Money from photography

49 Ways to Profit from Photography & Video

Design and produce calendars.
A well designed calendar can be sold through shops and also be used as promotional material for businesses. A good calendar is an all-year-round advert for companies who send them to their customers. Business names and addresses can easily be added to calendars with space for additional printing. Canvas firms or retail outlets with your best designs. Samples can be used to take orders before printing in quantity is arranged.

Child photography as a business opportunity.
Whether it`s the traditional school photograph, or a privately arranged photo session, this area of photography will always be popular. A good child photographer will never be short of work. If you think you have the skills and knowledge to be successful, don`t be put off by the competition. Produce a good portfolio and advertise your services. Having a studio of your own is a definite advantage, but natural outdoor photographs can be just as effective. If your budget is restricted you can always hire a studio when the need arises. Suggested reading: Photographing Children by David Wilson

Combine your photographic and computer skills.
It will open up a whole new world of opportunities. One idea is to produce compact disks that will sell to tourists. Imagine being able to provide a disk full of beautiful images of popular tourist resorts. In particular, areas of outstanding beauty and historical interest. Images might include castles, historical landmarks, statues, stunning scenery, local craftworkers, famous buildings, the list is endless. Background information could also be included in the form of a text file or PDF document. With a CD writer you can start by making your own. An attractive CD case is essential to catch the eye of potential buyers. Sell through tourist information centres and local gift shops.

Produce a DVD on how to become a better driver.
Use sequences that demonstrate how not to drive and how to drive correctly. Educate drivers by testing their knowledge of the highway code using questions and answers based on this subject. Sell the dvd’s by mail order and through driving schools on commission.

Photograph and sell framed pictures of private residences and public houses.
Canvas up-market areas with suitable samples to show prospective customers. Offer a choice of two different sizes and a choice of frames. Take payment on delivery to ensure the customer is happy with the picture. If not, you can always take another photograph.

Start a business selling blank Cd’s, Dvd’s and blank Blue-ray disks in bulk.
As an extra service, consider offering duplication facilities for duplicating Dvd’s and CD’s in quantity. Also provide a photographic design and print service for CD, Dvd and Blu-Ray sleeves and cases. Mass duplication can be very lucrative once the business is well established and advertised in the right places.

Offer a service for converting and duplicating Dvd’s from various countries.
Different broadcasting standards exist throughout the world. Each standard is incompatible with the others. In the UK the PAL format is used. The USA and Japan use the NTSC format, and in France and parts of the Middle East the SECAM format is used. Affordable equipment is now available to convert the signal and copy Dvd’s on to compatible formats for those people who don`t have a multi-standard player. This would be a useful service to people who send videos to relatives in other countries. Check the video magazines for equipment suppliers.

Start your own video production company producing d.i.y. promotional demos.
This idea has a lot of potential for a creative person or team. Not only could you produce demonstration videos for in-store promotions, you could also upload and manage content for showing videos online at various video sharing sites such as You Tube and Daily Motion. For in-store promotions combination TV and dvd players can be hired out to d.i.y. and hardware stores to demonstrate products that have been filmed and transferred on to DVD.

Specialise in industrial photography.
Many companies require photographs of their plant or premises for inclusion in promotional material, as well as framed photographs for the workplace and exhibition purposes. If you can make a boring subject look interesting, so much the better. Stark, black and white industrial landscapes, enlarged and framed, always make an interesting subject for artistic prints. Promote your services direct to companies, using a well designed brochure.

Hire out a studio to photographers.
Obtain suitable premises, plus photographic lighting, camera equipment, and a selection of various props and costumes. Advertise the studio for hire in photography magazines. Send an illustrated leaflet and price guide to enquirers and freelance photographers.

Teach photography at evening class.
A good photographer, with experience in darkroom processing, could pass on his knowledge to enthusiastic beginners, and those who need to go a little bit further with their favourite hobby. Although digital photography is rapidly taking over traditional techniques, amateur photographers still get a thrill at seeing their photographs slowly but magically appear in the developing tray. If darkroom facilities aren`t available, you can still concentrate on the techniques of taking good photographs, with a little bit of processing theory thrown in for good measure.

Start a mail order business selling photographs of trains or aircraft.
The photos have to be good enough for framing, and you`ll need a good knowledge of what type of subject sells best. However, if you can take photographs which are dynamic and of a high quality, they are bound to catch the attention of the thousands of train and plane enthusiasts throughout the world. Sell your work on the internet and through specialist magazines.

Arrange trips for nature photographers.
This could range from simple bus trips to nature reserves, right up to a full blown safari holidays. Start small, but aim for bigger things. This idea has huge potential if set up and run professionally. If you`re an experienced traveller and have intimate knowledge of the best places for nature photography, you`ve got all the qualifications to make this business a success. If not, expanding the business will depend on how quick you can learn, and how good your organisational skills are.

