How To Start A Photography Side Hustle In 2023

Are you passionate about photography and are looking for a way to turn your hobby into a lucrative side hustle?

In this blog post, we’ll explore how to start your own photography business, find the perfect niche, and make money in a number of ways.

Whether you’re just starting out or already have some experience under your belt, the tips and insights I am about to share with you will help you get your side hustle up and running in no time.

Before I start…

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Starting Your Photography Side Hustle

You probably have been thinking of starting your own photography side hustle but don’t know how to go about starting it. The good news is that you can start your photography business with no prior experience and start making money.

From our experience and others who’ve made a career out of photography, if you have an eye for details and are genuinely interested in the world around you, you will do just fine. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to start a side hustle. You can do it part-time without quitting your day job.

So, what do you need when you are starting your photography side hustle?

Find Your Niche

The photography world has countless genres to choose from, such as wedding, event, travel, and food photography, just to mention a few. You have to identify what you are most passionate about or what you think you can do (in terms of your experience) to focus on perfecting your craft within that field and target specific clients who appreciate and value your unique style.

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To pick your niche, explore various types of photography to see which one resonates with you the most. Attend workshops led by experienced photographers in different fields or do your research online to find your niche.

Work on your skills

You don’t have to be a top-of-the-food chain photographer to make money in photography but you need to be decent enough. For example, you need an eye for detail to produce great photos that people will be willing to pay for. You also need to understand other elements like lighting and framing to get started in photography.

Fortunately, you will improve your skills the more you take photos and there are tons of free and paid resources such as YouTube videos and online courses that will help you improve.

Build Your Portfolio (website and social media)

A well-curated portfolio is an essential component of any photography side hustle. It showcases your talent, style, and professionalism to potential clients while highlighting the breadth of your experience.

Start by selecting both high-quality photos that represent various aspects of your niche (e.g., wedding photography, travel photography) and a variety of photographic styles or techniques.

Investing in a user-friendly website allows you to conveniently display your work and attract more clients. On your website, you can have separate galleries for different types of photography, such as stock photos for microstock photo sites or personalized fine art prints for sale on your own site.

Also include client testimonials from previous successful projects like engagement photo sessions or event photography services that highlight not only the quality but also the emotional impact and relevance of your photographs.

In addition to a website, you can display your work on social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest.

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Invest In Quality Gear (Camera and Editing Software)

You need quality gear to have a successful photography side hustle. High-quality equipment helps you create stunning images and positions your as a professional photographer in the industry.

If you are just starting out and don’t have enough money to buy a high-end camera, you can buy a cheap one like a Nikon D3500 or a Fujifilm X-T200. These ones are usually between $500 and $1,000 yet they do a decent job. As you get more experience, you can invest in a more expensive camera that will produce better photos.

Invest In Quality Gear (Camera and Editing Software)

You need photo editing software to bring focus to an image, highlight the key subjects and transform your picture into something truly spectacular. There are a number of options, from the popular ones like Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom to others like Canva or some that are free. The paid ones are reasonably priced; for example, the Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop bundle costs about $9.99.

You will also need an external hard drive because the photos you take may fill up your computer’s memory pretty fast. Moreover, even if storage is not an issue, you need an external drive to back up your work.

Later on as you progress and expand into niches like wedding photography or stock photography sites, you may need to invest in more specialized gear – for example, drones for aerial shots (drone photography) or underwater casing for oceanic captures.

However, do not prioritize gear acquisition over honing your photography skills.

Find photography studio space

This is not a requirement to start your photography side hustle and it largely depends on the type of work you will be doing. For example, if you you’ll be photographing people at weddings, you can forego having a studio.

Find photography studio space

If your work revolves around having a studio, you can start off with a space you already have access to that has all the amenities you need for a studio.

Work With Another Photographer

If you are starting out and don’t have enough confidence to start taking on clients by yourself, you can shadow another photographer to get your feet wet and learn how things run.

Reach out to a photographer and ask if they need an assistant. You can also join the local photography community where you can find help navigating the profession.

Develop A Marketing Strategy

In the photography side hustle world, having a strong marketing strategy is essential. You need to spread the word about your business and attract potential clients to increase your revenue.

