Commissioned photo shoots
From weddings and portraits to product shots and promotional shoots, there are loads of ways to make money by shooting for individuals and businesses
From weddings and portraits to product shots
Wedding and portrait photography have long been the bread and butter of getting paid for your photography services, but these are very crowded and competitive markets. Despite this, there are still opportunities to make money if you approach it in a professional manner.
You’ll need to be able to shoot perfect pictures at speed, in difficult conditions, and often while dealing with a host of other demands. From arranging large groups of people and being the centre of attention without taking anything away from the experience of the couple on their big day (or their family and friends), wedding photography is more about people skills and charm than simply being able to take great photos.
Shadowing a full-time wedding photographer is a great way to get to grips with the demands of wedding photography. Or if you are confident of your skills you can get experience by working as a second-shooter.
Shooting portraits will require similar skills to wedding photography, but there tends to be slightly less time pressure as you aren’t usually capturing a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ day.
The best way to get started finding clients for both weddings and portraits is get your name out there through friends, family and work colleagues. Most of them will know that you take great photos, and many of them will know someone who needs a photographer. This approach will only yield so many commissions, though, so you should also start advertising your services through your website, social media and even local advertising. None of these should cost a fortune, and although it can take time to build a reputation, you should be able to build up a decent income in a year or two.
If you don’t fancy shooting weddings or portraits, then you could start approaching local businesses and companies to shoot product or advertising images. Almost every business, from your local cafe or restaurant to manufacturers and builders, will need images for their website or advertising.
Like getting wedding commissions, try sounding out friends and family for any initial leads, and even try work colleagues (for the latter, make sure that it doesn’t conflict with your current employment contract). You can also try contacting some local businesses directly, either by email, phone or – even better – in person.
Try to target those who would really benefit from some professional photography, which means those who are aiming at a market that is influenced by great images, rather than your local greasy spoon or one-manband builder! Using this approach, you’ll need a pretty thick skin, though, as you’re likely to get a lot of rejections before your first break.
Along with high-quality stills, many wedding and commercial clients will also require video. All the latest Nikon cameras can shoot amazing video, so if you have the skills to shoot and edit videos (or are willing to learn them), why not offer this as part of your imaging services? This is a great way to broaden your appeal to an even wider range of customers.
Try to target those who would really benefit from some professional photography