Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ways You can Earn Income from Photography

Happy Mother's Day to all of you Mom Arazzi's and Momtographers out there (and to you non photographer moms, too)! Remember, without moms, there would be no photographers--without dads, there normally would be no family photos, because he's never in them!

There are lots of ways to earn income from your photography. In a bit, I'm going to give you a list of VIABLE ways to earn money with your camera. I say "viable," because there are a bunch of scumbags out there that are ready, willing, and able to scam you out of your money. Most of these people have a website that promises you "Make hundreds--even thousands--of dollars with your camera!" Now, they want to sell you their eBook or a subscription to their email blast, and there is nothing wrong with that...IF the information has any value, and as long as it isn't ridiculously overpriced!

I am offering Kindle publications. They range in price for $1.99 to $9.99. They provide actual information that is useable.


On the flip side, the vast majority of these scams below ask $39, $69, $99, even $199 for the information--which is pretty much worthless. It is not uncommon for these to be a come-on, a scam, a rip off--plain and simple. Here are a couple of examples (all predicated on the purchase of an eBook, CD or PDF, of course):

A common ploy is to advertise that you will earn $1000 a day/week/month (year is probably more like it) photographing people at a fancy restaurant--the idea being everyone will be dressed to the nines, and they would love to have their portrait taken.

I'd like to see the actual sales receipts.

First of all, very few are going to do this at a restaurant unless it is a special event or holiday: New Years, Easter, Mother's Day, Christmas, etc. I have done this personally at our local country club where I was a member. And while I did all right, I sure as hell didn't earn $1000 every time I did it. Some holidays were better than others, and people will not participate each and every time. So while the BASIC premise is sound, the promised results are exaggerated.

Another one is to be a "field rep" for a company to take photographs of homes and businesses, etc. You get paid $XX for every picture you take. This is right up there with getting paid to stuff envelopes or be a "secret shopper."

Yet another one has been running for nearly 50 years: a photography company specializing in reunion photography calls local photographers and tells them they will pay them $500 to photograph a local reunion. After you send the film or digital card, they will pay you the $500, plus give you $50 for each digital card you send them. You will never, ever see any money. I cannot give you the name of this company, because they are CONSTANTLY CHANGING IT! As people get burned, they MUST change the name to hook new suckers.

An old one that has just about disappeared offers "Get paid $268 for every roll of film you shoot!" They have you take pictures for Child ID forms to protect these children in case they are snatched. They never sell any of these forms--they make all their dough off from you. When I was in HIGH SCHOOL this scam was being run, and a had a couple of friends who pooled $49.95 (back then--I think it's up to $69.95 now).

"But Steve--they give me a 100% money back guarantee if I am dissatisfied for any reason!"

Oh, sure they do: it's 100% all right, 100% worthless. Take a look at this most excellent post by Lesley Fountain explaining The Anatomy of a Worthless Guarantee on her website. It's priceless! Her website has good information, too.

Don't feel bad if you've been scammed--it happens to more people than you realize, because most of them feel too foolish to tell you they got the shaft. When I was young, I paid money for press credentials that promised me that I would be, "...permitted access to any sporting or entertainment venue for free." They were worthless.

Or then there was the stock photo scam that got me big time. You paid $100 per form--one form per category--filled out the form, sent your images, and you would be making $100 to $1000 for every photograph sold. End result: I paid out $500 (that I couldn't really afford back in 1978), never received a dime, and never got my images back. OUCH! A 55 gallon drum of KY lube should have come with those forms...

But take heart, young gunner! There are actually ways you can earn a real income from photography. The list below is not complete, there are certainly more. I have actually earned income from many of the activities listed. Take a look!


OVER 100* WAYS YOU CAN ACTUALLY EARN INCOME FROM PHOTOGRAPHY

TYPE
DIFFICULTY
EQUIPMENT
Sports Teams
**
*
Graduations
***
*
PR Events
*
*
Parties
*
*
Banquets
**
**
Reunions
***
***
New Years Events
**
**
Fashion Shows
**
*
Theatre Groups
*
**
Nursing Graduates
**
***
Model Composites
**
**
Church Wall or Directory
*
**
Golf Tournaments
*
*
Country Clubs
*
*
Magazines
*
*
Restaurants
**
**
Car Dealers
*
*
Book Covers
*
*
Model Contests
**
**
Hobbyists
**
**
School/Group Composites
**
**
Motorcycle Clubs
*
*
Period Costume Portraits
*
***
Legal Photography
**
*
Santa Photos
*
**
Easter Bunny Photos
**
**
Auction Flyers
*
**
Construction Progress
*
**
Tourist Photography
*
*
Ebay
*
***
Corporate
**
***
Hospitals
**
***
Physician’s Directory
**
**
Bar Association
**
**
Presentations
**
*
Advertising
**
***
Elemtary Schools
*****
*****
Halloween Pictures
*
*
Nursery Schools
****
***
Dance Schools
**
*****
School Dances
**
****
Headshots
**
**
HS Seniors
***
*****
HS Proms
**
***
HS Yearbooks
*
*
Candid Sports Photos
**
*
School Service
*
*
Group Service
*
*
News Stringer
**
*
Bar/Bat Mitzvahs
**
**
Family Portraits
*****
****
Child Portraits
*****
***
1st Communions
**
*
Hospital Newborns
***
**
Weddings
*****
**
Products
****
*****
Ann. Reports
*****
*****
Fashion
*****
*****
Political Photography
*
*
Architectural
*****
*****
Travel
***
****
Parades
*
*
Fairs
*
*
Races
****
****
Animals
*****
***
Photo Book
*
*
Car/Yacht Clubs
**
**
Illustrative
*
*
Dog Shows
***
***
Stock Photography
*
*
Room D├ęcor
*
*
Greeting Cards
*
**
Post Cards
*
*
Posters
*
*
4-H
*
*
Real Estate
*
*
Nursing Home
***
**
Groups & Organizations
**
**
Calendars
*
*
Trade Publications
*
*
Fundraisers
*
*
Insurance
*
*
Home Inventory
*
*
Home Portraits
*
*
Home Before/After
*
*
Garden Photos
*
*
Brochures
*
*
Photo Novelties
*
*
Custom Screen Savers
*
*
Photoshop Services
****
****
Retouching
***
***
Teach a class
*
*
ID Cards
*
*
The Categories Below are VERY LOW VOLUME Today
Passports/ID
*
*
Copy/Restoration
*
**
*The total listed is less than 100, but several of these categories have multiple ways to earn money.
"But Steve, how do I actually make make an income from these topics?" Well, some are self explanatory. I obviously cannot give you all the details in a blog post. That would be one BIG post. But I do have a Kindle book that is about to be released. In this book, I give you details on what it takes to do these, from start to finish. If you would like to be notified when this book is ready, send me an email and in the subject line please put PHOTOGRAPHY INCOME LIST.

That's all for now. Check back next week for further words of wisdom that you just cannot live without! Until then, may all your exposures be on the money.
--Steve Bohne

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Thanks for your interest and contribution to PHOTOGRAPHY FOR INCOME!