Freelance Photography: Options for the Amateur Photography to Make Money
In a recent television series, commissioned by the BBC, they looked at the top 10 jobs people would really want to do if they could. Basically what would make you jump out of bed first thing in a morning, eager to get to work? Well, the interesting thing is that the top 5 were all 'creative' careers, and at number 3 was 'Photographer'. In particular, Freelance Photography, where you are your own boss.
With the huge rise in sales of Digital cameras, everyone is enjoying the benefits of digital photography; low running costs, the ability to take a virtual unlimited number of photographs at virtually no cost, and the convenience of being able to edit and print them out yourself. The past couple of years has also seen an escalation in the number of digital SLR cameras being sold – in particular, the entry level models such as Nikon D50, Nikon D80, and Canon 350D.
Directly in proportion to this has been the upsurge of photography related sites, forums, galleries – such as Flickr.com for example – where every man and his dog force their photographic efforts upon us with relentless enthusiasm. Some great, some good and, to be frank, some absolutely dire efforts. However, with most people tiring of the daily 9-5 grind of office life, this is a superb creative outlet.
Most people are quite happy to continue with this for pleasure, but for me, I've always strived to find an income stream that can be derived from something which most people would deem a hobby. That's what I call Freelance Photography.
Now I'm not saying that you will become the next Lord Lichfield, David Bailey or Man-Ray, but there is quite reasonable money to be made in freelance photography, and the best thing is that you do not have to be an outstanding photographer – just fairly competent and in touch with the basics.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Register with a stock agency site such as http://www.shutterstock.com or http://www.dreamstime.com . These in particular are what we call "micro-stock agencies". You upload photographs for approval (by the editorial team) and once approved they are available to download by the agencies customers. With only a small portfolio, this type of Freelance photography will not make you a millionaire overnight, but it will bring in a steady residual income that increases as your portfolio increases.
Set up your own website and sell prints to customers. There are a number of merchants on the internet who handle all the web design and shopping cart technicalities.I have a friend who makes quite a nice second income by selling his landscape photographs of the Peak District in the UK. The best advice here is to find a niche in something you are good at, and focus your efforts within that area.
Sell your photographs to the local newspaper. Seriously, if you've taken any decent pictures of the local football game, or community event, then see if your paper will be interested in using it. This sounds like a long shot, but local papers (in fact, national newspapers) use freelance photographers all the time. They often can not afford to employ more than one or two permanently employed photographers.
So, good luck in your efforts. Even if you do not quite get to quit the day job, it is very realistic to attain a very decent second income which will pay for all the expensive lenses, filters and accessories that come with having photography as a hobby.