Photography has become an incredibly popular and profitable profession in the UK over the past decade.
If you’re looking to make money from photography, there are many strategies and business models that you can use to start earning today.
In today’s blog post, we will be exploring 15 of the most effective ways to make money from photography in the UK.
From using stock photography sites to selling your prints online, this guide will help you get started making money through your passion for photography.
Photography Market Statistics in the UK
According to IBISWorld, the market size of the Photographic Activities industry in the UK was £1.2bn as of 2023, which is an increase of 4.82% from 2022.
The industry includes photographic processing services, portrait photography services, commercial photography services, and other photographic services.
As of 2022, there were estimated to be approximately 73,300 photographers and audio-visual operators in the UK!
What is the future of photography?
Photography has come a long way since its inception over 200 years ago.
The future of photography is expected to be immersive photography, which will allow people to experience a scene as if they were there.
According to Taylor Davidson, the camera of the future will be an app, a software rather than a device that compiles data from multiple sensors.
In 2022, AI-generated imagery exploded and changed photography forever!
What are some popular photography trends?
There are several photography trends that are popular right now. Here are some of them:
- 360 Photography Trend: This type of photography gained a foothold in product photography, where the subject would turn as the camera captured. Photographers are changing how we shoot by turning the camera 360 degrees to capture the world around it.
- Softening of Light: The most popular use of this trend is with a softening of the light in images that create a bit of a color cast. The almost-muted tone is subtle and creates a distinct feel for the image
- Capturing Social Distance: Social distance is the recurring theme from last year. There’s the ubiquitous six feet or two meters that we’ve all come to know. But there’s also the emotional sense of isolation and social distance we all feel as a society3.
- Imagery with Art: This is another trend that’s carrying over from social media: A mashup of reality in images against art
- Minimalism: Minimalism is a trend that has been around for a while now, but it’s still going strong. It’s all about simplicity and stripping away anything that’s not essential to the image.
- Film Photography: Film photography has been making a comeback in recent years, with many photographers opting for film over digital cameras
- Black and White Photography: Black and white photography has always been popular, but it’s making a comeback in a big way this year. It’s all about capturing emotion and mood in your images.
How To Make Money From Photography in UK
A. Selling Stock Photos
Selling stock photos is one of the most popular ways to make money from photography.
But how does it work?
Essentially, stock photos are pre-shot images that a photographer has uploaded to a website where they can be purchased and used by individuals or businesses for various purposes.
The photographer earns a commission every time someone buys their photo.
To start selling your own stock photos, you first need to have high-quality images that would be useful for commercial purposes – such as landscapes, people in different settings, and abstract concepts.
You then need to choose an online platform where you can sell them, such as Shutterstock or iStockphoto.
Once you’ve set up an account with one of these platforms, simply upload your photos and wait for buyers to purchase them.
When someone purchases one of your stock photos, they will typically pay a licensing fee for the right to use the image in their own work (such as on a website or in marketing materials).
As the photographer who took the photo, you will earn a percentage of this fee each time someone uses your image.
Over time, if you continue uploading high-quality stock photos that are in demand by buyers , it’s possible to build up a steady stream of passive income from selling your images online.
B. Offering Photography Services
For example, if you have skills in photo editing software such as Photoshop or Lightroom, offering photo editing services could be another revenue stream for you.
Many photographers don’t have the time or expertise to edit their photos properly, so they may be willing to pay someone else to do it.
C. Selling Prints and Products
Another one of the most popular ways to make money from your photography in the UK is by selling prints and products.
This can include anything from canvas prints to phone cases, mugs, and even t-shirts with your images printed on them.
Many online platforms allow you to set up a shop and sell your products quickly.
These include marketplaces like Etsy, Redbubble, and Society6.
When selling prints and products, it’s essential to consider the quality of the items you’re offering.
Make sure that any photos you print are high-resolution and look great when printed out.
Also, choose high-quality materials for any products you create to last longer and look more professional.
Finally, don’t forget about packaging and shipping costs when pricing your items for sale.
Make sure that these costs are factored into your prices so that you don’t end up losing money on each sale.
With careful planning and attention to detail, selling prints and products can be a lucrative way to monetize your photography in the UK.
D. Teaching Photography
One of the best ways to make money with photography in the UK is by teaching your craft.
Whether you’re an experienced photographer or just starting out, teaching others how to take great pictures is a valuable skill that can be monetized.
Many different avenues for teaching photography include online courses, workshops, and one-on-one tutoring.
Online courses are becoming increasingly popular as more people turn to remote learning options.
You can create and sell your own photography course online through platforms like Udemy, Skillshare or Teachable.
Alternatively, you could offer personalized coaching services through video conferencing software such as Zoom or Skype.
If you prefer a more hands-on approach to teaching, consider offering in-person workshops or classes.
These can be focused on specific techniques like portrait lighting or landscape composition, and they provide a more interactive learning experience for students.
You could also consider offering private lessons for individuals looking for personalized instruction tailored specifically to their needs and skill level.
E. Entering Photography Contests
Contests can be a great way to earn money and gain recognition for your work.
Many contests offer cash prizes, and winning or placing in a contest can help boost your credibility as a photographer.
Plus, participating in photography contests can push you to create new and unique work that you may not have thought of otherwise.
When looking for photography contests to enter, start by checking out websites such as Photo Contest Guru, which aggregates information on contests worldwide.
Also, many magazines and online publications run their own photography competitions.
Pay attention to each contest’s theme or subject matter before submitting your work – ensure it aligns with your style and interests.
While entering contests does require an entry fee in most cases, consider it an investment into yourself and your career as a photographer.
