View Full Version : Photography - how to make a little money from a hobby?

22-05-16, 22:23
My husband's always had a real interest in photography and has had a couple of things published - one in a magazine and a couple of websites have used his pictures and credited him but he wasn't paid as an amateur. Making money isn't his first concern - it's a hobby and it gives him something to do, gets him out of the house and he enjoys sharing pics online with fellow amateurs as a way of having a bit of a social life as he has serious social anxiety and really struggles with face to face contact with anyone other than family, so chatting online is a great way of him keeping in touch with people. He's mainly into horse racing photography, wildlife and scenic stuff, which is great because we live in a rural area with plenty of quiet places to go (he doesn't do crowds) and we go to the wilds of Scotland as much as we can afford to, which is absolutely perfect for photography, though we've found it a bit more difficult now as we both have mobility issues which have got worse and there's only certain places accessible for our scooters.

It has occurred to us that if some of his stuff is good enough to be used on websites etc if there's a way he could earn a little money from it. Because of his health, it's not something he'd be able to do as proper occupation as such and he hasn't any qualifications, but selling an odd picture here and there would give him a sense of achievement and help go towards better equipment or even a weekend away for more photo opportunities. He doesn't get ESA so no worries about falling foul of WCA's for trying to have a bit of a life outside vegetating at home.

Has anyone ever had a go at this or knows anyone who has? There just seems to be so many websites but it's difficult to know which are genuine and which are scams.

23-05-16, 14:23
There are a few ways to make some money from good images.

One way to go about this is to join an agency who will put your photos in their collection.
When a magazine, website, etc. wants an image of a particular subject they contact the agency who send them a selection to choose from. (or the magazine, etc. picks it from an online collection).
If they pick your image to use then the magazine pays the agency a fee, the agency takes it's percentage, and pays you the remainder.
Popular images can be chosen again and again for years earning you a fee every time.
Other images will never get chosen and may eventually get dropped from the collection.
It's not a way to get a regular income, unless you are a very popular photographer, but can give the odd windfall.

If you have a local gallery, art/craft shop, or similar then you could try getting a few of your better images printed and framed; and asking the shop to sell them for you on a comission basis.
It doesn't even have to be a gallery, I've done this in the past in a local greengrocers and made a fair bit of money both for me and the shop owner.
Think a bit outside the box about where you could display your prints for sale.
Oh, and if you are doing this its a good idea to sign the prints like you would a painting.
And maybe even make them limited editions. i.e. only 50 prints, numbered 1/50, 2/50 and so on. (You don't have to print all 50 at once but keep a record of how many you have done in this way).

Of course the main money to be made from photography is in Weddings, portraits, etc. (Have you seen what they charge these days).
But I guess this is not an option for your husband?
I have also done some wedding photography myself, and it can be pretty stressful knowing you play a large part in making or posiibly spoiling someones big day.

23-05-16, 16:07
Further to Nukehead's comments.

Advertising agencies and designers source photos they want to use in brochures and publicity. They use istockphoto http://www.istockphoto.com

I've taken formal wedding photos for friends for free - as they won't pay professional fees. You really need an assistant to do the running about to pull wedding dresses straight and organise groups. You're usually on a tight schedule especially if another wedding happens 30 minutes later.

I also made money taking photos of cranes in action - that is like Liebher cranes. This type of photography is via a fixed fee - a sort of commission.

If he wants some sort of income then choose studio portrait work. He'd need a small studio, a couple of silver umbrellas with flash units and tripod stands plus a backdrop - he could rent an existing studio for half a day.

He could also act as a roving photographer at summer open days for tenants of housing associations. He needs to contact the publicity section of say a Housing Association to offer a fixed price service.

If he's creative - shooting photos in black and white is novel and helps to make him stand out.

Good for him - happy snapping.

23-05-16, 16:10
Thanks for the info. We've looked at some of those online image sites and they look like a bit of a rip-off, paying pennies for using your images but the gallery/shop idea is a good one. There are a lot of craft shops/cafes etc where we live as it's quite rural so that might be an idea as long as I do all the contacting etc for him. He couldn't do portrait stuff and weddings due to the social anxiety which is a shame as he'd probably do well at pet portraits since he's done some brilliant pics of ours and family's dogs. He would have loved to have been a professional horse racing photographer (and that's what he had published) but it's pretty difficult to get accreditation unless you have the right contacts and have previously sold pictures. Definitely worth thinking galleries etc though, he's not expecting to ever make a lot of money and make a living out if it but the sense of achievement for him would be huge, plus the occasional bit of extra money towards holidays etc

23-05-16, 17:20
From what Caley says I dont think that her husband could manage the studio or social events.

I think landscape and wildlife is more his forte.

Istock is one of the worldwide agencys, it is more geared toward professional photographers although they will take images from talented amateurs

23-05-16, 19:04
One of the best amateur photographic clubs 'in the world - that's official' is based in the North West called Wigan 10.


I think he will be inspired with this creativity. A must for any digital photography is using photo manipulation software.

I'd recommend Adobe Photoshop. If he were to attend a night school class and get a Student Union card he could get Educational Discount on the software. The least he should use is Photoshop Elements.

24-05-16, 14:41
I'm a Pro Photographer, I have my own studio and I shoot a lot of Pets at my studio.. My advice re making money, is don't give images away for free on websites and magazines. It's great to get your name out there etc... but once you start giving it away for free then it becomes expected. I would recommend a fee of £30 an image to start with.

When I do commercial work my contracts stipulate a day rate + a usage fee per image per year for websites.. So you can soon make a decent crust from it..

Another thing he may like to do is create a small DIY Product photography studio in the home and offer services of taking pics of products for people at say £5 an image. I recently built one from bits and bobs at B&Q for £6.24

A lot of research and learning can be achieved via Youtube.. You can get 30 day trials of Lightroom and Photoshop from Adobe (just uninstall and re-install after 30 days if you want).

See my images at petography4u.co.uk or find petography4u on facebook

27-09-16, 14:09
There are online website's that let you sell photos, I'm not sure what Flickr does but there's plenty of other sites that let you sell them. I personally put them online but with all rights reserved for copyright purposes.