Is Photography a good business niche?

21 replies
I took a photography class in high school and I realized I am really good at it and I got some incredible wildlife photos during that class. I also enjoy it a lot, and I was curious if I was to start a blog on it and do affiliate marketing with my readers, would It make some decent $$. I was set on becoming a photographer when I was taking the class, but I noticed they don't make much money. Any comments on this would be appreciated, thanks.
#business #good #niche #photography
  • Profile picture of the author LouiGeeinMD
    Originally Posted by FitLifeAddiction View Post

    I took a photography class in high school and I realized I am really good at it and I got some incredible wildlife photos during that class. I also enjoy it a lot, and I was curious if I was to start a blog on it and do affiliate marketing with my readers, would It make some decent $$. I was set on becoming a photographer when I was taking the class, but I noticed they don't make much money. Any comments on this would be appreciated, thanks.

    I believe Photography is a good business. Specially when you sell still photos online. Usually, the film industry or even websites buy good photos. Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author Humbee360
    Creating images is something that you can make money at, but it is certainly a crowded field, back in the old days, most people did not have a digital camera, so its not as easy to make money these days with so many people uploading free photos online.

    That does not mean you cant make a go of it its all about talent and marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    It depends, like everything else.

    If you present yourself as a plainjane photographer for hire, yeah, you will get paid as one.

    Specialization and experience can allow you to differentiate yourself and earn more per project.

    We do have a photographer participating in this subforum who does just fine, because he has specialized...though I doubt anyone would know that is his profession.

    Now as to your question about blogging.

    If your images are a good draw, they will bring traffic. Then you can present offers that appeal to that target market.

    However, it is not going to be easy or instantaneous.
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Mayers
    Hey

    If photography is your passion, i say go for it. Money is being made there and every niche is somewhat competitive.

    In the end, more money is always better, but you can't beat getting paid from a niche that you are truly passionate about.

    Hope this helps!

    -Josh
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  • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
    Originally Posted by FitLifeAddiction View Post

    I took a photography class in high school and I realized I am really good at it and I got some incredible wildlife photos during that class. I also enjoy it a lot, and I was curious if I was to start a blog on it and do affiliate marketing with my readers, would It make some decent $$. I was set on becoming a photographer when I was taking the class, but I noticed they don't make much money. Any comments on this would be appreciated, thanks.
    You done a course and thought you loved photography ? you then ask if i Make a site / blog would you make money ? how would anyone know that answer, lets say you spend 2 minutes knocking up a site, it looks crap and you do not know how to market it, will it make money? probably not, then again you may be a wiz ?

    You then say you noticed they did not make much money ? based on what ? but more importantly you have now changed to telling us you love and enjoy your work, to a sole money based option ?

    so your now saying should I pimp my time and energy for this little amount of money with nothing in regard spending your time doing what you love?

    A little confusing, if you find what you love then follow that path then most things should turn out well for you, but is seems like your still not sure what your life's loves and passions are.

    this video ( i think was posted here a long time ago ) may help understand more. (strong language warning)

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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    FitLifeAddiction,

    Here is an idea for you. Why not work on a series of images that work with your existing site? Look at the images you are using on your blog, and look at the images that are used by blogs that are in the same category as you. YOU could be selling those images. Take it up a notch and produce prints of some of your images and try selling them on your site.

    Work with what you have and migrate from there. One will only help the other. Instead of jumping jumping jumping Start thinking in terms of BUILDING!


    Originally Posted by FitLifeAddiction View Post

    I took a photography class in high school and I realized I am really good at it and I got some incredible wildlife photos during that class. I also enjoy it a lot, and I was curious if I was to start a blog on it and do affiliate marketing with my readers, would It make some decent $$. I was set on becoming a photographer when I was taking the class, but I noticed they don't make much money. Any comments on this would be appreciated, thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    I took a photography class in high school and I realized I am really good at it
    Just about everyone thinks they take a good picture. If you're honest with yourself, in two years you'll look back at your work and think you suck. And if you don't think you suck then you haven't grown as a photographer.

    On to your idea for a website. Who's going to care enough to want to buy your wildlife photos? Who's going to want to part with their hard earned dollars for your print when they get reproductions on the cheap, tear a page out of National Geographic at the Doctor's office or buy a lithograph from Art Wolfe? And that's if they really, really, want to have a wildlife print on their wall. It's not like there's any real need to have one.

    You have a passion for photography? That's great. But people don't buy because you happen to have a passion for something.

