Recently, a lovely gal named Gemma contacted me on Instagram with a question most if not all of you have probably asked at one time or another. This was her inquiry:
“I have been doing photography as a hobby for a long time but I want to start selling my images. Just wondering if you have any advice on how to start selling prints, etc.?”
It’s a valid question. We live in a time when the 9-5 paradigm is shifting and people are feeling more inclined to turn their passions into their professions. And a lot of people have had success doing just that. But photography – street photography – can you really make a living off it?
Gemma’s question inspired me to do a little research. Turns out there is quite a bit of information available on the topic and some really great articles pop up with just a simple Google search. Interestingly, each author seemed to have found a way to make money with street photography in their own unique niche. So instead of compiling the information into my own article on the topic, I thought it might better serve you guys to offer you a list of resources wherein you can research some or all of the money making techniques that interest you the most. So here goes nothing:
- Making Street Photography Pay by Nick Turpin – This article is a good place to start because Nick has broken down commercial street photography work into four distinct categories: advertising, design, editorial and social media. The article talks about the challenge of maintaining your voice, handling the business side of selling images, legal issues that might be involved and some considerations you should make when taking on a commission. The commercial niche is a tough one to get into, but if you are brave and already have a portfolio together – you might venture to try it.
- How to Make Money as a Street Photographer: A No Nonsense Guide by The Inspired Eye – This article focuses on selling your images as prints or books. It talks about taking a fine art approach to selling your images. The article is packed with other resources and even details how to set up a website and get your marketing strategy rolling.
- How to Become a Photography Teacher by Eric Kim – In this article, Eric details four ways to monetize street photography as a teacher. If you have a background in education and a passion for shooting the streets – this could be the route for you. The article isn’t extremely detailed, but the ideas for teaching street photography are good and will give you a starting point for further research.
- How I Make Money Off Street Photography: It’s Not what You Think by Michael Comeau – This is a fascinating one in which Michael talks about converting your personal street photography work into commercial jobs. Basically, you promote your personal street shots, people admire your style and then ask for your talents at an event or even for portraits.
So there you have it – four basic ideas with several possible niches you might be interested in. Let me know what you think! And if I left out any ways to monetize street photography that you think are worth sharing or if your have a personal success story about making a living off street photography, please get in touch. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, a big thanks to Gemma for reaching out with her question! We are always glad to hear from you guys through the website, email, Instagram and Facebook.
Happy shooting y’all!