Starting a Photography Side Hustle

Starting a Photography Side Hustle: Capture Moments & Earn Money


In today’s digital age, photography has become more accessible than ever before. Many people have discovered a passion for capturing beautiful moments, and some have even turned it into a lucrative side hustle. Starting a photography side hustle can be a fulfilling and profitable endeavor, allowing you to express your creativity while earning extra income. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to kickstart your photography side hustle successfully.

1. Define Your Photography Niche

Before you dive into the world of photography, it’s essential to determine your niche. Photography offers a wide range of specialties, including portrait, landscape, wildlife, events, product, and more. Consider your interests, strengths, and the type of photography that excites you the most. Your niche will shape your portfolio and target audience.

Photography offers a wide array of niches, each with its unique appeal and creative challenges. Here are a few different photography niche ideas to consider:

  1. Portrait Photography:
    • Studio Portraits: Specialize in capturing individuals or groups in a controlled studio environment. You can focus on classic headshots, family portraits, or creative concepts.
    • Environmental Portraits: Photograph people in their natural surroundings, showcasing their personality and lifestyle.
    • Pet Photography: Capture the beloved pets of your clients, creating cherished memories for pet owners.
  2. Landscape Photography:
    • Nature Landscapes: Explore natural wonders, from majestic mountains to serene lakes, and capture the beauty of the great outdoors.
    • Urban Landscapes: Document the architecture and cityscapes of urban areas, highlighting the interplay of man-made structures and nature.
  3. Wildlife Photography:
    • Bird Photography: Specialize in capturing avian species in their natural habitats, requiring patience and a keen eye for detail.
    • Big Game Photography: Photograph large mammals such as lions, elephants, and bears in the wild, often requiring wildlife tracking skills.
  4. Event Photography:
    • Wedding Photography: Document one of the most important days in people’s lives, capturing candid moments and emotions.
    • Corporate Events: Cover conferences, conventions, and corporate gatherings, providing professional event photography services.
    • Concert Photography: Capture the energy and atmosphere of live music events, focusing on artists and their performances.
  5. Food Photography:
    • Food Styling: Work with chefs and restaurants to showcase their culinary creations, emphasizing aesthetics and presentation.
    • Cookbook Photography: Collaborate with authors and publishers to photograph dishes for cookbooks and culinary publications.
  6. Fashion Photography:
    • Editorial Fashion: Shoot fashion spreads for magazines and online publications, collaborating with models, stylists, and makeup artists.
    • Commercial Fashion: Work with fashion brands to create visually appealing advertising campaigns and product shots.
  7. Street Photography:
    • Documentary Street Photography: Capture candid moments in public spaces, telling stories about everyday life and society.
    • Urban Exploration: Explore abandoned or overlooked urban areas, capturing the beauty of decay and forgotten spaces.
  8. Astrophotography:
    • Night Sky Photography: Photograph celestial objects, including stars, planets, and the Milky Way, often in remote, dark-sky locations.
    • Solar and Lunar Photography: Capture the sun, moon, and their various phases, eclipses, and transits.
  9. Product Photography:
    • E-commerce Product Photography: Provide businesses with high-quality product images for their online stores, emphasizing detail and clarity.
    • Commercial Product Photography: Work on advertising campaigns to create visually appealing product shots for marketing materials.
  10. Travel Photography:
    • Travel Blogging Photography: Combine your love for photography with writing to document your travel adventures for a blog or social media.
    • Cultural Photography: Focus on capturing the customs, traditions, and people of different cultures around the world.

These are just a few examples of photography niches, and there are many more to explore. When choosing a niche, consider your interests, skills, and the market demand in your area. Over time, you can refine your niche or explore multiple niches to diversify your photography portfolio.

2. Invest in the Right Equipment

Quality gear is crucial for professional photography. While you don’t need the most expensive equipment to start, you should invest in a decent camera, lenses, and accessories that suit your niche. Whether you choose a DSLR, mirrorless, or even a high-end smartphone, make sure you understand how to use your equipment effectively.