One effective way of advertising your services is through social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. It’s crucial to showcase your portfolio regularly, including behind-the-scenes photos, sneak peeks of upcoming projects, and client testimonials.

Another practical approach is networking with local businesses or event planners that may need photographers for their projects. Reach out to them via email or direct messaging on LinkedIn with an introductory letter outlining what sets you apart from other photographers in terms of style and niche expertise.

Lastly, consider paid online advertising options like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads targeting specific demographics based on interests or location.

By combining these strategies effectively and constantly iterating as you go along- the possibilities are endless!

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Ideas For Making Money With Your Photography Side Hustle

There are various creative ways to monetize your photography side hustle, such as selling prints and digital copies, offering personalized merchandise, developing photo editing presets, and offering photo sessions.

Sell Prints And Digital Copies

If you have a photography side hustle, you can be selling photo prints and digital copies, which can be a lucrative source of income. Here are some ways to make money from them:

  • Sell prints online: You can use your website or a third-party platform like Etsy to sell physical prints of your photos. Offer different sizes and finishes to appeal to different customers.
  • Create a stock photo account: Many businesses and individuals need high-quality images for their websites, marketing materials, and social media accounts. Sign up for a stock photo site like Shutterstock or iStock to start selling stock photos online.
  • Offer digital downloads: If you don’t want to deal with printing and shipping physical products, consider offering digital downloads of your images. These can be sold on your own website or through platforms like Etsy or Creative Market.
  • Wall art: Sell framed prints, canvases, or posters of your best shots.
  • Partner with local businesses: Approach local cafes, restaurants, or shops about displaying your prints in their spaces and offer them a percentage of the sales.

Remember that having a clear target audience and marketing strategy is key to successfully selling your work. Don’t forget to showcase your best work on social media platforms like Instagram and ask previous clients for reviews and referrals to build credibility in the industry.

Do Photo Shoots

You can also make money by doing photo shoots. You can either do that in your own studio or by offering shoots on location.

People look for professional photographer to have them take beautiful photos to commemorate the special moments in their lives. You can do maternity shoots, newborn shoots, graduation photo shoots, headshots, family portraits, just to mention a few.

To get work, you need to build your portfolio, share your work on social media, and ask people to spread the word.

When you are charging your clients, ensure that you are within the standard range. If you are just starting, find out how much other local photographers are charging.

Offer Personalized Merchandise

You can monetize your photography by offering personalized merchandise. Here are some ideas:

  • Customized photo books: Create high-quality photo albums featuring your client’s favorite images.
  • T-shirts and tote bags: Use your photos to design custom clothing and accessories.
  • Calendars and greeting cards: Offer personalized calendars or greeting cards with photos of your client’s choice.
  • Phone cases and laptop sleeves: Use your photos or client’s photos to create custom phone cases or laptop sleeves.
  • Coffee table books: Compile a collection of your best photographs in a coffee table book that can be customized for each client.
  • Magnets and keychains: Use your photos to create personalized magnets or keychains that make great gifts.

By offering personalized merchandise, you can add value to your photography business while showcasing the quality of your work. This can also help build brand loyalty as clients will have tangible items that they can keep as a reminder of their experience with you.

Start a Blog or YouTube Channel

You can start a photography blog or YouTube channel to make money from your photography. The catch here is that you need to develop a sizeable following to monetize your efforts.

As a blogger, you can make money through ads and sponsored content by writing about different techniques and styles. You can also leverage your experience as a photographer to write reviews of equipment and software.

On a Youtube channel, you can focus on teaching people how to take photos in a certain style or review photography equipment and software.

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Sell Photos at Art Shows

You can visit the local art show and display your work there. You can sell photos that people hang on their walls.

It is worth mentioning that sometimes displaying your pictures at a show may not pay off directly in monetary terms but will give you exposure.

Become a Photo Editor

You can make money working as a photo editor. Taking the picture is just one part of the digital photography process. A photo has to be edited to create the intended mood.

If you know your way around photo editing software such as Lightroom or Photoshop, you can be editing and retouching other photographers’ work.

Develop Photo Editing Presets

If you want to earn extra money from your photography side hustle, you can develop photo editing presets that will help other photographers streamline their editing process.

