Here’s the single best way to make money as an amateur photographer!
It seems like there are articles all the time about side-hustles and how to turn your your hobbies into paying gigs. Everyone is looking for an angle to take that thing they love to do and turn a profit off it. Photography and amateur photographers are no different.
I’ve seen everything from training programs for stock photography, including “micro stock” photography to photographing for the real estate industry to how to shoot weddings in your spare time. Hey, I’ve even bought one of those stock photography courses. If you pick up just about any photography magazine or hit any photography blog, there are an abundance of ads telling you that you, too, can take those photos of yours and publish them or enter them into a contest or sell them some way to generate a lucrative income! Well, I have the ultimate solution for you.
If you really want to make money with your camera as an amateur photographer, sell your equipment.
No, seriously, it’s the best way.
Now, maybe I’ll sound like a bitter cynic here, but, as an amateur, there’s just not enough money in selling my work to make it worth my while to spend all those hours taking photos, editing them and finding a market for them. Sure, maybe I can hustle up a couple of bucks for some micro stock or win a contest. Maybe. But, is it really worth it? Look, in my “day job”, I get upwards of $75 an hour when I do consulting or the right kind of contract work. But, if I manage to sell a stock photo for $10, my hourly rate will drop down to less than fifty cents an hour for all the effort I’d have to put in. And for what? For the privilege of sucking all the fun out of my hobby and killing one more way for me to have fun. Is it worth it? I don’t think it is.
So, unless I’m looking to make it a business, which really means spending a lot more time on the sales and marketing and administration of a business than the creative photography that I love, it’s not worth it to try to make money with my photography. It’s just not. The only thing I’ll ultimately get out of it is the destruction of something I enjoy and use to relax and try to forget about work.
Sometimes, instead of worrying about the “side hustle” or trying to make everything in our lives turn a profit that shows up in our checking accounts, maybe we should try to find the value in just creating art for the sake of art. Maybe we should just do something fun because it’s fun, not because it’ll buy us more junk we don’t want or need. Maybe, it’s enough to have a job that we don’t have to love but that pays the bills so we can have fun somewhere else in life. After all, if our jobs were fun, chances are we’d pay our employers instead of them paying us.
So, you know, don’t worry about turning your photography into money. Just take more photos and enjoy your hobby.