There’s no mistaking that the professional photography industry has taken a hit over the last ten years, with budgets being squeezed, and day rates being slashed. However, for good photographers, there’s still money to be made and your camera can still be the key to paying the bills.
So, if you are thinking about taking the first step into professional photography, or you’re a working shooter who wants to step up their game, there are a number of things to can try to increase sales and attract more clients. Here’s five ways you could make more money…
1 – Share your knowledge:
If you’re an expert photographer who has mastered the techniques of your particular genre, you could make even more money by sharing your knowledge with other photographers looking to improve their skills. Running a workshop will give you the opportunity to teach these skills in a real world environment, so you can demonstrate with the camera in an appropriate location. More and more workshops are starting up, so you need to make sure you offer a decent package – attendees need to know they will learn something genuinely useful for their money and the locations you take participants too need to be inspirational.
One key way to ensure you give participants bang for their buck is to limited the numbers of the group so that each member gets plenty of proper, one-to-one tuition time with the professional, including time to ask questions and even to review the images they are producing. Tuition isn’t limited to taking pictures either! In fact, many pro photographers are already giving tuition on image-editing too, with some offering one-to-one advice over the internet, so they can explain Photoshop or Lightroomprocesses in real time.
2 – Diversify into other genres:
The truth is that most photographers stick to one photographic genre – probably because they have a huge passion for it or are particularly good at that sort of photography. But it’s a lot rarer for professional photographers to crossover into completely different genres – for example, there aren’t many shooters who will photograph architecture one day and then dive into the hustle and bustle of press photography the next.
However, diversifying your skills set will lead to more opportunities make money and will build a broader client base. What’s more, a lot of the skills you are already using will be transferable – albeit to a varying degree. Architecture photography, for example, isn’t a huge leap from landscape photography and tends to use much of the same equipment (big-megapixel cameras and wide-angle lenses).
3 – Make it more than a digital file:
Professional photography can be more than simply taking an image, editing it with software and then sending the file on to the client via FTP. Expanding the range of ‘products’ you can offer will mean an improvement to your bottom line. For example, many portfolio websites, such as Zenfolio and Smugmug, offer services to supply canvases and prints at trade prices, meaning you not only get a better deal on the raw materials, but also are also able to take advantage of online payment and gallery options that make the whole process much easier and more attractive to clients.
In fact, some platforms even enable you to use your photos on accessories like cushions, keyrings, mugs, mouse mats and much more. These products will find much appeal for clients of wedding or portrait photographers as customers search for ways to show off the stunning prints of their big day or beautiful family members. Even if the client wants to keep the photo ‘digital’, there’s still routes to make money – what about handing over the image on a bespoke USB stick?
4 – Put on an exhibition:
If you’ve taken some great images, why not make a big deal about them and put on an exhibition? By renting some gallery space and marketing the exhibition properly, you could create a space with a captive audience… all admiring the big, beautiful prints you’ve created. Many attending exhibitions love exclusivity, so limiting the amount of prints-per-image will help justify charging a premium price. Hosting a opening night and inviting local media will help generate buzz, along with giving prospective buyers and opportunity to ask questions about the imagery.
5 – Approach local businesses:
Head out to a restaurant or other local business in your hometown and the chances are that you’ll see prints of area – local landmarks, for example. Shops, restaurants and other businesses could prove to be a new outlet for your photography but it’s not just about trying to sell the odd print to a willing shop owner. Instead, why not try striking a deal, and allowing the shop to decorate their walls with your prints in return for them to sell the prints on your behalf.
This way you get to place the prints on prime real estate with a heavy footfall as different customers drift in and out the establishment, admiring your work. With the shop/restaurant owner handing out your business card to those interested, you could find you sell a lot more prints or canvases than you may of imagined.