How to Make Money as a Photographer Outside of Instagram

Having multiple streams of income is SO valuable, keep reading to find out how to do this as a photographer!

There are so many ways to make money with your photography outside of Instagram! You can upload your photos to sights like Shutterstock and Dreamstime where people can pay to download your photos. Or you can sell prints from your own website. Another great way to make money is by taking your photographs to your local coffee shops, breweries, or galleries to sell.


A lot of shops will have local art already on display and it’s a perfect way to get your name out there. If you’re a travel photographer, like me, you can send messages to people on instagram with the location tag of the area you’re in. Ask them if they’d like updated family photos, couples photos, maternity photos, etc. You may even be able to find facebook groups for that location that will let you advertise there.


Now without wasting any more of your extremely valuable money-making time let’s go further into detail on a few of these options!

Shutterstock / Dreamstime

For the consumer, Shutterstock and Dreamstime allow people and businesses to subscribe and download content for a monthly fee. But for the creator this is a free site you can use to get your content out there, while making money from those consumers looking for your style of content. All you do is make a creators account, upload your photos, and then every time someone downloads your photos you get paid for it. Easy peasy!

Prints/Canvas/Calendars and whatever else!

I use my website to sell my prints but really you could use anything as a base to sell from (even instagram), as long as you are confident in processing the purchases manually and people know exactly what they are buying. You will also need to create and provide a receipt and that’s why having a website is easiest as this allows people to view your work in a professional setting and feel confident in what they are purchasing and most websites should automatically send a receipt.


After someone has placed an order for your print then you can go to (or any other custom printing site, this is just what I use) to fulfill the order and the rest is history… It’s really simple to use. All you do is upload the image the person wants, pick the size they want, add their shipping details and then click place order. However you will have to make the payment, so either wait until the buyers money clears into your account and then place the order or pay up front before any money comes in. It’s really up to you and your budget and the size of someone’s order.


You can also do this same process for canvas, calendars and whatever else you can think of! Check out Vistaprint as an easy way to create these. Just be aware Vistaprint can be a little costly which means you need to charge more to make a profit.

Coffee Shops/Breweries/Galleries 

So you’ve just worked out how to create prints and canvas of your work! Why not check out the local coffee shops and see if they would be interested in helping sell your work? They benefit from having nice images in there establishments and you get to make that mullah baby!


If you are feeling generous or they want more incentive you can even think about kicking them a small profit when the images sell. For prints I would strongly recommend putting them in frames to sell (IKEA and Walmart have nice cheap frames starting around $5) however just remember you need to have the upfront cash to make these purchases and this is at the risk of not selling any (but that’s every business right? And sometimes you gotta risk it to get the biscuit!).

Gigs on the Road

Lastly, if you are a travel photographer or even just traveling and want to make a little extra side cash, then I highly recommend using location tags to find potential people wanting to have a photoshoot done. This has definitely helped me out of some sticky situations on the road in the past! Just go on instagram and search the location tag or the local FB group of the area you are in (I always send a message to the admins first, but they are usually pretty nice about letting you do it) and ask people if they are needing any updated photos of their family, business, maternity photos etc. You’d be surprised at how many people are actually interested!


The key here is just making sure that the person feels comfortable so they don’t just think you are some traveling nomad who is going to run away with their money and not give them any photos! I usually send them a message along with a few photos of mine (typically pertaining to the type of photoshoot I’m offering. So I send family photos to families, couples to couples, etc.) Then to make sure they see it I comment on one of their photos asking them to check their messages!


The reason I do this is because in the past I would have people message me back two weeks later saying they are interested, but by that point I was in a totally different state. It’s good to message 2-3 weeks in advance so they are able to find a date that works for them!


You can also do this in your own home town! I found that it helped me tremendously when I put #LasVegasPhotographer in my bio on Instagram. I used to get so many messages about bookings! You can even post on a facebook status that you are now accepting bookings. You might be surprised by how many people are interested.


These are just a few of the methods I've used, but there is a limitless amount of ways to make money doing what you love. I encourage you to find as many of those as possible so that you can build what's called, multiple streams of income and reach financial freedom. Relying on only one stream of income is INSANE for ANY business owner in ANY industry.


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