Develop Photo Editing Presets

Photo editing presets (also known as photo filters, plugins, or styles) are a group of settings that enable you to edit your photo quickly. They come in form of software or even applications.

As a professional photographer, you will appreciate the convenience that comes from editing your images in a few minutes with a preset rather than set everything up by yourself.

Once you have developed your craft, you can create your own presets and make money off of them. Here is how you go about that:

  • Choose a photo editing software that you’re comfortable with and learn how to create presets for it.
  • Experiment with different styles and effects, and tweak the settings until you achieve the desired look or feel.
  • Organize your presets into categories based on the type of photography or style they’re best suited for (e.g., landscape, portrait, vintage).
  • Test your presets on different types of images to ensure they’re versatile enough for a wide range of applications.
  • Write clear instructions on how to install and use your presets, along with sample images to showcase their potential.
  • Price your presets competitively by researching what other photographers are offering in terms of quality, quantity, and pricing.
  • Promote your preset collections through social media ads, affiliate marketing programs, or collaborations with other photographers or bloggers.

By creating high-quality photo editing presets, you can tap into the growing demand for fast and efficient post-processing tools among amateur and professional photographers alike. With a little bit of investment in time and effort upfront, you could generate a steady stream of passive income from selling digital products that complement your existing photography services.

Teach about Photography

If you have a passion for photography and have accumulated enough knowledge that you can pass on to other people, why not teach?

You can offer photography classes, post short tutorials on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, or create full-fledged online courses. With a good course on photography, you can start earning passive income.

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Tips For Success In Your Photography Side Hustle

To become a successful professional photographer, even when you are doing it as a side gig, there are a few things you need to pay attention to. Here are 4 tips to setting up a successful photography side hustle:

Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is essential to the success of any photography side hustle. Ensure that your ambitions are achievable, and that you’re not setting yourself up for failure by aiming too high.

Break down larger objectives into smaller, more manageable tasks. This could involve identifying a target number of clients per week or month, establishing regular social media posts or blog updates, or spending dedicated time each day improving your editing skills.

Build Strong Client Relationships

You have to build strong client relationships to succeed. Connecting with your clients on a personal level can create a loyal following and lead to referrals. One way to maintain strong relationships is by keeping communication open and clear.

Another important aspect of building client relationships in photography is providing a high-quality service. If you go above and beyond for your clients, that can set you apart from other photographers in the industry.

Lastly, show appreciation for your clients’ business. A simple thank-you note or small gift can go a long way in making them feel valued and respected.

Continuously Improving Your Skills

You need to continuously improve your skills. This means staying up-to-date with the latest trends, techniques and technologies in the industry.

You can take online courses, attend workshops or even shadow more experienced photographers to learn new tricks of the trade. Additionally, practicing on a regular basis is essential for honing your craft and getting better at it over time.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles or subjects as this will help you find what works best for you and set yourself apart from other photographers.

Stay Organized

To stay organized, keep track of client information, upcoming shoots, and deadlines to avoid any last-minute mishaps.

Utilize tools calendars, spreadsheets or project management software to help you stay on top of things. You can also create templates for contracts, invoices, and marketing materials to save time and effort during the process.

Staying organized will allow you to allocate enough time for each client while providing them with high-quality services tailored to their needs.


In conclusion, starting a photography side hustle can be the perfect opportunity to turn your passion for photography into a profitable and rewarding venture. With the right equipment, skills, and marketing strategy in place, you can reach potential clients through social media platforms, personal networking, and word of mouth.

By offering personalized merchandise or selling prints or digital images online, you can make some extra cash from your hobby while building your portfolio.

Whether it’s shooting wedding photos or capturing landscapes that take people’s breath away-photography is an incredibly visual subject full of endless possibilities for creativity.

Before you leave

If you’re tired of scams and want a real solution for making money online check out my no.1 recommendation.

It’s helped me earn over $300,000 in the last 12 months alone:

Go here to see my no.1 recommendation for making money online

(This is a 100% free training)

How To Start A Photography Side Hustle In 2023 10

David Fortune has been the editor since 2019. He is an expert at writing content on stock advisory services, side hustles, reviewing online business opportunities and many more topics. You can learn more about David on our about us page.

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