Can You Make Money as a Photographer?
15th January 2019
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These days images are everywhere: profile pictures, newspapers, online news items, product images on selling sites, attractive images as background and interest features on almost every website out there. And thanks to the addition of high-quality cameras to smartphones and other devices that are carried about with us almost everyone has access to a reasonably good quality camera all the time. Apps and programs offer easy fixes and filters that can be applied to photographs to make them look even better, and it is very rare that any kind of family event takes place without several snapshots commemorating the occasion – even funerals are not exempt, with images and footage being taken to send to relatives who live too far away to attend in person. Despite this plethora of image availability, there is still a good market for high-quality printed photographs that can be framed and put on a mantelpiece or hung on the wall – and hundreds of photographers make a good living out of their craft. So why can you not join their numbers? Well, you can – but there are some points to take into consideration:

 

A Cautionary Tale

There are a huge number of working photographers out there and there is always enough work available for just one more. However, each of the photographers that are doing exceptionally well will have a little something that gives them the edge over the hundreds of other photographers who are also trying to make it big.

First of all, you will need decent equipment. No one is going to pay a fortune for having someone shoot a few auto shots on their mobile phone – after all, almost anyone can take a reasonable quality shot on their own phone. You will need to invest in a good quality camera and know how to use it exceedingly well. Nothing breaks the confidence of the customers quicker than seeing their expensive photographer fumbling around with their equipment, or even stopping to read the users' manual! You do not need to buy the most expensive new camera on the market, nor do you need to invest in every gadget and tool that your camera store holds – one or two decent cameras, with lens that range from close-ups to middle-distance focal lengths, plus a couple of gadgets (tripod, cable release, a flash or two) is all that most professional photographers carry with them. Do not forget, your equipment must be carried all day, when you are out on a shoot, and every pound seems to double or triple on itself by the end of the day.

 

You will also need to have a basic understanding of photo editing software. This does not mean that every image must be photoshopped to the point of unreality, rather just that you know how to fix minor errors, stack images to improve the overall quality, or even tweak the colours in the image to make it brighter, more subdued, or even fully black and white.


The above two points are must-haves for any fledgling photographer. But we are still not done with the list of essential needs: you must have the time to devote to planning and carrying out the photographic shoot, and more time to go through the images, lightly processing them and selecting the best ones for your customer. Then the photographs must be printed off and, if it is part of the deal, framed up for the customer, before being delivered – all in a previously agreed timeframe! And, as if that was not enough, you also have to learn to upsell your products, making sure that customers are lined up for the next few weeks, so you can be sure of a continuous income stream.


But even all of the above is not enough! Everything that has been mentioned so far is tangible and achievable with hard work and determination and the application of a little cash. The remaining asset that a good photographer needs cannot be bought or faked. Talent, which usually means having a good eye and a gift for snapping the shot at exactly the right moment, is something that people either have or do not have. Now, you can teach yourself how to frame a photograph and how to make a good image – but it is so much easier if this sort of thing comes to you intuitively. If people tend to admire your snapshot photography, then you probably have some talent in that direction, and a career as a photographer may well be the right step for you.

 

Give It a Go!

If you would like to make a little extra money and have all the attributes and skills mentioned above, why not have a go? The beauty of being a photographer is that you can set your own hours, so you could even try and get started with photography while keeping your day job to make sure you can still pay your bills.

If you have read the above and still really want to see if you can make it as a photographer – then go for it! Do not let anyone stand between you and the realisation of your dream job. At worst you will have learned your limitations, at best, your life could change dramatically for the better.

 

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