How To Make Money In Photography

How To Make Money In Photography

Do you love to take pictures? Photography doesn’t need to be only your hobby. I started the same way. I love photography with all my heart and to be honest, it is probably all that I have a talent for. 🙂

So I decided to turn my passion into my work. (also I can’t really say that I see it as that). However, I thought that’s an awesome idea, but how? I didn’t want to be a pass picture store owner. 😛 I also wasn’t brave enough to just call myself a professional photographer and just take money from people without a lot of experience in the professional world. Even though lots of people actually do that. So I had to be creative and find out how to make money in photography without having a bad feeling.

So Let’s get started then! 🙂

Stock Photography

I think the most obvious way to make money in photography would be stock photos. Although it’s not as easy as you think. There are two categories of stock sites Macrostock and Microstock.

What Is Stock Photography

I think most of you guys know what it is. For everybody else, stock photography sites are like Amazon for pictures. For example, if you have a blog and you need pictures for a certain topic, you could go to Shutterstock and buy some pictures that fit your needs.


Microstock sites like Shutterstock, Istock, Adobe Stock and so on sell a lot of pictures for cheap in opposite to Macrostocks. The demand for microstock has grown over the last couple of years. Since the popularity of self-publishers (like ebooks, blog, and stuff) has increased quite a bit. You will probably read on other blogs that the competition is crazy, but you know what? Competition has always been there so don’t let that stop you. If you have unique pictures there will be buyers. 🙂

How To Make Money In Photography

A little bit of a drawback is that that sites like that use to take 40% to 80% commission because the drive all the traffic and do the marketing. On the other hand, you can sell hundreds of pictures every day if you get the hang of it.

Tips for pictures that have worked best for me

  • Pets
  • Portraits or people photography
  • Food pictures
  • Product pictures

Those are just categories that have worked for me because I’m good in that type of photography, but if you are into another type of pictures I’m sure you will find a way. Just keep in mind that those pictures are meant to be mass consumed to don’t make them too personal 🙂


Macrostock is sold on the same sites as microstock the only difference is that they are sold only once and exclusive to the buyer for a way higher price. For example for a marketing campaign. While microstock are sold over and over again 🙂 I know it sounds like macrostock are better, but to sell them you got to have very high-quality pictures (don’t worry you will get there) 🙂

How To Make Money In Photography

Etsy and Printful

If you don’t know Etsy yet go have a quick look. Etsy is basically like Amazon for self-made stuff such as paintings and you guessed right pictures. You can sell you pictures there as a digital download or as a print.

What’s The Difference to Microstocks Then?

It’s different because you can set the prices yourself, market your pictures them and the best thing is you can keep all the commission 🙂

How To Get My Pictures Printed?

That was one of my first concerns how do I get it printed and how many should I print will I sell any? The Simple answer is Printful. It is a fulfillment service that prints things onto things like cups, clothes, other stuff and canvas in all kinds of ways 🙂 But they don’t stop there they print on demand and send it directly to your costumer. Isn’t that awesome 😀  just have a look here.

You can connect Printful with your Etsy store. So when a customer clicks on buy, money will be transferred to you and Printful (for the print) and the product will be made and shipped with the click of only one button. AWESOME 🙂

One thing you should keep in mind though is, that you find your own style that sets you apart from other stores.

Connect With Others to Be a Backup Shooter for Weddings

Another way to make money in photography is to go and shoot weddings. If you are like me you probably think BORING and how the hell am I not gonna mess up the first wedding that I shoot? The simple answer, connect with other wedding photographers via Facebook, Flickr, 500px, Instagram and so on. To become their backup shooter and gain experience with weddings that way. And trust me you will gain a lot there since it actually isn’t as boring as I first thought 😉

How To Make Money In Photography

What is a Backup Shooter or Second Shooter?

A backup shooter is like the photographer that is not so important 😀 You will hold the softboxes and shoot pictures as well. The difference is that if you fuck up a picture it’s not a big deal, because you are just a backup and if you shoot good pictures the first shooter is happy and will sell it as one of his. 🙂  Seriously it can be a lot of fun when you find a good photographer and you will learn in a steeeeep learning curve. Plus you get paid.

That’s already it for my post about how to make money in photography. If you have any ideas, questions or opinions please let me know in the comments and I will get to you as soon as possible. 🙂

Cheers Aaron.


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6 thoughts on “How To Make Money In Photography

  1. Hendrik

    Hi Aaron, very nicely written article. I can tell you have a lot of passion for your photography. The best thing you just made me a little smarter. Thanks, I had no idea about macrostocks and how etsy plays a role in it. I just started out experimenting with my first dslr and I am loving it. At the moment it’s just for fun but who knows what might come out of it. Nice page too mate thanks

    1. Aaron

      Hey Hendrik, thank you for the nice feedback. Macrostocks don’t have anything to do with Etsy you must have misunderstood something 🙂 the Etsy thing is another way to make money with you photographs.

  2. Daniella

    Hi Aaron,

    Awesome article again!

    My daughter is a student, and she loves taking photographies. Now of course, like many students, she is broke, and she really wants to make some money doing what she is passionate about. I didn’t know about Etsy; this could good be a great place to make money. Macrostock is also great, but as you said, she will need more experience to get there. Just a question, please. She is only 15 years old, is that OK to make money in term of policy?

    Thank you for this excellent post!

    1. Aaron

      Hey Daniella, If your daughter is only 15 year old she is not able to do business on her own or even own a store. I think the macro and microstock solution would be better at the moment for her she can do that on your behalf and it is totally legal this way. She can also make an Instagram account to load up her pictures there. It will take some time to get some traction there, but when she has 10K followers she can already make some decent money with that.

  3. Jennifer Etter

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I have recently become very interested in photography but had never considered becoming a backup photographer for weddings in order to gain exposure and experience. I love the idea of being able to get the experience without having the pressure of having to do it right on your own! Thanks for taking the time to share these ideas!

    1. Aaron

      Hey Jennifer, I had the same problem at first when I started. It really helps when you go with an experienced photographer. You got no pressure and you will learn how things work.

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