount of time to run it. You need to publish posts frequently enough to get enough traffic and grab as many sign-ups to your website newsletter. Despite this, you can rest assured that blogging won’t infringe on your main job.
To become a successful photography blogger, ask yourself first, ‘What topics can I blog about that I won’t grow tired of?’ or ‘What topics in my field are a constant source of fascination for me?’ Choosing the right subject for your blog, which you’re inspired by, will make creating these posts a piece of cake.
One great part of blogging is that there are no rules on what to share. Therefore, you can be as dynamic as you want with your blog’s message. For instance:
- You can write articles that teach your followers tips and tricks about photography/videography and editing.
- You can dedicate your blog to sharing some of your favorite shots taken. This specifically is a great idea because most people are enraptured by visuals more than they are by words!
- Another idea is to share the experiences of taking a particular shoot. This is also a popular (and thriving) niche of photography blogging. Readers love seeing beautiful photos and learning about the inspirations and processes that brought them to life.
Whatever option you choose, don’t forget that your blog needs a substantial following to earn you good money. Once you hit a good number, you can earn thousands of dollars from blogging!
The most common way of earning money with a photography blog is from the ads placed in your published content. Once you reach 10000 visitors or more, you can apply for Monumetric, Ezoic, and Mediavine once you reach 50000 sessions.
These ad networks are some of the best for making passive income with a photography blog. I don’t recommend Ezoic since I had a negative experience with them in the past, but the other two are great. The more traffic you get to your website, the more money you will make.
3. Through The Stock Market
As a photographer, the stock market is a convenient way to make a passive income. Why? Investing in stock doesn’t infringe on your active income time. If you have a good amount of savings, rather than letting it sit in your bank account where it won’t yield interest, put it into something that will.
The stock market returns ten percent annually, which is way more than you’ll get from a bank. The longer you stay invested in the stock market, the more chances you present for your investments to soar.
Even better, the process of getting into stock isn’t difficult. All you need is a brokerage account, and setting it up doesn’t take more than an hour. Keep in mind that as a first-timer in the market of stocks, you should opt for index funds over individual funds.
4. Sell Your Photos Online
The world is going digital, and even businesses with physical locations are building an online presence to attract customers. This is a fantastic opening for photographers to make a passive income. How? Many of these businesses need to brand themselves online, utilizing logos, graphics, and unique photos.
If you’re a fluid photographer, take photos in various fields such as fashion, food, travel, architecture, and so on, and market those photos to online businesses for their brands. You can also sell Photoshop plugins. Lightroom presets and brushes, templates, and layouts.
Selling photos and templates online is a great passive income source since all you have to do is take the initial photos and then set them on your online page, e.g., your website or your Instagram account, for people to find.
You can add a price tag based on the time and effort you’ve put into the photos and the size of the business. If, for example, Mcdonald’s is interested in one of your food photos for their branding, you can charge as much as a few thousand dollars. For smaller businesses, you can sell your photos for hundreds of dollars, which will boost your bank account.
The trick to succeeding in this business is to take unique and captivating photos. Photographs that business owners will see and be eager to tack their brand name over it.
5. Sell Courses Online
Selling courses online is becoming one of the biggest ways to make money via the Internet. This is because there is a major demand for high-quality courses that can give people new skills or brush up on skills they are interested in pursuing.
Right now, the eLearning business market is over two hundred million dollars and is only growing. If your photography skills are spectacular and you have 101 lessons, newer photographers will benefit from. You can make a passive income from selling online courses.
Surveys have shown that online courses can generate an income of over ten thousand dollars and beyond in a month! If you’re wondering why this market is so lucrative, a major reason is that people fear student loans and would rather pay to acquire skills online than get into debt. Also, eLearning is extremely convenient.
To utilize this source of passive income, do your research and create an exceptional course about photography to stand out. You can sell this course repeatedly and make optimum profits from it. If you are still becoming a professional photographer, it’s worth it to enhance your skills to top quality so you can monetize online courses.
6. Put Your Photography Tools Up For Rent
If you own photography tools, putting them up for rent is a nice way of making a passive income. Many upcoming photographers don’t have their own gear either because they don’t have the funds or because photography is a side job they aren’t ready to invest in. Whichever reason, it creates a good business opportunity for you!
Whenever you aren’t shooting, you can put your tools up for rent on the right websites and earn between a hundred to a thousand dollars in a matter of weeks. The more you rent it out, the more you’ll pump up your bank account. This means you can make money when your camera is in use and when it’s not.