    So what's going to be your marketing plan?

    How will you get people to buy it?

    Get some experience selling your images first.
    Then with that experience you'll have more of a feel of how people will buy.

    Do arts and craft shows.

    Sell images to stock agencies.

    Start with that.
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  • Profile picture of the author DamianGil
    Photography is a good business and more so if you know well quality providers for prints so you can add a bit of exclusivity/differentiation to your market. There are companies such as CreativeLive which market is formed mainly by photographers and they offer technical courses and marketing courses so they grow their business and they do better than okay.

    Also you can use marketing to get status a step by step become a celebrity professional photographer.

    It's all based on what do you want to achieve and check current competition, ease of entry both financially and marketing wise.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Solem
    You know I grew up hearing things like "Do what you love and the money will follow", but I think the more accurate statement would be "Do what you love and what others are willing to pay for, and the money will follow."

    Most small businesses I see fail do so because the owner had an idea THEY loved and of course all their friends and family cheered them on, but they never bothered to see if the market would PAY for it so they never ended up getting any customers.

    As others have said you really need to specialize and do fantastic work, and while the odds might not be in your favor, there's nothing wrong with testing the waters while you hold another job to pay the bills while you pursue something you're more passionate about.

    Find some photographers you can follow on FB or online and join some photography forums if you want to research what's possible.
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  • Profile picture of the author chaotic squid
    I do some professional photography within my business (mostly business headshots and portraits). I love photography and have a few grand worth of equipment (it can get costly hehe).

    While I still do photography for fun and as an added service for my web design/marketing business I decided not to pursue a complete photography business for a few reasons:

    1. Enjoying photography as a hobby is completely different than doing it professionally. You're going to have to take on gigs that may be uninteresting to you and may give you little artistic freedom. This can be said of many industries, and it's very true for photography.

    2. It has to be done locally. I started my internet business because I want to travel, not be tied down to a certain location and do photoshoots. Yes, there are traveling photographers and there is also stock photography but that is a whole other beast and most photographers who do stock have it only as a supplemental income. The real money in photography is in weddings, special events, fashion, and portraits.

    3. You're always looking for that next client or photoshoot. There's little opportunity for recurring monthly income like in web hosting or marketing services.

    4. Photography is highly competitive. Yes you can specialize and become a leader in a certain area, but it will take a lot of skill and years of practice to even get to that point. You'll most likely have to spend a few years as a second shooter to a another photographer or work for yourself but blend in with the tons of other "photographers" before your portfolio can stand on it's own and where you develop your own unique style.

    5. More and more people are owning digital cameras and smartphones which are becoming "almost" as good as a DSLR camera. If you look at the career outlook for photographers (Photographers : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) the median pay is just over $13 per hour and growth is estimated at 4% which is slower than average.

    While photography is a difficult industry to get into. If you're passionate enough to put in the years of training, market yourself right, and build a solid portfolio you can do extremely well. Hope that helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author 89camaro
    Yes, I think so. You can make a lot more money if you setup a site like Shutter stock and sell pictures.
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    • Profile picture of the author Wade Watson
      Well, you're right about most photographers not making much money. Photography is like writing and sex these days in than so many people are giving it away it's getting harder to charge for it. That said, there are plenty of profitable endeavors that benefit greatly from photography skills. Most every Internet marketer's website needs photographic good images. Most everyone who sells anything needs to take a picture now and then. You could focus your interest in photography into a lot different types of website and marketing projects. It doesn't hurt to keep your mind open to ways to broaden this interest and merge it with other potentially profitable occupations.
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  • Profile picture of the author garrypalomo
    Yes, If you have a passion in photography go for it! You can sell all your photos online if you want. Goodluck!
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  • Profile picture of the author Sadaf Ajmal
    Photographers do make a lot of money. It depends on your skills and ability to market yourself.

    I have worked with many photographer and I know they makes $$$$$. It does not matter if you have a full studio of your own, I have worked with people who had one-room studio at their home and they were making money.

    First thing is to polish your skills and learn new things happening in this field.

    Second, market yourself. Build a website, have strong online presence, go and participate in events, if you are new, do work at reduced rates or do it free. Make some clients.

    Use the power of internet to market your talent and make connections. The more people know you, the more contracts you will get.
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  • Profile picture of the author AmericanMuscleTA
    Are you excellent with Photoshop?? That's where photography really comes into play.

