Jun 14 2007

Making Money with your Digital Camera – Part 2

Published by at 11:10 am under Tips and Ideas

Your photographic skills, combined with a digital camera, could be a great way to put extra cash in your pocket. It is not necessary to be a professional photographer to get started. Solid skills with your camera, combined with creativity and basic business skills will provide a strong foundation.

This article gives a variety of ideas for earning money as a “free lancer”.

Selling Scrapbooks of Events

If you’re a participant in a family or class reunion, you could be the person who takes pictures of the big event, compiles it into a easy-reading visual scrapbook, and sells it to others who were at the event. Everyone wants a souvenir and reminder of a good time, and as memories fade, a quality scrapbook would be something most people appreciate. Read our series of articles on scrapbooking, starting here.

Fishing contests

Live near a popular fishing spot? There is bound to be at least one contest each year. Be around at the end of the contest to take photographs of the contestants who didn’t even think of bringing a camera. Most fishermen are more concerned about fishing than carrying cameras, but they want a picture of their stringer full of fish… or the big one that they’re going to have mounted.


Chances are that within driving distance of your location there are parades for every holiday of the year. Not to mention things like the Potato Festival in my community. Just be in position to get great shots of folks and floats in the parade and sell the prints back to the individuals or to their family members. The folks who take part in the parades are often way too busy to take pictures before or after, so someone who captures them in action might really be doing them a favour. Remember, you can’t use photos of the people to sell to the local paper unless you get releases from the people who are recognizable.


All levels have graduation exercises in today’s world. Whether it is preschool, grade school, high school, or college, there are probably dozens of Grad Ceremonies near you every year. If the family members of the graduate aren’t located in as good a location or don’t have as good a camera as yourself – you’ll have even greater opportunity to get the shots they can’t.

Birthday Parties

You need to be very familiar with your camera and its flash before taking on a child’s birthday party. The energy level at a party is phenomenal!

By the way, click here to read an article on how to photograph children or here for one about babies.

Recreational Facilities

For example, what if you were to stand at the top of a ski-lift at a resort and offer to take snapshots as souvenirs? Look around your area for places you could do similar things. Another example I just thought of was to take a camera with a good zoom lens and go to a area where people drive those sea-doo crafts on water.

Custom Calendars

Most print shops can produce custom calendars. Take shots that would be enjoyed by a variety of people in the area and then make enough calendars that you qualify for a discount. Sell them as Premium items, thus providing some profit. Perhaps you can even appeal to a niche market and sell them to enthusiasts of a specific event, where people come from all over the country for a special seminar.

Dance School Recitals

Dance recitals are only once a year, but taking photographs of beautiful children in their costumes can increase your bank account balance substantially. By offering a photo package of one 8×10, two 5×7’s, four wallet photos, and one 5×7 class photo, you can make some serious change. If you make the teachers responsible for posing the students, and offer one pose per child, you can process even the largest classes in just a few days.

In summary, Keep Your Eyes Open, and Always Keep Your Camera Close By. Newsworthy events happen every day somewhere, and just about everywhere at one time or another. Local and national pro photojournalists can’t be everywhere. So there is an opportunity to take and sell good photos of breaking events. Keep your eyes open for them. While being there to cover a breaking event is partly a matter of luck, you can also do photo features on interesting people, places and events that occur in your area. Take photos that help tell a story, keeping in mind what you have learned about composition. With breaking news, you have to shoot when and where it’s happening, but with features, you can often choose a photogenic time and place.

Here is a book that came highly recommended by a successful photographer. It covers the business side of photography. From its promotion material — PHOTOGRAPHY: FOCUS ON PROFIT is a combination profitability handbook and business automation software that enables photography students and experienced professionals to reach the level of profitability and professionalism that is needed to grow in today’s competitive marketplace. (the links are to the appropriate branch of Amazon)

Photography: Focus on Profit
by Tom Zimberoff
Paperback: 407 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications; Bk&CD-Rom edition (October 1, 2002)
for Canadian addresses
for U.S. addresses

Here is a link to an e-book that gets into more detail on the tips in this 3 part article. Make Money With Your Digital Camera.

P.S. Watch the newspaper for announcements of events nearby. Then make sure your batteries are charged up and memory cards are empty. Get clicking!

P.P.S. If you already have a good computer, with a DVD writer, consider getting software that will create a DVD slide show of your photos. Then, either provide a client with all their photos on DVD, or provide potential clients with a DVD of sample photos that you have taken. In either case, number each photo on the screen so a client can easily order prints.

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