Photography is a lucrative business if only you know how to make the most of it. It is a good thing to have a passion for photography but it is even much better if you can translate your passion into money. Of course, we all have bills to pay and inability to measure up can be quite frustrating. This article has been written to help you in maximizing your income as a photographer.

Frankly, becoming a professional photographer is quite easy, the major hurdle you have to scale is buying the necessary equipment and having a good eye. However, building a successful career as a photographer is quite difficult. It is estimated that as high as 60 percent of photographers do not last more than a year in the business and another 25 percent don’t make it past the second year.

See also: 15 Photography Business Ideas


So, if your dream is to become a professional photographer and get paid for your photos, you have to strategize. This guide will provide you with tips for maximizing your income as a photographer. Shall we?

The first tip I will give on maximizing your income as a photographer is,

Offer Smaller “Mini-sessions”

It is common knowledge that majority of clients will only hire a professional photographer for a large event such as a wedding but they won’t consider hiring one for a smaller session because they think it would be too expensive and take too much time to make it worthwhile. I’m sure you have an idea as to where I’m going with this.

By offering shorter and less expensive mini-sessions, you can easily maximize your client base and your time. This way, you get new clients who will most likely book you later for their big events. When you strategically integrate mini-sessions into your list of offerings, they make maximizing your income as a photographer easier.

Offer Discounts on Volume of Order or Number of Shoots Per Year

This is a very logical thing to do. It is a tried and tested method that has worked for many, it will work for you too if you know how to apply it. Offer clients a discount for larger print order volumes or you can give them a discount if they book a certain number of photo shoots with you per year. It has been observed and backed up by statistics that you sell more if you offer this sort of package to your clients.

See also: How to Start A Photography Business With Little or no Money

Statistics indicate that you can potentially sell up to 73 percent more product if you offer it as part of a bonus package; the same applies to bulk orders too. You can also consider offering discounts for shoots that are booked at certain times of the year, such as a spring shoot when the weather begins to change.

Consider Stock Photography

A third tip I’m going to be giving you for maximizing your income as a photographer is to consider stock photography. Stock photography is simply the supply of photographs that are often licensed for specific uses. Stock photos are perfect tools for marketing and advertising, for promotional work, for personal or commercial creative projects, for publishing, for websites and blogs, and many more.

Those who need your stock photos will pay you a license fee. If you take creative photos that tell a story, you should seriously consider selling your photos to stock photography websites. This way, you get to earn passive income which can be substantial depending on how many photographs you are able to license to people. You can license your photos through sites such as Flickr, Getty Images, and 500px.

Although stock photos may sell for only a few cents to a dollar, many photographers have several hundreds of images on multiple stock photography sites and the average monthly earnings for stock photographers in 2009 was over $800 per month. I’m sure you see the potential in this.

Offer Free Shooting For a Cause

While working for free shouldn’t be your priority as it is a complete waste of your time since you won’t be earning an income, you should, however, volunteer to take photographs at charity events once in a while to network and also gain goodwill and exposure within your local community. Include your watermark on the photos you take and ensure you are tagged on social media to get the best results.

You can also auction off a photography session for charity. This way, you will be donating to a good cause and getting name recognition.

Sell Large-scale Prints or Offer Unique Materials

Another thing you can do to maximize your income is to offer large-scale prints or unique materials. You can offer couples large wrapped canvas prints to help them commemorate their special day in a special way. By offering them stunning wrapped canvas prints which they can display proudly, you help them remember their special day in a unique way. In addition to large, wrapped canvas prints, you can also offer prints on nontraditional materials such as metal or acrylic prints.

See also: How to Start a Photography Business From Home

Start a Referral Program

A great way to also maximize your income is setting up a referral program. You offer clients a discount for referring their family and friends. This system works on multiple levels: It encourages your clients to return especially if you choose to offer the discount on their next session and it brings in new clients.

Offer Themed Photo Shoots

You should consider offering fun themed packages for your clients in addition to standard themed shoots for major holidays, senior pictures, and weddings. A good way of doing this is offering boudoir-themed photo shoots. This can also be a great chance to build a relationship with a local hair and makeup salon as well, as you could offer the client, makeup and hair services before the shoot.

You can also consider offering photo shoots for less standard holidays, such as a Halloween-themed shoot where families can capture their children’s adorable costumes, or take advantage of season changes by offering seasonal shoots.

Collaborate With Businesses Where Your Target Clients Spend Time and Money

As a photographer, you will need to build solid relationships within your community. Having good relationships with businesses where your target clients spend time and money is a good way of ensuring that you can get them easily should they require your services.

You can offer a discount to businesses you partner with for new clients referred by them. You can also create some beautiful flyers or small cards to leave at such businesses, showcasing your photography work, with a small discount for new clients.

Another thing you can do is shoot promotional photos for such businesses with the stipulation that they refer clients to you or they mention your services on all their social profiles.

Shoot a Sporting Event or Nightclub

A very good tip for maximizing your income as a photographer is shooting a sporting event or a nightclub. Search out events in your area. Events such as youth sporting events, concerts, or even nightclubs, and offer to shoot these events. There is every chance you would meet a few new clients there and this will generate more income for you.

Start a Photography Blog or YouTube Channel.

You can earn extra income by starting your own photography blog where you share tips and your photography experiences. Bloggers earn money mainly through ads and sponsored content. If you are an adept writer in addition to being a photographer, you should consider doing this. This is a good approach to maximizing your income as a photographer. You can also earn money by starting a photography channel on YouTube. You get to do the same things you do on your blog on the channel.

Have a Contest For a Free Photo Shoot

If you are looking to grow your mailing list, you can hold a contest for a free photography session and have participants sign up with their email. That way, you get to have more people on your mailing list with a potential of turning them to clients. To sweeten the deal, you can offer those who didn’t win the contest a small discount on your services.


Maximizing your income as a photographer doesn’t take much if you know the right things to do. This article has pointed you in the right direction. It will ensure you do not fall among the 85% of photographers who don’t make it past the second year in the business.

You, however, don’t have to follow every tip in this tutorial. You can pick your favorites and implement them. This way, you can optimize the few systems you decide to follow rather than have so many non-productive systems.

Author: Arinze

A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography

About Arinze

A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography

View all posts by Arinze →

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