A lot of people take pictures these days. For real. In our digitally saturated, Instagram populated, social media culture, we have become numb to the gobs and gobs of pictures we find nearly everywhere we look.
A select few of those people get the brilliant idea that they should become photographers. We become convinced that the “Earlybird” filter we just plastered over that sweet orange butterfly pic, deserves attention from National Geographic.
Maybe you have been taking pictures for a long time and you are really curious if people would be willing to buy some of your stuff. Every professional photographer who is currently making money taking pictures, at some point in the past, made the jump from hobbyist to pro. How did they do it? How did they decide it was a good idea?
The bottom line that we are all curious about is this…how do I make money taking pictures?
Is my photography good enough to make money?
As you may have guessed, that’s a tricky question with a ton of variables to consider, but I’ll do my best to lend three quick thoughts based on my experience.
#1: Have you ever had a professional, money-making photographer, look over your stuff and give you feedback? This is a big deal for an artist. Nobody wants to be told that they need to improve this and that…but it’s essential. No matter how good you think it is, way more often than not, it needs a lot of work.
If several professionals approve and admire your work, move on to #2
#2: Have you submitted your work into any photo contests? The easiest way to build momentum and recognition is by submitting your work. There are hundreds of places online to submit photos for contests. It is worth your time to try some out and see how it goes. Worst-case scenario, even if you lose 1000 times is that a lot more people are seeing your work.
Have you submitted your work consistently and tirelessly everywhere you can find? Move onto #3.
#3: Personally contact someone who knows your work and see if they would be interested in purchasing it. Wedding photographers like me usually start with friends or family. The first job isn’t usually a $10,000 gig. It might be more like $100. It takes a never quit attitude. You will get turned down a lot.
Never stop getting feedback from people you aspire to be like. Humility and perseverance are no cost to you, but invaluable when it comes to the process towards making money in photography.