Why do Photography? 12 Potential for a Career or Side Income

Photography, while often pursued as a hobby, holds the potential to evolve into a career or source of side income.

It did for me 🙂

The advent of digital technology, social media, and changing market dynamics has broadened the scope of opportunities available for photographers. Whether it’s selling prints, licensing images, or taking up professional assignments, there are numerous ways to monetize your photography skills.

If nothing else, the occasional sale makes it a self-funding hobby – so that £2000 lens isn’t digging into the savings.

Commissioned work

One of the most common ways photographers generate income is through professional assignments. These could include wedding photography, event photography, commercial photography, or portrait sessions. Such assignments require not just photographic skills but also the ability to engage with clients, understand their requirements, and deliver results that meet or exceed expectations.

Photography can also offer a career in more specialized fields. For example, wildlife or travel photographers might sell their work to magazines or book publishers. Food photographers often collaborate with restaurants and food magazines. Photojournalists tell stories through their images, working with news agencies or non-profit organizations.

Teaching Photography

For those who love the art of photography and wish to share their knowledge, teaching can be a fulfilling career choice. You could offer workshops, create online courses, or write instructional books or blogs. This not only provides an income but also helps foster a community around your work and passion. I run workshops – it’s incredibly rewarding, fun and I’ve made life long friends doing it. You do need the ability to explain difficult concepts to people – you do need to be clear in your language, patient and ready to answer any questions. 

If you prefer working independently, selling prints or licensing your images can be a viable option. Websites like Etsy, Redbubble, or stock photo platforms allow photographers to reach a global audience. Here, the key is to create work that resonates with people – it could be captivating landscapes, compelling abstracts, or beautiful macro shots. My Aston Martin DBS is the best seller on Redbubble

Social media platforms also offer avenues for income. With a substantial follower base, photographers can collaborate with brands for sponsored posts or affiliate marketing. Instagram, with its visually driven platform, has particularly emerged as a popular choice for such collaborations.

Don’t let it spoil your hobby though

Despite these potential avenues for income, it’s important to remember that building a career in photography requires time, patience, and dedication. It involves continuous learning and adapting to changing trends. It also requires building a portfolio, networking, and marketing your services effectively. Most of what I do is “finding work” rather than “taking photos”. If you’re ready for that – then go for it!

In conclusion, while photography can start as a hobby, it can certainly morph into a rewarding career or source of additional income. It offers the freedom to work in diverse fields, the joy of making a living from your passion, and the satisfaction of sharing your unique vision with the world.

Whether you choose to follow the path of professional photography or simply enjoy it as a hobby, the most important thing is to continue capturing the world through your unique lens, creating images that resonate with you and your audience.

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