Finding good deals on photography equipment can be a savvy way to build your gear collection without breaking the bank. While there are various avenues to explore, one valuable option is to check out liquidation stores. These stores often offer discounted photography equipment, including cameras, lenses, tripods, and accessories. Liquidation stores acquire surplus stock or discontinued items, allowing you to find quality gear at significantly reduced prices. Additionally, keep an eye on online marketplaces like Amazon, B&H Photo Video, and Adorama for their frequent sales, refurbished products, and open-box deals. Don’t forget to explore local photography shops, as they may offer special promotions or bundles. Finally, consider joining photography forums and online communities where members often share information about discounts, promotions, and deals they’ve come across. By combining these resources, you can build your photography kit while staying within your budget.

You can also rent cameras with Grover.  

3. Learn Photography Techniques

Photography is more than just clicking the shutter button. To excel in your side hustle, invest time in learning photography techniques such as composition, lighting, exposure, and post-processing. Online courses, photography books, and tutorials can help you build a strong foundation.

There are numerous online photography courses available that can help you learn new techniques and enhance your photography skills. Here are some reputable online platforms and courses to consider:

  1. Udemy: Udemy offers a wide range of photography courses, from beginner to advanced levels. “Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography” and “Photography Composition & Portrait Masterclass” are popular options to start with.
  2. Coursera: Coursera partners with top universities and institutions to provide comprehensive photography courses. The “Photography Basics and Beyond” specialization from Michigan State University is a highly recommended course for beginners.
  3. edX: edX offers photography courses from institutions like Harvard and the Rochester Institute of Technology. “Fundamentals of Digital Image and Video Processing” is a good choice for those interested in the technical aspects of photography.
  4. CreativeLive: CreativeLive features live and on-demand photography workshops led by industry professionals. They cover a wide range of topics, including portrait photography, landscape photography, and post-processing.
  5. LinkedIn Learning (formerly LinkedIn Learning offers a variety of photography courses, including “Photography Foundations: Exposure” and “Photography 101.”
  6. Skillshare: Skillshare is known for its creative courses, and you can find many photography classes here. It’s a great platform for learning specific techniques or styles, such as portrait photography or street photography.
  7. KelbyOne: KelbyOne is a membership-based platform with a focus on photography and Photoshop training. It offers a comprehensive library of courses and tutorials.
  8. Phlearn: If you’re interested in Photoshop and post-processing techniques, Phlearn provides excellent tutorials and courses specifically geared towards photographers.
  9. YouTube: YouTube is a valuable resource for free photography tutorials and tips. Many experienced photographers and educators share their knowledge through video content.
  10. National Geographic Photography Courses: National Geographic offers photography courses, including “The Art of Travel Photography,” which can help you improve your skills in capturing stunning travel and nature photographs.

Before enrolling in any course, consider your skill level, interests, and budget. Read reviews and course descriptions to ensure that the course aligns with your goals and expectations. Whether you’re a beginner looking to master the basics or an experienced photographer aiming to refine your techniques, these online courses can provide valuable insights and inspiration to enhance your photography skills.

4. Build Your Portfolio

Your portfolio is your visual resume, showcasing your skills and style as a photographer. Start by capturing images in your chosen niche, even if they are for personal use. As your portfolio grows, select your best work to display on a website, blog, or social media platforms. A well-curated portfolio will attract potential clients.

5. Create a Business Plan

A successful photography side hustle requires proper planning. Create a business plan that outlines your goals, pricing strategy, target audience, marketing plan, and financial projections. A clear plan will help you stay organized and focused on achieving your objectives.

6. Legal and Business Considerations

Before you start taking on clients, consider the legal aspects of your photography side hustle. Register your business, obtain any necessary licenses or permits, and familiarize yourself with tax obligations. You should also have contracts in place for your clients, outlining terms, payment details, and expectations.

