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If you do what you love for a living, you never work a day in your life. Turning your passion of photography into a job that pays isn’t something everyone can easily do, however. Monetizing one’s art is always a struggle, but there are several great jobs that feature photography as their main skill set, and freelancing opportunities, plus selling your work in-person and online are all great options to try.
It’s difficult to find jobs in the arts that are full-time, permanent positions. Some of the careers that can offer a secured role, along with contract and occasional work are:
Portrait or StudioPhotography, including wedding and family photography, school photos, and working for a portrait studio for a department store or corporate brand.
Photojournalists who chronicle and capture the visual elements of current events, noteworthy news, disasters, war zones, sporting events, and more.
Commercial Photography encompasses those who take corporate, industrial, and marketing photos. This could be photos for a home design magazine, a fashion shoot, urban planning, architecture, and landscapes from a bird’s eve view from a helicopter.
Forensic and Science Photography captures crime scene photos and other evidence, pictures of biological specimens using microscopic photography, and phenomena and species of the natural world.
Sports Photographerscatch all the action at sporting events and show the excitement or disappointment of fans in the crowd.
Travel Photographers jet around the globe to capture exotic landscapes, animal species and natural features, tourist destinations, hotels and city life, and other points of interest to attract visitors.
There are many other types of photography jobs that suit a whole range of interests and goals.
Another route is starting your own fine art photography business. This involves capturing the scenes, people, and other subjects that catch your artistic eye and then selling the file or print to customers. This could be sprawling landscapes, wildlife, shining urban cityscapes, abstract art, portraits and people, classic black and white still lifes, and more. These photographers need to use high-quality online photo printing services using the best mediums like stretched canvas, metal, acrylic, and a range of photopapers and finishes. A home printer does not produce nearly the quality of image that a professional, boutique printing shop can. Plus, their expert staff can help photographers choose the best options for presentation.
Once you have stellar images and prints, how do you sell them? The easiest way to reach the widest and most diverse customer base is an online shop. Whether this is on a personal website or a place like Etsy, is up to you. Artists can choose to sell the file or a quality finished print; the latter is preferred to secure that your intellectual property and work isn’t going to be shared or spread around online and out of your hands. Remember to account for the cost of proper shipping materials suited to your medium. Many customers prefer a stretched canvas that is prepared by a professional shop overreceiving a rolled canvas in a tube.
It’s also important to get yourself out there. Attend art and photography shows and fairs, festivals, trade shows, etc., to meet the photography community and photography lovers. Create business cards to pass to good connections and interested parties that are well-designed and unique. Keep your social media presence consistent but not overwhelming, such as a nicely curated Instagram feed – and be generous with likes and follows!
Ryan Yarbrough is a small business consultant, speaker, and the manager at Davis Financial Services, a small business consulting firm.