If you’re wary about handing out your gear to other people, you can put up a clear clause that states that the renter will pay a certain amount for any damages. This will not only prompt them to be careful with your property, but it will also provide security for you and your equipment. The more you rent, the more likely you’ll have regulars you can trust with your gadget.
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7. Sell Images and Videos through Photography Platforms
As a photographer, you are already taking a lot of photos, so why not make a passive income by selling some of them online? Stock photography platforms provide a channel for photographers to sell their images to seeking buyers.
Through these platforms, the customers will buy the license to your visuals and utilize them for their brands. One of the best parts about this is that you can sell the same image to multiple clients, depending on the rights you keep for yourself in the process.
A fact that will help you succeed in this path is researching to find out what kind of images have the highest demand. If you are a wedding photographer, then wedding dress photos may have the most appeal to content managers in your niche. Whereas, if you are a food photographer, then gourmet meals may be having their moment. And so on. Find out what social media managers and content creators are avidly seeking and provide it for them.
Also, research all the stock photography platforms and choose one with the most convenient charges. Why? Because every one of these platforms has different rates. Some websites you can sell your visual products through include:
- Alamy: You get fifty percent of the direct purchases for exclusive photos with Alamy. For non-exclusive photos, you’ll be looking at forty percent.
- Getty: Getty is one of the most popular photography platforms for licensing your work. But be ready for rejections, too as not every image you submit will get approved at Getty.
- SmugMug Pro: With this platform, you will receive eighty-five percent of the money from photo sales.
- Shuttershock: Shuttershock is popular, but it provides creatives with twenty to thirty percent of the sales directly from the site. Be aware that many thieves steal photography from unsplash, pexels and Pixabay and upload the images on Shutterstock. It happened to my work, and there isn’t much you can do about it but only to report those who steal your images.
Create a collection of stock photos and make a nice passive income through them!
8. Start a Print on Demand Business (POD)
Print on demand (or POD) is a creative means for a photographer to earn a side income. All you need to do is gather a nice collection of photos and sell them online to suppliers of caps, t-shirts, jacket covers, phone cases, posters, bags, canvas, etc.
A favorable fact about this passive source of income is that you don’t put down any money for the product. You’re not selling t-shirts and bags with prints; you’re only selling what goes on them for a substantial amount. And the prints you sell can be created while working on other paid jobs. For instance, if you are a travel photographer working on a shoot for a magazine, you can also take beautiful landscape pictures, architecture pictures, or aesthetic flat-lay photography that isn’t for the original shoot and sell those pictures.
If you are a food photographer, you can take a photo of the object from a different point of view and sell that. With this business, you won’t be taking any monetary risks or facing the possibility of a loss as it is with selling printed products.
Once you have your online page set up, it will pretty much run by itself. With a few clicks on your computer, you can fulfill a client’s order for your product! You can read more about this type of business in this article.
A tip for thriving in this business is to take captivating photos. Pictures that go on a t-shirt or tote bag, for example, are typically vibrant ones that catch the eye. That is what most white-label product supplies look out for when researching for businesses to patronize.
Take animated photos: a girl licking her lips after a burger bite, a sunset with a rainbow of colors, or a cup of coffee that seems about to spill over. Captivating pictures will help you thrive in this side business!
9. Start a printable business
Starting a printable business as a photographer can be a great way to showcase your work and earn money from your passion. Here are some steps to get started:
Determine your niche: Before starting a printable business as a photographer, it’s important to determine your niche. This could be anything from landscape photography to portraits to street photography. Knowing your niche will help you focus your efforts and create a cohesive collection of prints.
Create a portfolio: A portfolio is essential to showcase your work and attract potential customers. It’s important to choose your best and most representative work to showcase your skills and style. You can create a physical or online portfolio through a website or social media platform.
Choose a printing method: There are many printing methods available, from home printers to professional printing services. It’s important to choose a printing method that produces high-quality prints that accurately reflect the colors and details in your photos.
Decide on pricing: Pricing can be tricky, as you want to ensure you’re earning a profit while also pricing your prints competitively. Research what other photographers in your niche charge for prints and factor in your printing and marketing costs.
Set up an online store: An online store is a great way to reach a wider audience and sell your prints directly to customers. There are many platforms available, such as Etsy, Shopify, or Squarespace, that make it easy to set up an online store.
