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10 Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Photographer

Table of ContentsUpdated Dec 09, 2021

Freelancing can provide you with freedom, flexibility, and a better work-life balance. However, do you ever wonder how to make money as a freelance photographer?

While some photographers have a client base, others work in photo studios. But what if none of these options is available to you? Don’t worry, there are more ways to make money as a freelance photographer than you could ever imagine.

This article will provide you with ideas on how to make money as a freelance photographer. We’ve compiled a list of ten different ways, read on to discover them.

10 Ways on how to make money as a freelance photographer

how to make money as a freelance photographer

1. Sell Stock Photos

Marketing and design professionals, as well as business and website owners, are in constant need of fresh images. Whether it’s for advertising campaigns, product packaging, or a company blog, professional-looking pictures should support content or products.

Businesses don’t want to invest a lot of money in photo production. Instead, they prefer to save money by purchasing photos from stock content platforms.

how to make money as a freelance photographer

Depositphotos is a stock photography platform that can help you both earn money as a freelance photographer and express your creativity. Photographers can upload their existing works or make new ones specifically for the platform.

By creating trendy and relevant images regularly, you can gain an audience and generate revenue consistently. Depositphotos allows you to sell a photo multiple times while maintaining copyright ownership.

How to get started with stock photography:

  • Go to the Depositphotos registration page, and fill out their form with information about yourself
  • Upload several images for a quick test. The platform requires them to ensure that your work meets all criteria and does not violate any policy
  • Wait for a reply. It usually takes 7-10 business days
  • Start uploading images and earn money

To sell your images more effectively, you need to follow a few tips.

First of all, choose a niche or several topics to focus on. You can opt for safe niches like lifestyle, architecture, or nature.

Secondly, you need to keep up with the latest color and photography trends, as well as post-production techniques. Photos that look outdated are unlikely to attract attention and bring income.

how to make money as a freelance photographer

Thirdly, tag your photos with specific and versatile keywords, as well as relevant descriptions. Use keywords that accurately describe your photo and all the elements in it.

Last, but not least, consider seasonal demand. Create images for different holidays and seasons. However, if you want to be in demand, prepare photos in advance and submit them before the season begins.

2. Become a Photographer’s Assistant

Working as a photographer’s assistant will allow you to get jobs that are hard to stumble upon. This type of job will prepare you for bigger, more serious projects.

Becoming a photographer’s assistant will also provide you with the opportunity to connect and learn from more experienced photographers. You’ll add strong projects to your portfolio, as well as gain valuable contacts who can help you find photography gigs in the future.

How to make money as a freelance photographer and find assistant photographer jobs:

  • Check with your friends and colleagues to see if they have any valuable contacts in the industry
  • Find photographers you want to work with and ask them directly if they need assistance
  • Join local photography-related groups on social media
  • Attend events for photographers
  • Join local photography organizations

We also advise creating an invoice template as soon as you start doing freelance jobs. It will assist you in receiving payments quickly and efficiently. Check out these six free photography invoice templates to make your job easier.

3. Shoot Events

how to make money as a freelance photographer

When it comes to event photography, there are a lot of options available. Wondering how to make money as a freelance photographer? Event photography may be the answer! You can shoot concerts, conferences, corporate events, workshops, weddings, birthdays, engagement and gender reveal parties, baby showers, and more.

Working at events is harder than photographing in a studio. However, it can help you improve your skills and raise your fees.

For example, a lack of proper lighting and limited shooting time will force you to be more inventive. Moreover, you can test your ideas with a large group of people. They can assist you in bringing your most creative ideas to life.

In addition, a large number of guests and attendees at such events can assist you in obtaining a new job. Approach new people, tell them about yourself and your work. Promote yourself by wearing clothing with your name and contact information, or handing out business cards.

Remember that event images will almost certainly be posted online. Ask organizers to tag you or add links to your website or social media pages. It can help you gain more exposure.

Don’t forget to obtain a business license if you want to run your business legally. You can learn more about why a license is required to work and earn money as a freelance photographer here.

4. Join Photo Contests

Participating in photo contests is an excellent opportunity to display your work and talent, gain exposure, and establish your reputation as a skilled photographer. There are various photography contests that offer cash and gear prizes, print works in magazines and photo books, and photographers the opportunity to be exhibited at prestigious international galleries.

how to make money as a freelance photographer

We’ve prepared several photo contests to help you get started:

  • Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards is an international photography competition for up-and-coming photographers of all ages and backgrounds in various genres. Awards include international gallery and street exhibitions, becoming part of Feature Shoot’s Emerging Photographers photo book, and press coverage.
  • Bird in Flight Prize is an international award given to photographers who use innovative storytelling techniques. The first prize is €2000 and the special prize is €500. In addition, twenty-five participants will receive reviews of their works by members of the jury. A selection of photos from the submitted works will be presented in an online exhibition on the PHmuseum platform.
  • Sony World Photography Awards is the world’s largest photography competition. Winners will be able to receive a monetary reward ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, as well as the latest Sony digital imaging equipment, global press exposure, a feature in an exhibition and book.
  • International Photography Awards is a competition for professional, amateur, and student photographers with cash prizes from $500 to $10,000. Available categories are nature, people, sports, architecture, events, fine art, and more.

Of course, participating in photo contests will not provide you with a source of revenue, but it will assist you in promoting your work and gaining recognition in the industry. On top of that, you will learn how to analyze and curate your photos after applying. Make sure to mention your triumph on your website or social media profile.

