How to Make Money as an Amateur Photographer

How to Make Money as an Amateur Photographer

Digital photography has opened up the world of photography to professionals and amateurs alike. Nowadays, amateur photographers can easily get their foot in the door to the photography field, mostly thanks to the Internet. The most important thing, however, is to put together a portfolio of your best work.

There are many stock photography websites where you can submit your work and earn revenue. Some of the best websites include BigStockphoto, Dreamstime, Fotolia, iStock, and Shutterstock.

Some tips about these sites:

  • If you submit photographs of people, you must have those people sign a model release form
    • If you cannot get a signed model release form, sometimes websites will accept your photo as an editorial photo-meaning it will be used for news purposes
    • Take a look at each website before choosing one to submit your work. Each website offers different rates per photo, and you tend to receive more money if you become an exclusive photographer for one website
    • All of these websites require quality work that can be easily resold for commercial purposes. Many of these sites provide tutorials and quizzes you must take before submitting any work

Another online source you can use to get started on your photography portfolio is Craigslist. I've seen many jobs listed that are looking for photographers to take pictures of food, products, babies, and more. Oftentimes these gigs are unpaid, but they will help build up your portfolio, which will help you get more photography jobs in the future.

Craigslist often has advertisements looking for people to be the second shooter for a wedding. This is a great opportunity to break into wedding photography, which can otherwise be quite stressful. By working as a second shooter, you can learn from an experienced wedding photographer how to get all the important shots, and what kind of equipment you need.

Newspapers and magazines are also great sources for freelance photographers. Media outlets in general are constantly looking for great newsworthy photos, so go to your city's local festivals or concerts in the park and take lots of photos! You can also take photos of your hometown or photos of a vacation and try to sell them to a travel magazine or travel website.

So, say you've taken a bunch of photos and now you want to showcase your work in your portfolio. What do you do now? The best and easiest way to show your photos to potential clients is to put it online. Sites such as and are excellent tools. I have my own carbonmade account, which allowed me to post 35 of my best photos for free and organize them as I please. And yes, this has helped me get a couple photography gigs, so I know it works!

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