Start a video service for filming childrens` parties.
Not everyone has a camcorder, or knows how to use one correctly. You can put your skills to good use if you`ve have had any practice filming children before. You could also video other types of party as well. Anniversaries, engagement parties, coming of age etc. If you don`t feel confident enough to run it as a business, get some experience first by doing it for friends, and expand your video skills by taking a college course in video production.

Produce baby videos.
As with the previous idea, a good knowledge of video techniques is preferred, but filming babies is much more straightforward. The trick here is to make them appear interesting. Although any nice images would satisfy doting parents, any film lasting more than 10 – 15 minutes without sufficient variety of shots and activity, will soon become boring. Apart from using your imagination to vary the shots, the best method is to produce a film over a period of time, Newborn babies change rapidly over the first few months. Being at the birth is a great opportunity to get a once-in-a-lifetime event on to tape, but unfortunately not always possible. However, a regular monthly visit to build a visual record of the babies changing appearance, plus a babies first steps, can compile into a fascinating record that is almost priceless.

Passport-sized photographs are used for a whole range of things, not just passports.
Membership cards, ID cards, licenses etc., and although there are photo booths widely available, some people prefer the personal touch. Better results are usually obtained this way. If you would like to offer this service you`ll need a polaroid passport camera, capable of taking a multi-image instant photograph. When developed, which normally takes just a few minutes, the photos are split using a special handheld cutter. Having a small studio with lights would be ideal, but with a little ingenuity you could offer a mobile service using portable lights and a suitable portable backdrop. You can charge a little bit more than the mechanical method, but don`t overprice yourself out of the market. Advertise your service in the local press and work within a twenty mile radius to make it financially viable.

Record special sports events.
For example, marathons, athletic meetings, golf tournaments, motor rallies. Package and sell them by mail order in specialist magazines. Include specific details of when and where each event took place. This will have the added advantage of appealing to people who were at the present event.

Become a freelance photographer.
Some pictures can be worth a fortune if you`re in the right place at the right time. To get the kind of pictures that make headline news however, means you`ll need to have good contacts. Having a close alliance with a good news reporter helps enormously. Being able to gain inside information on what is happening in the world of sport, entertainment and politics has it`s advantages. Specialising as a freelance magazine and press photographer means you need lots of energy, and be ready to travel at a moments notice. You can either specialise in photographing famous people, or interesting news events as they occur. Of course, there are ample opportunities for taking photographs of a less stressful nature. There`s a huge variety of magazines that specialise in all kinds of subjects. If your photographs fit their criteria you could well find a market for your work on a more regular basis.

Travel photography can be profitable if you`re a keen traveller.
There`s always a demand for good photographs that capture the essence and atmosphere of interesting locations. And it`s not just pretty landscape pictures that sell. Pictures that tell a story are always worth taking. Whether it`s the local inhabitants going about their work, or a fascinating close-up of an ageing face with a lifetime of experiences behind it, these type of pictures are always popular with travel magazines.

Become a ‘How-to’ video producer.
A talented video enthusiast, whether amateur or semi-professional, could specialise in making videos that show other people how to improve their skills or knowledge of a particular subject. For example, you could produce a series of Dvd’s that demonstrate how to play the piano, learn to play the guitar, or virtually any other musical instrument that you, or an aquaintance, has experience of. How about a series of Dvd’s on the art of cooking? There`s always programmes on tv that relate to cooking, but do any of them specialise in vegetarian dishes only, or chinese, or Indian cuisine? The market may not be huge, unless you hit on a winning idea, but even selling Dvd’s in small numbers can be very profitable.

Specialise in baby photography.
Some photographers can make a decent living out of taking photographs of babies. Especially when you have the chance to set up a portable studio in a place where there`s plenty of people. Shopping centres are ideal. However, if you build up a good reputation, people will come to you. A small shop or home studio, located in an easily accessible area, will do just fine. It takes skill to get a good shot of a baby, so go somewhere where you can watch how others do it, and learn from their techniques. When you think you`re ready to give it a go, start by practicing on friends` babies. Advertise in the local press and baby shops for starters.

Novelty photographs are a great way to remember a holiday, or a gathering of friends or relatives.
They`re fun to do and very profitable. The basis of this business idea is to dress people up in Victorian attire, have them pose, against an old fashioned background, in the way people did when photography was in it`s infancy. The photograph, would be taken using a modern camera of course, but adding a sepia tint during processing gives the appearance of an old Victorian photograph. Another slant on the idea is to use the theme of the American wild west. Dressing the clients up in old western gear, complete with authentic props such as rifles and holstered hand guns. As you would expect, this idea works best in a busy tourist area.

