Photographers can make money in many different ways. May you be a professional or still learning photography, there is a way for you to make money out of your hobby. This can be a sideline business, a passive income or even a full time business if you are really a good photographer and good in marketing as well.
First, you must set your mind to do photography not just as a hobby but to make money out of it. You must love making money as much as you love the art of photography. In that way, you will be developing your skill in this field not just to show award-winning photographs but also to have some income to support your needs and even your family's needs. Remember, photography is an expensive hobby. Camera (specially proffesional cameras) alone is costly and how much more if you need accesories like zoom lens, tripod, and others?
After setting your mind, the next question now then is how? If you're asking that question, that's a good thing because that's an indication that you wanted to take action. That's right - take ACTION. So what should you do? I have here many ways that you can do and I hope you'll take time to read them all. It might be that some of the ways does not for you and that's okay. Each one has his or her own preference and situation. And what works to others might not work for you and you can acquire another way of doing it. My only job here is to show you those available opportunities and it's up to you to see what works for you.
1. Be unique and popular!
I was thinking that the first thing I will say is that "build a name for yourself." However nowadays, in order for you to be known, you need to be unique. That means you need to go "out of the box." Of course it's good to learn from others at first but after that, you must develop your own style. This is a bit hard today since almost every style was already applied. But don't lose hope. As they say, every person is unique. Therefore there is always a room for you to do something different. So why do we need to be different? For us to attract attention and become more popular. And being popular gives us more opportunity to have more clients. I know that you know the meaning of more clients - this gives more opportunity to gain more money.
Another way to become popular is by joing contests. If you win, this gives another opportunity for you to attract customers. You may start from contest in your town then after that, you may join bigger contests. You can also join seminars, clubs, and forums online to gain more popularity.
2. Invest in skills and equipment
While it is true that even if you are still an amateur and has a simple camera, you can still make money in photography (which I will be discussing later on), you cannot still compare the advantage of having better skills and equipment. So if I were you, I'll do my best to save money to buy a better camera and accesories that will also give me higher income soon. It's also good to buy books about photography, attend seminars, and practice a lot to develop your skills. You might be spending a bit but this is nothing if it will lead you success in the end.
3. Make it an official (part tiime or full time) business and find yourself a space
Unless you make it official, you may not have the opportunity to have a bigger income. It's also good to have a space for you to receive customers. You can do this by renting a space or you may even fix a simple space in your home. You don't have to acquire a very wide space anyway. All you have to do is to have enough space for your computer, table, cameras and accesories, and some chairs for the clients.
Making it official also allows you to give receipts. This may cost you again more money but it gives you more credibility and professionalism.
4. Do freelance jobs
Don't be limited by the local clients coming to your place. Do some freelance jobs. Search for some jobs online. There might be some company who are looking for additional photographers for a shoot and you can join them too.
5. Make your website and Facebook fan page and/or Twitter
Almost all big companies out there have websites and social accounts. If you don't make your own, you'll be left behind and you're limiting yourself to have wider scope of clients. So what are you waiting for? Make your website and upload your best shots to show to the whole world what you got!
Another advantage of having a website is, again, it can add more credibility and professionalism. It also gives you easier way of showing your sample works to your clients.
6. Sell your digital photos online
Finally. we are in this point. The good thing about selling your photos online is that you don't have to be professional and you don't have to own a very expensive camera with a very long lens connected to it (though again, having those is an advantage). So where can you sell your photos online and who will buy them? Before answering the "where" let's answer "who." You know, there are historians, teachers, scientists, artists, fellow photographers, website designers, collectors, and so many out there who are willing to spend something to buy your photos. And where? Here are some websites where you can submit your photos for sale:
As you can see there are so many ways on how to make money as a photographer. The opportunity is limitless. I know I did not even put some other ways here. Once again, you don't have to do everything I listed here. Just find some ways that you think you can do in your situation. You can also make your own way so long as it will generate income. So that's it! I leave everything to you.