Have a camera and looking to make some money? Look no further! In this article we will cover a few simple steps you can take to earn some extra cash this weekend with photography. Following these steps will also help you establish a strong foundation for your photography business, setting it up to grow in the future. With that said, let’s dive into it!
READ OR WATCH: This blog post is also available in video form! If you’d rather watch me explain this content, simply watch the video below. Otherwise you can find the text guide below. Just keep scrolling!
Step One: Identify Your Target Market
What/who do you want to photograph?
The first step is to identify a market you would like to shoot for. It’s important we focus on one thing in the beginning, as it allows us to better target our potential customers. You can focus on portraiture, couples, cars, cafes, restaurants, etc. Once you choose the broader category, you can then narrow this down even more to focus on a very specific niche.
For example, if you want to focus on portraits, you can focus specifically on graduation portraits, or professional headshots for LinkedIn profiles/resumes. This will allow you to target people that specifically need these types of photos.
One thing worth noting is portraits are by far the easiest form of photography to start earning money with. The reason for this is because there are so many people that need photos for one reason or another. Graduation photos and professional headshots are only two of the many types of photos that one might need in their lifetime. Others are pre-wedding couple photos, photos for dating profiles, family photos, etc. There is so much opportunity here!
Step Two: Develop a Portfolio
5-10 Good Images is Sufficient!
Whatever you choose to shoot, it’s important you show that you can shoot that thing effectively. You can do this by building a portfolio that contains photos that appeal to your target market. For example, if you are trying to get paying clients for professional headshots, you should have several photos of professional headshots you’ve taken in the past. Nobody will hire you if you cannot show them you can photograph them effectively.
5-10 photos is usually enough to show that you can photograph something effectively, and you can build this portfolio in a short amount of time.
If you don’t have a portfolio yet, that’s totally fine! We all start somewhere. The best way to build a portfolio is to do a few free shoots for family and friends. Shooting for free is a great way to not only learn about how a professional photoshoot works, but it will also give you photos you can use in your portfolio. On top of that, it’s a great way to get others to share your work on their social media pages (which as you will soon learn is the MOST important thing for growing your photography business). Whenever you offer a shoot for free, make sure the person agrees to share the images and give you a shoutout on their social media page after the shoot.
Step Three: Create a Compelling Offer
Make it irresistable!
Once you’ve established a target market and created a portfolio that will appeal to that market, it’s time to create your offer! This is a crucial part of the process, as this is what’s going to get you paying customers. Create a special offer that people in your network can take advantage of, and make it irresistible.
Let’s dive into an example. Say I want to make $500 this weekend by shooting professional portraits. So, I create a post on Facebook announcing a special professional headshot promotion for this Saturday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm at a local coffee shop. In that post, I explain that this is a special one-time offer to celebrate the beginning of summer (this could be anything – just gives you a reason to make a promotion), and for $50 anyone can book a 30 minute portrait session during that time slot. For $50, they will receive 3 high quality edited photos that they can freely use anywhere.
The trick to this offer however, is making it easy for people to spend more money. $50 for 3 photos is affordable, but after people see the images you take they will likely want to purchase more. Thus, you can sell extra photos for $10, $15, or even $25 each. The more extra photos they purchase, the cheaper those photos become. Using this upsell technique will allow you to turn a $50 photoshoot into $75 or $100, in just 30 minutes of work!
You will earn $500 if you shoot 10 portraits at $50 each, but with these upsells in place that $500 could easily turn into $1000 profit, in a single day! The sky is the limit here.
The trick to nailing this offer is to make sure you are providing a service that people in your network actually desire. Take a moment to think about the people you are connected with on social media or other communities you are a part of, and reflect on what type of images they might need. You can create your offer based off of this.
Step Four: Plan and Nail Your Shoot!
Make sure you are prepared to take some amazing photos.
Once you’ve crafted your offer and created an announcement to share with your networks, it’s time to shoot! Here are a few tips you can follow to make sure the shoots go smoothly, and without stress.
- Make sure you know the location you are shooting in. Always go to the location a few days before the shoot and get to know the lighting situation (note: this will change depending on the time of day and position of the sun). If you can learn which parts of that location are good for photos, it will be easy for you to photograph your subject when the day of the shoot comes.
- It’s very helpful if you can schedule multiple clients in one day in the same location. You can shoot every client with the same angles and compositions. This will make the process incredibly easy and straightforward for you. Stress free!
- Bring a contract. This doesn’t have to be anything crazy, and you don’t need to hire a lawyer to create one for you. You can do this when you start earning more money. For now, you can just create a short document that outlines all the terms for the shoot. You should be sure to include several things:
- The names of the client and yourself
- Location and time of shoot
- How many photos will be delivered
- If they will receive raw photos or not
- When the final edited photos will be delivered
- How/where the client can use the photos (Full licensing rights in situations like these is most common)
- Cost of service and instructions on how the customer can purchase extra photos if they choose
- Payment instructions
- Cancellation policy (can be simple)
- Any other details you think you should include.
Ensure you both agree on this and sign this prior to the shoot.
After the shoot, try your hardest to deliver photos early! I always recommend you deliver the final photos before the client expects them. This is a great way to build a good relationship with your client, and will lead them to be more inclined to share the final photos with their social networks. This leads me onto my next point (and perhaps the most important), which is to ask the client to share!
Step Five: Ask Your Client to Share
The most important step!
Last but certainly not least is to encourage your client to share the final images with their social networks. This is the most important step for building a strong foundation for your photography business that will continue to get you new clients in the future. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful for the growth of your business, and you can create a six figure photography business just by people you know sharing your name with their networks.
You can kindly request this of this client during/shortly after the shoot, as well as in digital correspondence down the road, such as when you deliver the final edited images.
Summing Things Up.
If you aren’t confident in charging yet, that’s alright! Get comfortable by offering a few free shoots to friends and family. Just know that you are already likely better than most people out there, and your time is worth something! Hopefully you will soon gain the confidence to put yourself out there and make some extra money!
By following the steps outlined here you can expect to earn $500 or even $1000 this weekend alone. Not only that, but this activity is great for building a strong foundation for your photography business. This will ensure more clients in the future, and can eventually lead you to becoming a full-time professional photographer.
So what are you waiting for? Go get-em cowboy!