5. Create a Course

How to make money as a freelance photographer you ask, create a course! If you are confident in your photography abilities, you can begin teaching others. Not everyone is willing to spend time searching for new information on their own. Many people would rather pay money for relevant information in the form of a course or other material.

how to make money as a freelance photographer

It’s also more appealing to have a teacher with real-world expertise, who can convey knowledge firsthand. Aside from that, the teacher can point out student flaws and provide advice on how to prevent them in the future. Make use of these benefits when listing them in your advertisement.

Create your own photography course by following these steps:

  • Select a platform for your course. You can use Google Classroom, a free and easy-to-use learning platform. It helps you keep all of your learning materials in one place and makes creating, distributing, and grading assignments much easier. Teachers and students can easily share files using the platform.
  • Choose a certain course topic and focus. It can be a beginner’s course or a course that focuses on a certain skill. For example, how to use a camera’s flash effectively at night, or how to properly set up and employ lighting. Your students should have a clear understanding of what you want to teach, and how you intend to do it from the start.
  • Choose the best medium for your content. You must decide how you want to present your course materials. Text content can be shared in presentations. Use VistaCreate, a free graphic design tool that can assist you in creating beautiful text backgrounds. You can also make an instructional video or image tutorial to show students how to do certain tasks step by step.
  • Create content for your course. You must develop engaging and effective lessons. Investigate ways to convey material in a way that will interest students. Use other online courses as inspiration. Examine the topics they cover and the method they teach.
  • Promote your course online. If you have a large following on social media, you can use it to market the course. You can also ask your friends and colleagues to share the info on their social media pages. Try running ads on Facebook or Instagram for better results.

6. Arrange Workshops

Wondering how to make money as a freelance photographer by teaching offline? Creating a course might be time-consuming, so you can hold workshops instead.

Keep in mind that you should be specific about the topic, skill level, and everything else you’ll cover throughout the workshop. Besides that, a workshop ad should include address, cost, duration, and the number of participants.

Topics that can be covered at a workshop include:

  • How to pick the right gear
  • How to prepare for a shoot
  • How to work with lighting
  • Photo editing and retouching
  • Photographing in a studio
  • Street photography
  • Landscape photography
  • Event photography
  • Commercial photography
  • Portrait photography

7. Organize Photo Tours

Photo tours are another way to teach photography and earn money. You can definitely organize a photo tour if you’re familiar with your town or any other city, and know all the greatest spots for a shoot.

how to make money as a freelance photographer

Make a description of the tour you’re planning. Don’t forget to indicate sights, pricing, duration, and tour group size. You can also give details on what visitors will learn throughout the tour. It can be landscape, sunset, or night sky photography.

You can advertise your business in Facebook groups for tourists and photographers, as well as on your website and social media platforms. Contact your local travel agency; they might be willing to add your tour to their list.

8. Sell Your Prints

Selling prints online can provide you with a steady stream of income, as you can sell a single photo or series of photos multiple times. To sell your prints you can open an online store or sell them through online marketplaces.

If you choose to sell your prints directly from your site or online store, it can be ineffective due to a lack of visitors. To increase sales, you can sell your prints through online marketplaces with high traffic.

Popular marketplaces for selling art and photography are:

Some services offer printing, framing, and shipping. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to print your images ahead of time for other services. Print them on demand.

9. Try Photo Editing And Retouching Jobs

You can make money as an image or photo editor, especially with the right tools. Their responsibilities include retouching, selecting, editing, and arranging images, organizing layouts, employing photographers, and coordinating tasks.

For image post-production, you should have a portfolio with before/after works. Look for gigs on freelance art jobs sites, or contact photo studios and other photographers.

Selling Lightroom presets is another way to make money. Many photographers use presets to save editing time. A preset is a selection of edits that can be saved and applied to other photos in Lightroom. You can create new ones or sell ones you’ve already made.

10. Create a Blog

People are always fascinated to learn more about people behind the scenes. A photography blog can complement your portfolio, add personality to it, and promote you as a photographer. Personal branding will help you build trust with blog readers and attract prospects.

how to make money as a freelance photographer

You don’t have to post every day; just do it regularly. Keep things moving at your own pace and prioritize quality over quantity. Two posts a month will be enough for a start.

Topics for a photography blog:

  • Gear you prefer
  • Shooting tactics
  • Stories behind the shots
  • Insights
  • Advice
  • Tutorials
  • Behind-the-scenes stories and photos
  • Industry events
  • Photo contests
  • Playlists for work
  • Gift ideas for photographers

Where to find photography jobs

If none of the above-mentioned ways appeals to you and you are still wondering how to make money as a freelance photographer, there are other more traditional options. These websites have vacancies for freelance photographers of all levels.

Upwork is a great place to start if you’re new to freelancing. This is one of the most popular websites for freelance jobs. Thousands of jobs are available, with new ones added daily. But newcomers will face fierce competition.

how to make money as a freelance photographer

Jooble is an international job search platform that offers full-time, freelance, and part-time jobs. Jooble collects data from 250,000 resources around the world. The job board has been active in the online recruitment market since 2006.

how to make money as a freelance photographer

ArtJobs is the world’s largest job board dedicated to freelance employment in creative industries. The site provides global opportunities in the creative sector, including salary positions, freelance jobs, internships, call for entries, auditions, and casting calls.

how to make money as a freelance photographer


There are many other ideas on how to make money as a freelance photographer. However, finding freelance jobs can be quite challenging at the beginning of your career.

Remember, as you gain experience and competence, new opportunities will emerge. The most important thing is to know where to look.

Follow our tips and instructions, and you’ll see results sooner than you think and will no longer be asking how to make money as a freelance photographer!

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Profile Image: Yulia Derykot

Written by Yulia Derykot

Contributor at

As a member of the Depositphotos team, Yulia focuses on topics such as photography, design, and marketing. She is passionate about art, music, and travel.

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Reviewed & edited by Adam Wright, Editor at Millo.

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