7. Market Your Photography Side Hustle

To attract clients, you need effective marketing strategies. Utilize social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to showcase your work and connect with potential customers. Building a strong online presence is key to growing your photography business. Additionally, consider investing in a professional website to showcase your portfolio and services.

8. Networking and Collaborations

Networking is a powerful tool for any business, and photography is no exception. Attend photography meetups, workshops, and industry events to connect with fellow photographers, potential clients, and suppliers. Collaborating with other creative professionals, such as makeup artists, models, or event planners, can also open doors to new opportunities.

9. Provide Exceptional Customer Service

Customer satisfaction is paramount in the photography business. Communicate clearly with clients, listen to their needs, and go the extra mile to exceed their expectations. Happy clients are more likely to refer you to others and become repeat customers.

10. Continuously Improve Your Skills

Photography is an evolving art form, with new trends and technologies emerging regularly. Stay updated by attending workshops, watching tutorials, and experimenting with new techniques. Constantly improving your skills will not only keep your work fresh but also set you apart from the competition.

11. Sell Photos Online

While most photographers either get paid by the person or business wanting certain photos taken, you can also take photographs of things that interest you. In the digital age, there are various online platforms where you can sell your photos to individuals, businesses, and publications. Whether you’re a professional photographer or an enthusiast looking to make extra income, here’s how to get started:

1. Create High-Quality Photos:

  • Before you start selling your photos, ensure they are of the highest quality. Pay attention to composition, lighting, and post-processing to make your images stand out.

2. Build a Diverse Portfolio:

  • To appeal to a wider audience, create a diverse portfolio that includes photos from different genres and niches. This will increase your chances of making sales.

3. Research the Market:

  • Understand what types of photos are in demand. Research trends and the needs of potential buyers to tailor your portfolio accordingly.

4. Choose Your Online Platforms:

  • There are several online platforms where you can sell your photos. Here are some popular options:
  • Stock Photography Websites: Stock photo websites like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Getty Images, and iStock allow you to upload your images for sale. They have a vast customer base looking for high-quality visuals for various purposes, from marketing materials to editorial content.
  • Print-on-Demand Services: Platforms like Redbubble and Society6 enable you to sell your photos as prints, clothing, home decor, and more. You upload your images, and the platform takes care of printing and shipping when someone makes a purchase.
  • Photo Marketplaces: Websites like 500px and SmugMug offer photography marketplaces where you can sell your images directly to buyers, set your prices, and retain more control over your work.
  • Photography Websites: Consider creating your own website to showcase and sell your photos. This option provides more control over pricing and branding but may require more effort in terms of marketing.

5. Keyword and Metadata Optimization:

  • To make your photos discoverable, use relevant keywords and metadata when uploading them to online platforms. Accurate descriptions and tags will help potential buyers find your work.

6. Understand Licensing:

  • Familiarize yourself with different licensing options. Some platforms offer royalty-free licenses, while others may allow you to set usage restrictions and pricing based on the license type.

7. Promote Your Work:

  • Don’t rely solely on the platform’s exposure. Promote your photos through social media, your own website, and photography communities to reach a broader audience.

8. Be Patient and Persistent:

  • Selling photos online can take time, especially when you’re starting. Be patient, keep uploading new content, and consistently engage with your audience and potential buyers.

9. Stay Informed:

  • Stay updated on industry trends, customer preferences, and the performance of your photos. Continuously improve your skills and adapt to the changing market.

Selling your photos online can be a rewarding way to earn money from your passion for photography. Remember that success may take time, so keep refining your craft, diversify your portfolio, and explore different selling platforms to maximize your income potential.


Starting a photography side hustle can be a rewarding journey. With dedication, the right equipment, and a well-thought-out plan, you can turn your passion for photography into a lucrative source of extra income. Remember that success may take time, so stay persistent, continue learning, and provide exceptional service to your clients. Your photography side hustle has the potential to capture not only beautiful moments but also a bright financial future.

Featured Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Starting a Photography Side Hustle: Capturing Moments and Earning Extra Income