    What kind of niche do you want to get into? We have a few real estate photographers in our area who do quite well.
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    • Profile picture of the author misterme
      Originally Posted by AmericanMuscleTA View Post

      Are you excellent with Photoshop?? That's where photography really comes into play.
      Get it right in the camera - that's where good photography comes into play. PS can't polish a piece of crap.
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      • Profile picture of the author condra
        There's TONS of business in Wedding Photography, once you're a decent shooter, reasonably charming and generally competent.
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  • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
    One of my businesses has been involved in supplying and assisting photographers since 1991 and I have a few observations that may be of interest.

    When I started we had the largest photographic supplier in the Southern Hemisphere just around the corner from my business.

    Over the years they have modified and diversified as the digital era was thrust upon them.

    They still sell equipment and do processing amongst other things but over 50% of their retail space is dedicated to Scrapbooking and scrapbooking supplies and about 30% is dedicated to readymade frames.

    Their suppliers tell me that their revenue is now mostly online and in post - photography services and support.

    Recently they have significantly reduced retail floor space.

    The flip side.

    There are several super successful photographers that we deal with.

    They do have common traits.

    1. Branding
    2. Specialization
    3. Award Winning
    4. High margins

    I'll give you a few examples.

    One guy specialises in surf photography. He follows the world tours, puts his life on the line to get the shots. BTW he still does standard press photography to pay the bills yet has a great following and good sales.

    Another has a few galleries pushing high end like $2000 - 6000 per image. they are positioned in or near 5 star resorts and restrict the volume of what they do.

    There are a few in this league and they all print silver-halide crystal archive prints or do acrylic face mounting, printing on Stainless steel or 25mm flame-edge acrylic mounts. Expensive stuff. The images are glorious and they re-invest the money in travelling to get the next big image.

    We have a few tour-guide - eco tourist types who are successful.

    We have wedding/portrait/commercial types who are successful.

    All the successful ones have at one point or another won AIPP awards or other Internationally recognised awards for photography so I would suggest you start entering competitions and try to win different sections.

    Promote these awards when you start picking them up.

    If you are going down the gallery route or the high end path definitely look at the premium presentation methods like using Optium Museum Acrylic or Tru-Vue Museum Glass.

    Go large format. Don't be scared of printing the image in large formats and putting excruciatingly high prices on the images.

    The lower priced tour-guide type photographer tends to get by on the volume of clients that they get to work with. So is you are a resort photographer or can establish a reputation for something locally then you can look at the competitive pricing strategy but in my opinion over the years the photographers who have survived and prospered are those that build a brand, build relationships and charge more than others.

    Remember it is a business so be sure to know your numbers and sell accordingly.

    There are plenty of bread and butter gigs like real estate, auto, product shots, wedding, portraits, pets etc etc.

    But the big money is in building a name.

    Oh the other biggie is organising and taking groups of photographers on tours. We have several clients who are not professional photographers but do work in various professions who regularly like at least yearly go somewhere on a photography holiday. Galapagos, Easter Island, Iceland, Antarctica, Maachu Picchu, Iran, Turkey, Cambodia etc etc.

    They have the capacity and they do spend big so follow your dream as you may find that your passion is rewarded if you can cut out your slice of a huge pie.
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  • Profile picture of the author KlarrisaT
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Photographer vs photography business owner.

      There's a guy around here, has 4 or 5 studios. Mostly portraits and weddings and such. I don't imagine he pays his people all that much, but he makes good money.

      Also, I know a few people who would pay a couple of thousand dollars for a portrait photo done by Kim Kardashian's photographer (probably would want the same background as one of KK's photos as proof).
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      • Profile picture of the author stefa
        There is a big competition but it can be done. You can make money. Stay in the wedding and commercial photography and you will be safer, if you are after money
        Any other type of photography is more challenging.
        Number 1 reason is that you need more gear in the commercial field beside a knowledge of how to use lighting (that's something you can learn of course)
        Shooting travelling and landscape is way harder. Nowadays you can do that with your phone, and although the result is not as great guess if a publisher will go for a free not great photo or a paid great photo. There will be still somebody going for the paid photos but not as many nowadays.
        Start your marketing campaign (#1 priority) and see how is going. Passion can take you a long way.
        Focus on people buying your photos and not on the ones steeling your photos (it will happen)
        I run a travel photography website but the money comes from my commercial work. The website is growing and possibly one day it will be my main source but up to that day I will keep all the doors open, as I would suggest you to do

        Good luck with your decision
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