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How to make money with your camera: earn cash with your photography

Want to profit from your images? Fancy an extra stream of income? Whether it's portraits, events or even fine art that's your thing, here's what you need to know

If you’re serious about photography, the chances are that you’ve considered trying to make money from your images. While the world of professional photography may seem scary, the truth is there’s never been a better time to put your skills to use.

With many different genres on offer and cameras more affordable than ever, now is the time to take your first step onto the pro ladder. This feature will break down some of the ways you can make cash from your camera, the right kit to invest in and how to market your images to the masses.

How to make money from portrait photography

While some genres of photography have shrunk in recent years, portrait photography has held strong. Parents will always want pro images of their kids, and aspiring models will always need prints for their portfolios. While competition in this field is intense, there’s no reason why someone with solid technique and a flair for self-promotion can’t excel.

While it’s good to offer your own distinct portrait style, be conscious of visual trends that customers might ask you to adopt

1. Parent power 

Family photography is big business, and tapping into the genre can bring decent rewards. Parents are always looking for bargains, so a savvy approach is to offer discounts – particularly around school holidays when it’s more likely that parents and kids are free for a photo shoot. Listing your website or Facebook page details on school boards can increase interest too.

2. School success

Speaking of schools, an alternative form of portraiture that many photographers step into is the field of formal school images. Many parents feel duty-bound to purchase these prints, so there’s already a captive audience for your work.

Be aware that, at least in the UK, you'll need to gain the approved DBS (also known as CRB) background checks before schools will allow you onto their grounds for photography sessions. Various organisations can arrange this paperwork, but they all require a fee usually ranging between £25 and £40.

3. Model opportunities

Top tip

If you shoot portraiture, especially out on location, make sure you have liability insurance in case anyone gets hurt or property is damaged.

Models looking to book a photographer for test prints are looking for a proven and reliable professional. Joining websites such as Model Mayhem gives you an opportunity to built a reputation as a trustworthy shooter through reviews and recommendations. Additionally, working with a variety of models expands your base of contacts, so if a job comes in from a client, for example, you have numerous subjects to call into the studio to fulfil the commission.

4. Baby boomers

One of the newer trends that’s enjoyed an increase in popularity in recent years is baby photography. Rather than classic studio photography, today’s parents prefer a more nature, reportage feel to portraiture of their newborns

Photography courses are available from the likes of Newborn Workshops to help you learn how to safely handle and pose newborns. These courses can also help you network and build contacts with other professionals in the field.

Family and baby photography is a growing area. Many families are looking for natural-looking, informal shots rather than the formal posed studio work of the past

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