Aerial photographs of peoples homes make an interesting conversational piece.
Which is one of the main reasons they sell so well. Particularly in villages and upmarket residential areas. Arrangements will need to be made to get airborne and a medium format camera will give you the best results for enlargements. Once developed, canvas the area with the appropriate samples. Sales aren`t guaranteed, but a good percentage of people will be interested, at the right price. It`s therefore up to you to negotiate a sale.

Produce a series of gardening technique Dvd’s.
If you`re an experienced and knowledgeable gardener, or know someone who is, consider producing and selling a set of Dvd’s specialising in different areas of gardening. For example, one Dvd could be all about planting shrubs and trees, another about planting bedding plants, and another which shows how to plant and grow vegetables.

Photograph and produce a range of calendars based around popular pets.
For example, subjects might include various breeds of dog, cats, rabbits and hamsters in cute poses. Ponies, reptiles and insects could also prove popular. Test the idea first with one type of calendar design and aim to sell through pet shops and card shops.

Start a business running courses in video filming and editing techniques.
This could be a very profitable enterprise for an established semi-professional videographer, or a knowledgeable enthusiast with plenty of experience. Apart from a basic introduction course for beginners, you might also include specialised courses on how to make great wedding videos, holiday videos, wildlife videos or even glamour videos. Post production courses using up-to-date computer editing equipment and software could also be a possibility. Courses could be designed to run on a one-to-one basis, or in groups of three or more people, in which case course fees could be lower, but overall profits would be much higher. Advertise your services in amateur video making magazines.

Provide a video record/inventory service for insurance purposes.
People who own expensive or irreplaceable valuables could benefit from your service which would provide a high quality detailed visual record of the items in question, as well as proof of ownership. If an item was lost or stolen, a video showing the exact item would be extremely useful when making a claim, and helpful to the police when trying to recover stolen property. Jewellery, paintings, expensive clothing, even larger items such as cars, boats and motorhomes could be recorded in great detail. Landlords can also benefit from having a visual record of their rental property before it’s rented out to tenants, then if there are any missing items or damage to the property when the tenant moves out, the landlord has proof to offset expenses against the tenant’s bond.

Specialise in photographing scale models.
If you like scale modelling and photography, why not combine both, and specialise in taking photographs of models for magazine articles, framed prints, packaging designs or even write your own book to show other model enthusiasts how to take good photographs of their own models?

Offer a service that produces sports technique analysis Dvd’s.
These would be aimed at amateur and professional sportspeople. For example, this would be useful to people wishing to improve their swing technique in golf or tennis. A Dvd and expert analysis could show which parts need improvement and which parts are good. Your service could be offered directly through sports clubs or on a private tuition basis. A good knowledge of the sport in question is obviously a distinct advantage.

Set up a business producing photographic jigsaws.
Purchase the equipment to make your own or arrange for a firm to make them for you. Decide whether to produce the photos yourself, or hire a professional photographer. Sell through online and offline stores that are happy to stock them. Another possibility is to specialise in a certain niche. For example, glamour photos of beautiful women  could be turned into jigsaws and sold through adult shops or by mail order in suitable publications.

Specialise in producing ‘This is Your Life’ type of videos.
A nostalgic video can be easily produced using photographs and various nostalgic items collected throughout the subjects life. For instance, the video could start off with a picture of the birth certificate followed by photographs of the subject as a baby, along with images of their family and pictures of their schooldays, their first job, their first car, getting engaged, getting married, their first home, their first child etc. etc. Suitable music and titles would complete the film and make it more professional.

Produce Dvd’s of school plays and dance school competitions.
These are events where proud parents are sure to be interested in purchasing a well produced video record of their adorable children showing off their talents. Many copies can be made and sold from one good master Dvd. A percentage of profits can be allocated to the school as a way to raise funds for materials and equipment, as well as cementing a good relationship for future business.

Start a video dating service.
This would be run like a normal dating service, with the added advantage of being able to show potential partners a video compilation of different people, airing their likes and dislikes on tape. This way people can see what the other person looks like, and gets a feel for the characteristics and personality of each prospect.

Produce a keep fit or martial arts technique Dvd.
As a video producer, you don`t need to be a specialist in your chosen subject. You just need to find someone who is. Someone who is willing to use their expertise, along with a class of their own pupils, to help you produce a highly informative Dvd full of useful advice and demonstrated techniques. A share of the profits is all it takes to win over a willing partner. Completed Dvd’s can be sold to existing pupils, by mail order and through selected retail outlets.

Start a business that makes wedding videos.
There`s plenty of competition from people already established in this field. But with advances in digital photography and video, new and more exciting professional effects can be achieved with the equipment that is now available. A competent videographer should find it relatively easy to get a foothold in this popular small business.

Produce a Dvd for new dog owners that shows how to train a dog.
Each year thousands of people get a dog for the first time. Many are keen to train the dog properly right from the start. Dog training classes are not always available in some areas. They can also be expensive and not always held at convenient times. A dog training video would be ideal for helping people to teach their dog in their own time, and at their own convenience.

