47 Things People Will Pay You To Shoot

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.

5. Food
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.

7. News
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.

9. Cars
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.

11. Celebrities
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.

13. Weddings
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…

17. Christenings
…christenings, birthdays, anniversaries and lots of other things besides. If an event happens once in a lifetime, people will want it recorded.

18. Children
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.

19. Fashion
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.

23. Graduations
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.

24. Authors
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?

30. Bands
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.

31. Demonstrations
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.

33. Pregnancy
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.

35. Confirmations
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.

37. Pets
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.

39. Parades
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.

40. Festivals
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.

46. Conferences
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.

47. Fundraisers
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]

17 comments for this post.

  1. zulkhas Said:

    This is cool, I'll used this listing of subjects so that i can track what I've covered so far. Thanks.

  2. ShootHouston Said:

    On #3 - Unless you are a licensed investigator, this is illegal to do (selling images of cheaters for purpose of litigation).

  3. Mike Hedge Said:

    great list!!!

  4. Don Vega Said:

    I think your list gives me many ideas that I will follow up and try. Thanks for the ideas. Don Vega

  5. Ildiko Said:

    Thanks for you ideas.
    Beside these there are many stock photo agencies around you can make money with.

  6. Frederic Hore Said:

    Permit me to add to this superb list, with the following:

    48 Construction & Industrial Photography

    On a drive home from some night photography (the Perseid Meteor shower last August) a highway was blocked off with traffic diverted onto the service road. I could see that something was going on ahead as the sky was ablaze in bright light! I stopped and grabbed my tripod and camera as a massive crane started hoisting 150 foot long steel girders, for a bridge that was being built at night! I stayed around till 2:30am shooting under the dramatic light. During that time, the project engineer approached me, saying he would pay for copies of these photos for use in a calendar. I returned on two successive nights to shoot more images, including portrait shots of the iron workers.

    For some time, this has been my habit - to cruise large construction sites, shoot some images, make a few "test" prints, and then offer my services after talking to the lead architect or site supervisor. Companies like progress shots, images of a site "as built" for insurance purposes and even just to place on their boardroom walls.

    So the next time you see men working in the middle of the night on a project, take some good photos... and you may be offered a contract - right on the spot!

    Frederic in Montreal

  7. Odin Said:

    #3 is not illegal to do, within limits.
    If you are shooting in public and you are not "Parting" the window shades to take the image and the people are in "Plain" view, even inside a building, it is not illegal.
    Anyone can be photographed "in public". People only have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" and you have NO expectation of privacy when your out on the street.
    If they don't want to be photographed then they need to close the shades.
    If you can be seen in public and the image is NOT going to be used for advertising.. you can shoot.

  8. max Said:

    These ideas are great!!!!I am artist and digital photographer I plan to seriously start doing some of these ideas. I do some photo work for a small community paper but pay is extremely low. I am pretty good photographer with nice panasonic camera dmc-fz30.I am honestly not a technical guru. I am hard worker.I really need to know how I should I set my prices for my work?

    [email protected]

  9. angie Said:

    In one early morning I have a gentlement who call himself " Volve magazine " would like to borrow my front store for picture. He said it takes a day to shoot and there will be some police officer blocking the street. He asked for my permission and I said I will call him . What is my next step to do , should I ask him for the loss of income for that photo shoot day and what if he says no. Can I just refuse him. Thank you

  10. Heather from Myrtle Beach,SC Said:

    What an awesome list Thank you so much,I always try to carry my camera with me eveytime I leave my condo beacuse you never know what you will see while you are out.I have come across an owl sitting on some rocks in the daytime at the middle of and intersection, to a hawk landing in a tree right in front of my face. what an awesome feeling when you can get a great opportunity like that.

  11. tyna Said:

    A great list,I will add one more to it Hospitals especially maternity wards if you have proper agreement with them,you take babies first few days after birth,those photos are always georgous and you might be able to get a package contract as the baby's photographer for every other occassion.Great site i love it.

  12. Zeera Morgan Said:

    Hey, great list, and adding a suggestion!!!

    Proms and Formal dances

    Everybody wants memories of prom night!!!

  13. Peter Said:

    Angie: Yes, you can charge him as much or as little as you like, and yes, you can refuse.

    As for the list, it's important to keep in mind that while doing photos for a band can keep you busy, it almost certainly cannot keep you paid. If you want to make enough to actually keep steady income, you'll have befriend probably 50 bands, because on almost any occasion, you shouldn't expect to get paid more than about $50.

    It's a viable thing in a major city (maybe), but not really anything less.

  14. rans Said:

    on frederick:
    great idea... cruising construction progress...
    to all who comment here... i can say some could be added to the list as well..
    thanks for sharing.

  15. Doug Said:

    I am just now getting into taking digital photos of anything I possibly can. I have had a couple offers to take pics but none of them have germinated. These are some very good ideas. Also I'm looking for some networking so keep the comments coming. Let me know where to find people who can show me more stuff about taking good profitable pics.

  16. Toronto Photographer Said:

    Yet another great list! I think dating portraits could be a big one as more and more people are searching for love online. I know Real Estate is also great.

  17. Miami Wedding Photographer Said:

    I think you have nailed it: "The bread and butter of any professional photography business. Rates are reasonable, demand is constant and the food makes a nice bonus". The most important source of income for millions of photographers!

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