Photographers invest in their skills and equipment. While these suggestions may not be the passion projects that made you want to be a photographer, you can use them to diversify your photography income streams.
Here are three ways to use your photography skills and equipment to pay the bills.
Real Estate Photography
The housing industry is booming in the United States. Photographers can profit from this housing boom, without investing in real estate.
In 2021 1/3 of house buyers paid more than the asking price. — National Association of Realtors
Photography is important to selling homes, especially since so much of the initial stages of purchasing a house occur online. The National Association of Realtors 2017 report showed that listings with over 20 photos sold 50% faster than listings with one photo.
Real estate photography averages $100–150/hour, with the higher end hitting $300 an hour. A 2,000 square foot house will take about an hour and a half to complete taking the photos — more if your client wants edits.
It can involve a tight turnaround, but taking photos of houses for sale can help to pay the bills while you build more creative outlets in your business.
- Architectural photography — learn the best angles and lighting to capture rooms and architectural details.
- Strong perspective skills — the photos should make the spaces look as large as possible.
- Storytelling skills — how the angles of the photos interact tell a story. If a simple house on Zillow needs a floor plan to make sense of the room layout, the photos most likely don’t make it clear how the rooms interact with each other.
How to Get Started as a Real Estate Photographer
- List your services online. If you already have a website, update it to include this offering.
- Build a portfolio. You can get clients without a portfolio of real estate photos, but it’s a lot easier with a solid portfolio.
- Get some clients. This is the most uncomfortable part. The good news is that once you have a relationship with a real estate agent, they’re likely to use you again instead of searching for a new photographer. Until then though, you may need to do some cold calling to real estate agent offices in your area.
Resources to Learn to Become a Real Estate Photographer
- How Long Does it Take to Photograph a House by Photography for Real Estate
- How to Get into Real Estate Photography by Format Magazine
- Six Steps to Become a Real Estate Photographer by Indeed
Don’t roll your eyes quite yet.
Yes, influencers include the 26-year-old man who tries to pass himself off as a teenager on YouTube. The mommy blogger next door is an influencer too, so is the Subaru bro who sits at the Exxon on Friday nights and live streams.
Influencers constantly need new content, whether it’s professional pics of their car engine, or shots of an artist while they paint.
The best part? You can build this side hustle to your strengths or areas that you’re passionate about.
- Model or Fashion photographer — All of those Instagram photos of a fashion influencer in a busy street were taken by someone, not a tripod. Make that someone you.
- Boudoir photographer — Adult content creators need images safe for social media.
- Event photographers — Photograph influencer events
- Professional headshots — Startups love to have headshots of their employees for their website and social media, or focus on LinkedIn influencers.
Resources to Learn to Become an Influencer Photographer
- Become an Influencer Photographer: Get Paid to Shoot Bloggers and Instagrammers on Skillshare
- What It’s Really Like to be an Influencer Photographer by Husskie
- 5 Things to Know When Pricing an Influencer Photo Shoot on PixelCents
- The Growth Of Influencers Has Impacted The Photography Industry In A Major Way by Tanya Chen on BuzzFeed News
I don’t necessarily mean food photography. Food photography is a very in-depth industry, that requires specific skills and equipment.
If you’re already equipped for food photography, awesome, but for those who aren’t, keep reading.
Your local restaurants don’t normally have a full marketing department, but they still need images of their restaurant, employees, atmosphere and general vibe. These photos are invaluable on sites like Yelp or for their business listing on Google. Not to mention how helpful they are for social media.
To see what I mean, check out the video below. If you skip to the halfway point in the video, you can see a number of restaurant photo examples.
- Low light photography — most restaurants are dimly lit. Make sure that you have the correct equipment, and know how to get sharp images in a low light environment.
- Clear communication and scheduling — Restaurants are busy, and while they may be excited to get updated photos of the place, you can’t cause them to lose customers.
- Composition — The subjects in the photos aren’t unique. Tables, chairs, plates, cups, food, drinks, people. It’s all about having strong composition to make sure that each photo feels unique.
- Know How to Use Props — A photo of a soup bowl from straight down is a lot less interesting than one with a spoon, and some messy soup drops on the table. Obviously your shots should match the brand of the restaurant, but make sure they tell a story and show movement through props.
How to Get Started in Restuarant Photography
Pull up Google Maps, and search for restaurants near you. Take a look at their Yelp, Google Business listing, social media and website.
Sometimes a restaurant may be active in one area, but not keep up with their Yelp listings or similar.
You’re looking for restaurants that don’t have modern, high-quality photos on any of their sites.
Once you’ve made a list of ten places, start to make those phone calls. It doesn’t need to be complicated.
Ask to speak to the manager or owner, and then say something similar to:
“Hi, I noticed that Bob’s BBQ Wings and Chainsaws, doesn’t have many photos online. That’s most likely affecting your business. I’m a professional photographer, and I was wondering when a good time would be for me to stop by and have us chat about getting those photos updated?”
You’re gonna get some no’s. But you’ll get some yes’s as well. Don’t give up on getting that first client.
Resources to Learn to Become a Restuarant Photographer
- How to Photograph Food in a Restaurant on Fran Flynn Courses
- 10 Food Photography Tips & Tricks for Restaurants by Cameret Bannister
- 10 Tips for Editorial Restaurant Photography by Darina Kopcok
- Restaurant Photography: Tips From A Food Photographer by Regan Baroni
- Food photography guide for restaurant marketing by Susmita