Make a Dvd for train enthusiasts.
Creating a train layout can be a challenging and fascinating hobby for those with an interest in electric toy trains. Someone with experience and intimate knowledge of modelmaking techniques could pass on their knowledge to other enthusiasts by helping you make a demonstration video. In fact, a series of Dvd’s would be more likely, to cover all the methods involved in planning and completing the finished item. Techniques might include how to make the scenery, the buildings, the people and all the other accessories which go into producing an impressive layout. Advertise the Dvd’s by mail order in model train magazines.

Photograph attractive scenic landscapes in popular tourist locations.
Have them enlarged, professionally mounted and framed and sell them through gift shops. Build up a reputation for producing stunning photographic landscapes. Retain the copyright to your work and contact an agency to sell your photographs to suitable publications.

Set yourself up as a wedding photographer.
If you have the expertise and talent to create professional quality pictures of people, this could be the ideal job. It takes patience, creative flair and good organisational skills, particularly when dealing with crowds of people. It also carries a lot of responsibility. which is reflected in the amount you can afford to charge. Suggested reading: The Art of Wedding Photography: Professional Techniques with Style

Specialise in food photography.
Your clients might include catering companies, food magazines, restaurants, cake decorators, and food manufacturers who supply the trade. Previous experience is preferred, but a good photographer can soon learn the `tricks of the trade`. (substitutes for real food are sometimes used to achieve the desired result)

Handy with a camcorder? Why not produce a set of DVD’s based on classic fairy tales?
Using a competent actor reading from a book, accompanied by overlayed illustrations in selected parts of the story, a high quality video production can easily be achieved. Have the actor read direct to camera, surrounded by an appropriate, well designed set. Ensure good sound recording levels are maintained and film on the best quality tapes. Preferably digital. Editing could be done in post production on your own desktop video computer, or through a post production house. Package and sell by mail order or through selected retail outlets.

Glamour photography is appealing to many amateur photographers.
One way to make it pay is to hire and arrange location shoots, along with agency models, and advertise glamour shoots in the popular photo magazines. Charge an appropriate fee to cover all expenses and retain the profits to expand your business. Aim to attract a minimum group of at least five or six amateur photographers per shoot. Larger groups can be organised, depending on facilities and location. Once established you might prefer to employ your own models to save on agency commission fees.

Produce a set of DVD’s that show how to use popular computer software.
Desktop publishing, database, spreadsheet and word processing applications, as well as the wide variety of graphics and web design software, are all suitable candidates. Using a good TV card enables the computer output to be recorded directly to digital video tape or dvd using a dvd recorder. Use someone with a good recording voice to narrate the instructions. Any required editing can be done with a suitable video editing package such as Adobe Premiere.

Photoglazing on to plates is always popular.
Particularly with doting parents who like to keep treasured photographs of their children. A photographer could offer this service as a sideline, or simply glaze other peoples` photographs. Affordable equipment is readily available, with materials generally available direct from the equipment supplier. Subject matter needn`t be confined to children. Groups of people, horses, pets, cars, or anything remotely photographic can be transferred.

Transfer your landscape photographs on to plates and sell through gift shops.
(see photo glazing on to plates above) Tourists are always on the look out for something attractive and useful. What better way to remind them of their holiday?

Another way to sell your photographs to tourists is through postcards Dvd sets.
Postcards don`t need to be confined to pretty landscapes either. Humorous images of various subjects are gaining in popularity. Check out your nearest gift and souvenir shops to see the choice on offer. Card shops should also be considered as another good source of revenue.

Pet photography may not be the easiest way to make a living.
But there’s always an opening for a good pet photographer. Animal photographs sell extremely well, especially dogs and cats. Whether it`s for a professional publication, or simply a local customer, there`s money to be made if you can produce the goods. Advertise your services locally. Leave a business card with satisfied customers. Ensure you retain the copyright, and with the owners permission, use the best examples of your work to place with a good agent for general publication.
Suggested reading: How to take Great Pet Pictures

Promotional videos for new bands and solo artists are an idel marketing medium.
There are good opportunities for talented camcorder owners to make some serious cash in this growing market. The high quality of computer-based digital video editing solutions puts professional quality video making within easy reach of more and more people. If you`ve got a head full of ideas in this direction, why not turn them into reality by starting your own video company? Promote your business to artists agents and through music magazines. Also, set up your own YouTube channel and build up a subscriber list.

Produce a regular newsletter or magazine aimed at photographers.
Make it primarily a magazine for people who want to make money with their camera. Articles about photographic techniques, business opportunities, money-making ideas should be a regular feature. Plus an index of useful contacts such as photographic agencies and publishing houses. Sell on subscription to interested people. Rent a mailing list of photo enthusiasts and promote your idea by direct mail.