Article by Rick Hendershot
Despite what some people may think, taking pictures can yield dedicated, determined, and talented photographers a nice living. It is not impossible to use the hobby you enjoy as an income generator. However, you have to be smart about it and take advantage of as many avenues as you can. As a freelance photographer, the best thing to do is to diversify so you can have multiple sources of income from your photographs.
One of the newest ways to make money from your photographs is to do so online. The great thing about earning money online is that many of the details are taken care of for you. It’s also a good way for fledgling photographers to break into the market. There are a couple of ways to earn money online from photography.
One of the ways you can work from home as a photographer is to sell your photos to stock photography agency websites or microstock sites. On these sites, stock agencies offer the photographer a space to host their images, and pay the photographer a percentage of the fee charged to the buyer. The stock agency takes care of the marketing. All you have to do is hope that there are buyers for your images.
Microstock sites pay less and are less exclusive, but they are still a good way to earn money, especially for those just starting out. The better sites will have information on their sites discussing what makes the type of photograph that someone would want to buy, plus they will reveal the photos that have recently been licensed.
This is helpful for new photographers, or photographers who are just starting to make a go of making money from their hobby, so that they can see what kinds of photos are in demand. When dealing with stock agencies and microstock sites, your best bet is to sign up with and submit to as many as you can.
You can also make money by placing your photographs on your own website if you have one. If you don’t have one yet, starting one is a good idea so that you can begin marketing yourself and your photography services. You should have a section on your website where you display your work. Be sure to invite visitors to your site to browse your portfolio. There are many different ecommerce services you can use to create your own site even if you don’t know anything about web design.
You can also make money by selling your photographs directly to a variety of buyers, including magazines, websites, books, and postcard companies. You can also teach photography classes or self-publish a photography book with your images.
By far, the easiest way to start as a freelance photographer is to work from home first and try to earn money online from your photos. Once you have some buyers, you can evaluate your photos and see which ones are selling, so you may have an idea what your strengths are. From there you can move on to make money in other ways.
Rick Hendershot publishes OpportunityBlogger.com – a make money online blog that features many diffferent online opportunities and ways to make money on the internet.
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If you want to get into freelance digital photography there are only a few critical requirements, but anyone wanting to work as a freelance photographer should make sure they meet these.
The lifestyle of a freelance photographer is a good one. You will be self-employed with flexible working hours. Much of your time, of course, will be spent behind the camera. Sometimes you will be taking your own “stock” photos. Other times you may be hired on assignment by big companies and even by popular magazines.
If you would really like to become a freelance photographer then here are the basic requirements.
A Good Digital Camera
To work in freelance digital photography you will need a modern digital camera with a resolution of 5 megapixels or more.
The minimum resolution varies from market to market and is also changing with time.
As you might be reading this article a long time after I wrote it, I recommend that you visit a couple of the major microstock web sites such as Fotolia and Shutterstock to check the current minimum requirements for photo submissions.
Ability to Take Good Photographs
Anyone can snap off a photo or two. But you will only be in demand as a professional photographer if you can take photos that are better than the rest.
If you need to improve your photography knowledge and skills then read some good photography books, or take some online training at digital photography web sites. There are also some excellent videos at YouTube on virtually every aspect of digital photography.
Knowledge of How and Where to Sell Your Photography
As a freelance photographer your income will come from two main sources, selling stock photography and assignment photography.
If you sell stock photos at microstock photography sites you will typically receive $ 0.25 to $ 2.00 every time one of your photos is downloaded. Some of the better portfolios have 30,000 to 40,000 downloads per year.
If you sell your photoss directly to magazines you might earn $ 200 to $ 700 for a photo used on a cover, or anywhere from $ 10 to $ 300 for an inside photo, depending upon the size of the photo and the photography budget of the magazine.
One of the keys to selling more digital photography is to research carefully which types of photographs are being downloaded and published most frequently, and then go and take photos like those!
A Determination To Succeed
If you really want to build a freelance photography business then you must have a strong determination to succeed and be willing to work hard as you build up your portfolio and establish your reputation as a professional photographer.
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Article by John M. Lund
Shooting Assignments and Stock Photo Production
In a way, a photographer who shoots only stock and no assignments is putting themselves at a disadvantage when in comes to stock photography production. When shooting assignments you end up in places, and with access to people, that you probably would never even think of, let alone be subsidized to shoot.
So I have often asked myself if it wouldn’t help my stock photography career to shoot assignments. Ah, but then I think of all the wasted time associated with assignments.
Estimates, Prep and Post
There are the estimates, that to do a good job, can take a least a day and sometimes several days to complete. And if you do get the job there are the days of prep and of post, and the endless little changes the clients always seem to want, and the last minute additions that they don’t want to pay for…and the hassles to get paid.
Introducing Fresh Ideas
OK, I say to myself, I won’t return to doing assignments just yet. But how can I introduce new and fresh ideas into my work that are comparable to those that would come in via assignments?
Expose Yourself to Something New
Well, I have come up with a couple of thoughts around that. First, I get out of my ordinary environment and expose myself to something completely new and different. One way in which I have done that very successfully is by doing what I refer to as adventure travel. I have a friend and colleague who leads photo trips to some pretty cool places. Places like India, Jordan, Myanmar and China. Every time I have taken one of these trips I have come back not only refreshed and with a whole notebook of new ideas, but also with photography from the trips themselves that have invariably paid back the cost of the trip and have each become their own little profit center.
Travel, Time, and a New Paradigm
Occasionally I have undertaken such travel by myself, but it is a lot more fun for me to be with like-minded people and to have the logistics handled by someone else. In a way these trips are far more efficient for me as well. I avoid spending all that time in researching places and putting together the trip. Instead, I just step out of my business world and into a whole new paradigm, and then, recharged, step back into my “real world” existence.
An African Safari, a Photography Blog and Great White Sharks
The other method I have for injecting some unusual ideas into my work comes as kind of a corollary to the travel. I keep a list of 100 things I want to do before I die (OK, I have never actually gotten more than about 60 things written down). Things like go on an African safari (haven’t done that one yet…but think of the cool stock photos that could come out of that…and I don’t mean photos of wild animals, but of camp life and so forth…), shoot photography for a world humanitarian organization, dive with great white sharks, start a photography blog (oh yeah, I did that one), Visit Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, anyway, you get the picture.
Dream Assignments and Stock Photography
Make a list of things you want to do before you die. Go crazy with it! Then look at that list with an eye for how you can accomplish those things and make them pay off for you through stock photography. It is kind of like giving yourself your own dream assignments…and using stock photography to enhance your life in more ways than just monetarily. In the end, it is a full and rich life that I want more than a full and rich estate!
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