Market your business: Marketing is essential to attract customers and promote your printable business. You can use social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) to reach potential customers and drive traffic to your online store. Additionally, you should take advantage of collaborations with influencers to reach a new audience and expand your business.
Starting a printable business as a photographer takes time and effort, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding way to showcase your work and earn money from your passion.
10. Take on Freelancing Work
Taking freelance gigs is another great way to boost your bank account passively. There are freelance platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork, and so on where clients are easier to find because they actively seek your services. The reason for registering yourself on these platforms is that people are more eager to buy from a one-stop shop service.
Keep in mind though, that freelancing might require that you lower your prices from what you typically charge. If you are not interested in pricing your services lower than usual, consider providing only a portion. For instance, you can offer to edit amateur photos professionally. You can also do the same with video editing and creating social media content for brands.
Create an impressive portfolio that will grab the eyes and make you stand out amongst other freelancers! And one more thing… Offer something extra that can add value to a brand, and that will guarantee that you will get hired and recommended to other companies.
11. Start a YouTube Channel
Starting a YouTube channel is another highly effective way to make a passive income as a photographer. YouTube is among the most popular platforms in the United States and worldwide. This means you can reach thousands of people and spread the word about your brand or the products that you are selling.
While creating a YouTube channel to talk about your services can draw awareness to your brand, there are many other ways of making money with a YouTube channel as a photographer and content creator.
An easier way to make a passive income as a photographer through YouTube is by joining the YouTube Partner Program. You can become part of the program when you reach 4000 watch hours and a thousand subscribers. Next, you have to sign up for an AdSense Account, and then you can earn an income from Ad revenue or YouTube Premium Revenue.
The more viewers watch your videos, the more money you earn. Be aware that the earnings can be minimal to almost non-existent if you don’t have visitors from top-tier countries. While you’ll need to create and share content to keep your page active, this is a good example of a passive source of income making you money while you sleep!
Another way to earn an income is by posting content about your brand and using it as an advertisement to draw people to your services. Remember that this method is a long game, so it might not yield returns initially.
Lastly, you can become an affiliate partner on YouTube. Some companies invest in affiliate marketing on social platforms, so they reach out to those who sell photography-related products. When you encourage your viewers to purchase those products or services, you’ll get your cut from the pay.
12. Start a TikTok page
TikTok is similar to YouTube, except that it is much easier to make money than YouTube. Since TikTok is not oversaturated yet, there is room for almost every niche to grow and become popular in a relatively short period of time. Besides, TikTok offers several ways to make money, which applies to photographers too.
Start doing live shows on TikTok: When you do Tiktok live, and your audience is watching, you can encourage them to send you virtual gifts, which some users are making thousands of dollars every week only from TikTok live. To reach this kind of income, you must be consistent, post videos daily, and promote your content using specialized social media agencies. At the same time, you focus on creating and sharing content.
TikTok Creator Fund: TikTok offers a Creator Fund program that pays eligible creators for creating engaging content. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old, have 100,000 followers, and have amassed at least 100,000 video views in the last 30 days.
Promote your photography business: Use TikTok to showcase your photography skills and promote your photography services to potential clients. You can create short videos showcasing your portfolio and the types of photography you specialize in.
Collaborate with brands: Look for brands that align with your photography style and approach them for sponsored collaborations. For example, if you specialize in landscape photography, you could collaborate with outdoor gear or travel companies.
Drone footage and videos are very popular, and you could charge higher rates than standard photography and videography. Also, there is product photography which many brands are paying large amounts of money to have their items displayed professionally.
Sell your prints: Use TikTok to promote your prints and direct followers to your website or online store where they can purchase your photography prints.
Offer photography tutorials: Share your photography knowledge and skills by offering tutorials on TikTok. You could offer tips on how to take great photos, how to edit photos, or even share behind-the-scenes looks at your photoshoots.
Participate in challenges and contests: TikTok regularly hosts challenges and contests, and photographers can participate and potentially win prizes or exposure for their work.
Overall, the key to making money on TikTok as a photographer is to showcase your skills, build a following, and be open to creative ways to monetize your content.
There are so many options for photographers to make a passive income through. The list above also shows that having a passive income source does not entirely involve ‘making money while you’re asleep.’ It requires time and effort, but none that will take valuable time from your day-to-day job. Each one requires minimal effort, and the longer you stay at it, the more they yield good returns.
Choose one (or more) of the sources above that work for you, and start filling up your pockets with extra pay!