You’ve got the equipment and you’ve got the skills. What you don’t got is an idea of what you can shoot that will give you cash. Here are 47 money making photography ideas…
1. Corporate Meetings
When a team of executives has flown around the world to close a deal, the players often want a record of the happy moment… before it all breaks down. Stay close to the dealmakers and you could be the last one smiling.
2. Dating Portraits
But before the wedding comes the date. Online dating has created a new demand for eye-catching profile photos — and a new market for your portrait skills.
3. Cheating Spouses
The cheats won’t pay but the cheated on will cough up handsomely for images of their partners in the act. Expect long lenses and longer waits in bushes but make the divorce easier and you’ll be able to charge like a lawyer.
4. Wannabe Models/Actors
There’s no shortage of young women (and men) keen to break into showbusiness. They all need professional headshots. What they put in their portfolio, you can put in yours.
It’s not just recipe books that need images of tasty dishes, foody websites need them and so do some restaurant menus and any diner that markets itself. Snap away, then tuck in.
6. Corporate Executives
It’s not enough for company bosses to do the job, they have to be seen to do the job too. Shooting powerful people is a unique form of portraiture that brings a special challenge… and a special rate too.
You don’t have to be a staff reporter to get your picture in the press. Many outlets these days use stringers and accept freelance shots. Hit the phones, then hit the streets.
8. Inventory Items For Insurance Companies
Snapping people’s sofas might not be the most thrilling shoots you’ll ever have but it could be among the highest-paying. Talk to an agent.
Showrooms need them and so do auto magazines, workshops and even private dealers. And when the object’s a thing of beauty, taking car photos can be a lot of fun.
10. Annual Reports
Annual reports are one of the biggest markets for photography agencies. The bosses of the companies behind them can be a huge market for you too.
There’s always a market for a photo of a star, especially if they’re doing something they shouldn’t. But you can hang around red carpets too. Get a great shot and the papers will buy it.
12. Product Shots
Companies bring out new products all the time. That means they need new pictures all the time. And by a lucky coincidence, photographers need to eat all the time too.
The bread and butter of any professional photography business. Rates are reasonable, demand is constant and the food makes a nice bonus.
14. High School Photos
Hundreds of people crammed in one space all waiting for you take their pictures… and often paying in advance. It doesn’t get any better than that.
15. Real Estate
When a house is selling for a million-plus, what agent isn’t going to pay a few hundred dollars for pictures that bring in prospects?
16. Bar Mitzvahs
Weddings might be the bread and butter of the photography industry but photographers don’t live on bread alone. There are plenty of other events that photographers can shoot, including bar mitzvahs…
…christenings, birthdays, anniversaries and lots of other things besides. If an event happens once in a lifetime, people will want it recorded.
Children grow up fast so parents want those youthful moments frozen before they’re gone forever. The market is huge and the marketing is easy. Just get your ads around playgrounds and day-care centers.
Yes, fashion magazines will pay nice sums for runway shots and center spreads, but clothes stores issue catalogs too… and they’re easier to sell to.
20. Exotic Locations
Photography sites are filled with images of beautiful sunsets and golden beaches. What they lack are rainforests and Saharan sandscapes. If you’ve been somewhere strange, your camera could pay for the trip.
21. Exotic Animals
And while you’re there, don’t forget to shoot the wildlife. Finding pictures of sheep and dogs is easy. But good images of elephants, eagles and gorillas in the wild are hard to come by. If you’ve got some, you should be able to get stock sales at the very least.
22. Sports Competitions
There are all sorts of outlets for images of sports meets from the media to the family of the winner. It doesn’t have to be the Superbowl. It just happens to be an event you can attend.
Completing any course is a big deal, and when they do it, people want their pictures taken. Whether it’s high school, university or beauty school, new graduates will pay you to shoot the start of their new lives.
Ever wondered who shoots the portraits that appear on the back of every book? That’s right… photographers. Get to know publishers and there’s a good chance you’ll get to shoot some writers.
25. Facebook Portraits
We’ve seen that daters and authors need good shots of their faces but Facebook has millions of members, many of whom use the site for business as well as pleasure. Add on LinkedIn, MySpace and everyone else, and you’ve got a huge potential market of people who want to be seen.
26. Money (And Other Stock Images)
There’s no end to the sorts of objects you can sell as stock. Piles of cash is one but just browse the top-sellers at microstock sites for other ideas.
27. Press Conferences
The photojournalist’s standard. Not the most exciting job in the world but an interesting challenge and one that’s often open to anyone who wants in.
28. Theater Performances
Actors need photos for auditions and theaters need images of the performances. Build contacts in the theater world and you should get plenty of encores.
29. Product Prototypes
Not every design gets turned into a product but every prototype needs photos to show potential businesses. Know any engineers?
Musicians have a huge appetite for photos: for album covers, for interviews and for websites, posters and t-shirts. Join up with a group and you might not get the groupies, but you will get plenty of work.
Speech might be free but photography costs money. The media will pay for photos of demonstrations and the organizers often will too.
32. Art Exhibitions
There’s often a photographer at the opening of new art exhibitions, ready to show who was invited and who got to talk to the artist. Make sure you’re the one the artist hired.
Demi Moore broke new ground by putting her extended tummy on a magazine cover. Now almost every pregnant woman wants her time in front of the lens. Any reason it shouldn’t be your lens?
34. New Babies
Do a good job with the pregnancy photos and you should be able to get the new baby photos too.
And if you’ve done the pregnancy photos, the new baby photos and the birthday photos, why not the confirmation photos too? Do you see how clients can stay with you for a lifetime?
36. Book Signings
Authors need photographers to put their faces on the back of books; bookstores need photographers to record their authors putting their names inside the books. Talk to the manager.
Pictures of your own pets are always hard to sell, but people will pay handsomely for pictures of their pets. Do work with children and animals!
38. Publicity Events
Grand openings, charity giveaways, competitions and every other kind of publicity event is useless if a photographer isn’t there to record it. Talk to a PR firm.
Bright costumes, big smiles, candy-covered children… there’s plenty for a photographer to shoot when a parade is in town and plenty of people to sell the pictures to, including participants, newspapers and organizers.
And the same is true of festivals — except that they tend to stand still, letting you shoot at your leisure and from any vantage point you want. The takers though are exactly the same.
41. Art Collections
Art collectors need their pieces documented for insurance companies but also to show friends, to create their own catalogs and to send for appraisal. And who knows, maybe a happy collector will buy your art too…
42. Auction Catalogs
Big auction companies depend on good catalogs for high bids. They even sell them for high prices. You’ll need good insurance but with sales held regularly, you’ll be a winner every time.
43. eBay Items
Of course, you don’t have to get friendly with Sotheby’s to shoot for auctions. Everyone’s on eBay and many of them lack the pictures that bring the sales. Now, there’s a market for photographers.
44. Halloween Parties
When it’s time for a monster party, people spend hours preparing costumes only to be shot with a cheap flash. Find the big bashes and offer to document the outfits.
45. Award Ceremonies
Sure, it would be nice to be official photographer to the Oscars, but there are plenty of industry awards given each year. They pay too.
Conferences are as much about networking as listening to speeches. What better way to remember who was there — and what they look like — than have a photographer on hand? Make a pitch.
If someone’s paying a lot of money to attend a fundraiser, the organizers should be willing to pay you a little to give the donors a momento. Call a charity and work for a profit.
[tags] make money taking pictures, get paid to shoot pictures [/tags]