So you want to be a photographer. You’re looking for a way to earn extra cash, and you have a great camera eager to be used.
Are you sure it’s a good idea? Do you even know how to get started? Good news: It’s a lot easier than you think.
Is Photography a Good Side Hustle?
Yes, photography is a good side hustle. If you have the ability, the knowledge, and the right equipment, photography can be a very lucrative side job. The first thing you need to do is buy your equipment. Build a portfolio, set your rates, and start advertising.
It won’t be long until your favorite hobby becomes a part-time career.
Does the World Really Need More Photographers?
I love photography.
I sprung for a high-end camera and some lenses that made my bank account cry but made me very happy.
I’ve taken numerous classes, and I’m proud to say that I am almost a mediocre photographer now.
Though I adore it, I don’t have what it takes to be a professional. Even with my pricey equipment and hours of practice, I have to hire someone to take the pictures I need. That’s where you come in.
With all of the advancements in camera phones and easy-to-use DSLRs, you might think there is no place for a new photographer on the market.
You would be very wrong.
Photography is not as simple as pointing and shooting. It’s an art form that requires a mixture of skill and creativity.
You need to know how to catch the light, what angles are best, and that certain something that many of us just don’t have.
If you have a photographer’s eye, your services will be needed.
Even with the advancement of cameras in smartphones, a professional photographer is still very much needed.
The camera software can only do so much to make up for the amateur photographers lack of skill.
Even if the camera gets good enough, a computer can’t tell you the right pose or the most flattering look to get the best shot.
For that, you need a professional photographer.
How to Become a Part-Time Photographer
Starting in the photography business is a three-step process. Luckily, each step is pretty short and easy to achieve.
Before you even begin, make sure you’re certain this is what you want to do. There is an initial investment of time and money.
Both can be considerable, especially if you’re going to do photography work the right way.
Step One: Get the Right Equipment
The good news with photography as a side hustle is that you no longer need a studio.
Once upon a time, studio space was virtually required for the right lighting and camera setup. With advancements in photographic equipment, every place you go can be your studio.
With that said, you’re going to have to buy some things. For starters, you’ll need a good camera, like the one below.
It doesn’t stop there because you’ll also need a couple of other things, such as:
- The appropriate lenses
- A mobile photography studio
- A camera stand
- A photo editing software such as photoshop
Altogether, this investment in equipment can cost, at minimum, about $3,000. It will be more if you get a large assortment of the best lenses.
Get a Photography Course
I can’t stress enough how important it will be for you to get a good starter photography course.
You can get started without one, and if you’re on a budget getting a course might not be an option.
But if you can afford it, I highly recommend you do. It can really help speed up your journey from being a newbie to an amateur to a photography pro.
Don’t fret about this initial investment. You should be able to recoup all of that money with your side hustle.
On the off-chance that things don’t work out, you can also resell the equipment to other photographers and gain back much of what you purchased.
Step Two: Build a Portfolio
You have your wonderful equipment. Now it’s time to do something with it! Build a portfolio that you can share with would-be clients.
- Nature photography and urban photography are great options for beginners.
- Use your pets as models to show off your skills in working with animals.
- Ask friends and family to pose for you.
Do you know any aspiring models? A free photoshoot will give them modeling experience and give you more faces to add to your portfolio.
A great addition to your portfolio is a wedding shoot. Offer your services as a wedding gift to a bride and groom on a budget. A wedding is a lot of work, but that one wedding can lead to dozens in the coming months.
The best way to advertise your portfolio is through a website that showcases your work, and the prices you have decided are best for your time.
You can charge by the hour or by the package. Usually, these go hand-in-hand. If you don’t want to or can’t spend more on a website and developer, social media is a fine choice for showcasing your art.
Step Three: Advertise
You have a strong portfolio and prices that are both reasonable and profitable. Now it’s time to advertise.
The great news is that you don’t have to invest in advertising. Social media can be a great tool for this.
Start by sharing your new side hustle on your social media channels, and then let your friends do the work for you.
Ask them to share your business page or individual photos. It’s very likely you can build a decent customer base from this alone.
Another great, low-cost way to advertise is through local businesses. You will need to have business cards or flyers made, but you can use these to share the word about your side hustle in coffee shops and other spots that allow small businesses to advertise.
Keep in mind that you may need a business permit depending on where you live. You will also need to pay taxes on every dollar you earn. Don’t forget that when setting your prices.
Reasons Not to Pursue Photography
There aren’t many reasons to avoid your passion as a photographer.
1. You’re Not Good at Photography
The primary one is the most obvious: If you’re not a very good photographer, you won’t make an income from it.
How do you know if you’re not very good?
Talk to friends or family members you know will be honest with you. Explain to them the amount of money and time that will go into setting up this side business.
Beg them to tell you if they think you have talent. Frankly, if you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably very good at your craft, or you’re very determined to learn the skills needed to be a good photographer.
2. You might not have the funds for an initial investment
Not having disposable income can keep you from pursuing photography the way you want.
Try to look at that in a more positive light. Use your less-than-professional camera to continue working on your craft. Save your money so you can make the eventual investment.
When you do save up the money for good equipment, you’ll already have a decent portfolio and a reputation among friends as the go-to photographer.
Photography is a great side hustle. You can work as a photographer around your schedule, set your own prices, and work as you wish.
Best of all, your side hustle is something you already love. What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments!