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How to Start Making Money from your Digital Photography Hobby

If you never go anywhere without your digital camera in hand and love to spend time editing your snaps with Photoshop, have you ever thought about turning this hobby into a tidy source of side income? There’s a booming market for online stock photos, as well as a continued need for traditional options like wedding, portrait, and real estate photography. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.


Become a wedding photographer
One of the most profitable endeavours for budding digital photographers is to document the special days of happy couples. Wedding photography pays well, but it can also be difficult to break into when you’re just starting out. You may need to brush up on your technical photography skills, volunteer your services to a mentor, or use a friend’s wedding to build a portfolio. However, even when you’re photographing a friend’s wedding, never work for free. This type of event involves a lot of hard work, so charge a fair fee. The type of gear you use makes a difference for wedding photography, so if you don’t have high-end equipment you’ll want to rent it at first.

Become a real estate photographer
Another lucrative niche to get into is real estate photography. With the housing market rebounding, there’s a growing demand for talented photographers who are willing to venture out to houses to photograph the exterior and interior shots. Most houses are now listed online, so digital photography is more important than ever. You won’t need as much of your own equipment for this type of job as you would for wedding photography, since you’re taking photos of still rooms. A good tripod is a must, however.
Sell from your own website.

If you prefer to take travel, fine art, or even stock photography shots, you could try selling these by setting up your own website. Many photographers successfully offer their images for download using standard ecommerce software. Be sure to watermark your images so that they can’t be downloaded for free, and set a price for each size and type of use. Ecommerce software helps you set up a shopping cart online, or you could link to PayPal yourself on a basic WordPress site if you’re web-savvy.
Sell images through a stock website.

Do you want to sell your own photos but don’t want to deal with the rigmarole of running your own website? Sign up for one of the numerous stock photography libraries online like Shutterstock or Getty Images and sell your work there. Be aware that they will take a cut for the trouble, and may not accept the majority of your images. Stock photography can be difficult to break into, but it can be quite lucrative as you build your skills and portfolio. Be sure to read through editorial guidelines before submitting your photos, as stock libraries are usually looking for something very specific.

Getting paid to take photos can be a dream come true, even if it’s just a hobby. Try breaking into a niche market like wedding photography or getting into the stock photography business to start monetizing your talent.

image via Wikimedia Creative Commons

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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