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How to Make Money with Digital Cameras

pretty small town next to a lake and mountains covered in snow
There are a lot of opportunities for making money with your digital camera without quitting your regular job. Whether you are interested in sporting events, portraits, wedding, fashion, modeling portfolios, or sell stock photos, you can start making money from home without a studio.

Here are some tips to make money with a digital cameras:

  • You will need a decent DSLR camera. Good brands are Canon, Nikon, and Leica.
  • You also need several lenses depending on the type of photography you want to get involved in. For sports photography, you’ll need a telephoto lens. For portrait and modeling photography, you’ll need at least a 50mm and 90mm lenses. Zoom lenses are also available in many different ranges, such as 24-70mm, 70-200mm, and more.
  • Spend time studying your digital camera by reading the manual and taking pictures using different setting and picture modes during different time of day.
  • Study your photos to compare the best photos at different settings and lightings. You need to learn about setting your camera at the right aperture, shutter speed, and ISO for the right composition. You can use auto or program mode for some of your photography and compare them to your manual setting. The auto mode set the aperture and shutter speed automatically for the existing lighting condition to give you a decent image.
  • Practice every day taking pictures of anything that interest you. Things like landscape, household items, people, animals, automobiles, buildings, etc. The secret to becoming a great photographer is to take up to 100 images per day. The more pictures you take, the better you get at it.
  • Beware of camera shake because it causes blurry images. For most shots you won’t need a tripod. However, you need to practice holding the camera steady, especially in low lighting condition.
  • Use your imagination, creativity, and try to take unique pictures. Watch out for very busy background, your shadows in the viewfinder, and any distraction.
  • Remember that it takes time to become good at taking high-quality shots. Fortunately taking digital photos is not costly. You can review your pictures along with its aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and other information without printing your pictures.
  • Selling pictures will require marketing to prospective customers. You will need to determine your buyers and how to reach them.
  • Website, blog, and social media still remain the best way to market your photographs without spending much money. Use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to spread the word as soon as new photos are being posted in your blog or website.
  • Try to submit your best photos for display on top photography sites like Shutterstock to get more business.
  • Contact local businesses and ask if they need pictures of their current inventory for their websites. Many businesses don’t have the time or resources to take photos of their location, inventory, or staff. If they don’t have a website, offer to establish one for them.
  • Go to tourist areas near a popular vacation destination. Tourists want to relax and many may want quality photos with their family or loved one. You can easily provide the customer with a CD of the photographs.
  • Work as a freelance photographer by putting together a portfolio and then presenting it to publication to get lucrative assignments.
  • Take pictures of wedding and graduation ceremonies. You can sell the photos to families and graduates.
  • Offer photography service for property owners who need a photo of their house and belongings for insurance purposes in case of theft or natural disaster.

Once you can take decent pictures, you may want to become specialized in certain type of photography.

DSLR camera on tripod facing beautiful landscape

Here are the easiest types of money-making photography to break into:

Portrait Photography

Taking portraits is easy and fun. You can spend a lot of time photographing children and family members. Word-of-month will be your biggest tool in this industry.

You can post images on your blog and social media. However, always get a model release and contract signed before you can display pictures of anyone for profit.

You can begin with friends and family for practice. Once you can take good pictures, you can go into business as a freelance photographer taking portraits.

The money you charge will depend on your location. You can easily find out by calling a few local photographers. Since you won’t be using a studio, you will need to set a lower amount.

Wedding Photography

If you enjoy attending weddings or special events, you could specialize in taking wedding photographs. You should be aware that weddings are often on weekends.

You could start as a second shooter in order to gain experience and confidence to break into weddings photography on your own. You may end up photographing up to four weddings per month.

Most clients choose a local photographer rather than paying for one to fly across the country to shoot their weddings. However, you could work your way into the high-end market working with clients who are willing to pay the premium for a photographer they know and trust to travel to their location. What you need to do is to send few great photos to the owner.

newly married couple hogging next to a lake

Sports Photography

If you have passion for sports, know the sports, and know the athletes, you can easily make money with sports photography.

In order to start a sports photography business, you need to have both the equipment and the expertise.

You need a decent DSLR camera. The camera should have continuous focus in order to take sports photographs. Continuous focus keeps the camera focused on players instead of requiring you to re-focus each time when players move around. Your camera should be able to take at least seven frames per second, and have high ISO performance for taking images in the evening where the light is low. You also need a good telephoto lens such as 70-200 mm or stronger.

You also need a laptop computer and at least two high-capacity memory cards compatible with your camera. Be sure to back up your images on site. It is a good idea to print large images of your best work to attract customers during sporting events.

If you just starting out, you can approach high school coaches and athletic directors to shoot games as well as athletic portraits.

Be sure to make a list of events within the area you want to cover. Check online for websites of sports venues and sports associations for a calendar of their events.

Research the events and look for the phone number of the person in charge of the organizations. Call them, and introduce yourself and ask if the organization has an official photographer. If they do, ask if it would be all right to send them a sample of your work and a brochure along with your contact information, so they have it on file should they need a photographer in future.

If they don’t have an official photographer, propose your services. Ask about their requirements and start the negotiations. Set up an appointment to meet in person and to show your portfolio.

Make sure to be in the sporting event an hour early to go over all the details and to get your equipment ready in your booth. Take the best images you can. Be sure the participants are easily recognizable on the images.

You can create packages with several prints, including CDs, with all the images.

Sell Prints and Stock

There are plenty of opportunities for photographers with companies such as iStock Photo, Shutterstock, and many others. You can shoot what you are passionate about and try submitting 20-50 or more images a week to online stock photo agencies.

If your city hosts parade and carnivals, you could take several great shots and offer the pictures for sale.

Another area with plenty of opportunities is taking model composites and portfolios. You can work with modeling schools, modeling agencies, or simply advertise online and offline. Working with models is fun and rewarding. You can also sell your pictures as stock photos as long as you have a model release.

In conclusion, if you can take professional photographs, then you can turn your photography passion into a part-time or full-time money making adventure.

By Robert Stevens – 2019 – Update 2020
Copyright © 2019-2020 Allied Publishing
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For additional articles written by Robert Stevens, see Robert Stevens is the author of How to Make Money With Your Camera published in 2019.

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