Magic Secrets Revealed

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Earn money from photography

Money From Your Camera

People pay money for pictures. Why shouldn’t it be your pictures? There are many ways to earn money from a camera, some requiring more skill than others, but with all of them the golden rule is “give the customer what he or she wants”. In other words, take the pictures people want to buy, not just what takes your fancy.

When choosing which markets to go for you need to take two things into account, your own level of expertise and the camera equipment you own. A small digital camera will do for some jobs but there are situations where only film or large digital files of 12Mb plus will do.

Wedding Photography.
This is the first thing many people think of but don’t even consider wedding photography unless you are a really competent photographer and have at least two good cameras so that you have a back-up to hand. I carry two film-based SLR cameras plus an 8Mp digital camera. Consider buying medium format if you are likely to do many weddings so that you can provide larger prints if required.

There are three approaches to wedding photography – formal, informal and “arty”. Most couples want a set of formal portraits as the core of their wedding pictures. Agree the groups required beforehand with your customers. Explain that you will need plenty of time. Shepherding people is time-consuming. There’s always someone who goes missing when you need them. If possible, visit the venue beforehand to find the best locations. Work out where the sun will be and how you are going to fit in large groups. Look for banks or steps to arrange them on. If you have them looking up at you make sure they are not squinting into the sun.

Ask what other shots are required. Remember the cake, and perhaps the rings. Arty shots are up to you and your creativity. Get the main group portraiture out of the way first so that you have time to be creative. Most commercial photographers leave the informal shots to the guests but it’s worth grabbing any extra shots you can. One favourite of mine was a shot of the bridesmaids climbing on a gazebo!

Magazines and other publications.
Publishers vary considerably in their requirements. You won’t get a look-in unless you provide the right kind of pictures in the right way. Being based in the UK I joined the Bureau of Freelance Photographers to keep abreast of what editor’s are looking for. Pictures must be sharp and well-composed. Include both landscape (horizontal) and portrait (upright) shots in any submission unless told otherwise. Cover shots may need some uncluttered space for the title and other text and generally require high quality originals. Study your chosen publications first to see what they use and how they use it.

You can get more sales if you can write good copy as well. A ready-made illustrated feature which fits the magazine’s requirements is a boon to any busy editor. Some editors will not accept unsolicited submissions so you may need to contact them first with your idea.

Greetings cards and postcards.
For a while the greetings card market turned away from photography and towards graphic or artistic design, but in recent years the photograph has made a comeback. Quite a lot of monochrome is used and also natural subjects. Florals, people, animals and landscapes are all popular again now.

Postcards are not the most lucrative market but there is the advantage that you can easily get your own produced and take them to local shops and tourist spots.

Stock libraries and agencies.
Most stock libraries now work with digital files online but there are some areas where film is still preferred. A quick search should on the Web will throw up dozens of online photo agencies. Take a look at something like to get an idea of what’s involved. Submissions have to be exactly as specified by the agency. Make sure you understand what rights you are selling. Don’t sell your copyright to a picture unless you are getting a very high sum for it. Rights are normally sold for single use or for licensed use which should be specified. Royalty-free images can be used by the purchaser again and again.

“Citizen” Photography.
The news media have caught on to the value of asking members of the public to send them shots taken on their phones or digital cameras. Quality is less important than newsworthiness. A citizen photographer is no substitute for an experienced journalist but it’s just a matter of someone being in the right place at the right time. If you find something newsworthy unfolding in front of you get the shots then decide where to send them afterwards, but never ever put yourself or others at risk and never hamper the work of the police or emergency services.

For more on earning money from your camera visit

Linda Cooke worked in education for many years but has always sidelined as a freelance writer and photographer. In recent years she ventured onto the internet with Good Ideas Publishing. Main websites are

Article Source: Linda Cooke (

1 comment:

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