Putting yourself out there and sharing your work with others may land you that big break leading to more opportunities.
F. Start a Photography Website
Starting a photography blog is an excellent way to showcase your work and share your passion.
A photography blog can be monetized by earning through ad revenue, affiliate marketing or selling digital products.
To start a successful photography blog in the UK, decide on the niche you want to focus on.
You may choose landscape, portrait, fashion, food or any other type of photography.
Once you have chosen your niche, create a website and start publishing articles related to that niche.
Share tips and tricks on how to get better at that particular type of photography. Write reviews of cameras and equipment you use or recommend.
Also, consider writing about your photography experiences and share behind-the-scenes stories from photoshoots.
To monetize your blog successfully in the UK, consider partnering with brands whose products align with your niche.
Alternatively, consider creating digital products such as preset filters for photo editing software or eBooks on mastering certain types of photography techniques.
These can be sold via online marketplaces such as Etsy or Gumroad or even directly through your website using tools like WooCommerce or Shopify.
G. Selling Photography Workshops and Classes
One of the most profitable ways to make money from photography in the UK is by selling online workshops and classes.
With the rise of digital technology, more and more people are interested in learning photography skills.
This provides an excellent opportunity for photographers to share their knowledge and expertise with a broader audience.
Selling online workshops and classes can be done through various platforms such as Udemy, Skillshare, or your own website.
It’s essential to choose a platform that suits your needs and target audience.
Some platforms charge a commission fee for each sale while others allow you to keep all the profits.
To make your online workshops and classes stand out, it’s essential to provide high-quality content that is both informative and engaging.
You can also offer personalized feedback to your students, which will help them improve their skills even further.
With dedication and hard work, selling photography online workshops and classes can be lucrative for earning money from your passion for photography in the UK.
H. Freelance Photography
One of the most lucrative strategies to make money from photography in UK is to become a freelance photographer.
Freelance photographers are self-employed individuals who work on different projects for various clients.
They can specialize in different areas such as wedding photography, event photography, nature photography, and more.
To become a successful freelance photographer, you need to have excellent technical skills and a good eye for capturing unique and engaging images.
You should also have strong communication skills to interact with your clients and understand their needs.
Once you establish yourself as a reliable freelance photographer, you can build your portfolio and expand your network to attract more clients.
If you’re interested in becoming a freelance photographer in the UK, there are several platforms where you can find gigs such as Upwork, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour or even social media channels like Instagram or Twitter.
You can also reach out to local businesses or individuals who may require professional photographs for their website or marketing materials.
Starting off small but consistent will help build relationships that could lead to referrals and larger jobs down the line.
I. Make Your Own Photo Book
Creating your own photo book can be a fun and unique way to showcase your photography skills, while also potentially earning you money.
To get started, gather your best photographs and select the ones that tell a compelling story or have a common theme.
Then, choose a platform to create your book and begin designing its layout.
Several online publishing companies offer easy-to-use software for creating photo books, such as Blurb or Mixbook.
Once you’ve finished designing your book, you can order copies to sell at local markets or online through platforms like Etsy or Amazon Marketplace.
Another option for making money with photo books is by offering custom design services to clients who want their own photo albums created.
This could include families wanting to document special events like weddings or businesses looking to create branded marketing materials.
J. Sell Your Photos in Galleries
Another lucrative way to make money from photography in UK is by selling your photos in galleries.
Galleries provide a platform for artists and photographers to showcase their work, reach a wider audience, and sell their pieces.
If you have a collection of high-quality photographs that you believe are worth exhibiting, approaching local galleries can be a lucrative option.
Before approaching any gallery, it’s essential to do your research and find the ones that align with your style and genre of photography.
You should also prepare a strong portfolio highlighting your best work showcasing your photography skills.
Once you have selected potential galleries and created an impressive portfolio, reach out to them via email or phone, expressing interest in exhibiting your work.
Once accepted into the gallery, ensure that all necessary arrangements such as framing, printing, and pricing among others are made beforehand.
Attend the exhibition opening night and engage with visitors who may show an interest in purchasing your photographs.
Selling through galleries can be an excellent way to gain recognition as an artist while making money from doing what you love – taking stunning photos!
Now, several galleries in London accept photo submissions. Some of them are:
- Open Eye Gallery: They have a rolling submission-based open call called Open Source, which allows developing and early-career artists to showcase their work digitally on the gallery’s exterior screen. A new photographer will show for the duration of a month, every month.
- Sunny Art Centre: They accept photography submissions from all photographers and Feature Shoot readers for just $20.
- The Brick Lane Gallery offers emerging and established artists exhibition space in Brick Lane, Shoreditch, London. They help artists gain exposure in one of the main capitals of the art world. Their exhibitions are open to both international and UK artists.
K. Create Photography Apps
The rise of smartphones has created a new market for photography apps that can help users enhance their pictures or create unique visual effects.
Developing a photography app can be a lucrative way to monetize your skills and passion for photography.
Whether you want to create an app that allows users to edit their photos with filters, add text or stickers, or even take better quality pictures with advanced settings, there is potential for profit in this growing market.
To successfully develop a photography app, it is important to research the competition and identify what sets your app apart from others on the market.
You should also consider partnering with other photographers or influencers who can help promote your app through social media channels or word-of-mouth marketing.
Finally, make sure you are offering something of value to your customers – whether it’s convenience, improved functionality, or access to exclusive content – in order to encourage them to download and use your app.
Either way, creating a photography app can be an exciting opportunity for photographers looking to monetize their skills and stay ahead of the trends in the industry.
With careful planning and execution, developing an innovative and user-friendly photo editing tool can lead to significant profits over time.