If you’re like most avid shutterbugs, you probably didn’t pick up your first camera and take those very first shots because you wanted to make money. However, you’ve also probably entertained a fantasy or two about going professional since you first fell in love with taking pictures and with good reason.

Being able to make money doing what you love is something we all dream about. However, there’s no need to sign a lease on a studio downtown and try to make it a full-time job right away. The following are all excellent ways to start making money doing exactly what you love most – taking pictures and being the creative individual you were born to be.

  1. Offer your services locally.

Although there are lots of benefits to having your own studio, you don’t need one in order to pick up a few clients if that’s what you want. Lots of people prefer location shoots or outdoor settings when it comes to commemorating their special milestones and moments.

Give some thought to what kind of photography you do best and would most like to do for other people. Then build a strong portfolio in that area, build a website, and start getting the word out. There are markets out there for everything from professional headshots, to maternity shoots, to wedding photography, to boudoir sessions. Choose your own niche and move into it!

  1. License your photos as stock images.

Do you have a lot of super high-quality images just gathering dust on your hard drive? You may want to consider submitting them to stock photography sites like ShutterStock, iStock Photo, and similar platforms. Alternatively, you can get more mileage out of your Flickr account by licensing your existing photos through Getty Images.

If your photos do well, you can earn an excellent stream of passive income this way. Pay attention to what kinds of photos are most in demand and use what you learn as inspiration for future photo shoots to keep the income coming.

Moin Ahmed - The Mans Stare

Photo Credit: Moin Ahmed

  1. Start a blog or YouTube and monetize it.

Have you been taking photographs long enough to be able to speak with authority on the subject? Do you have a unique voice as an artist, as well as an enthusiasm for reaching other people? You might want to consider starting a blog, especially if you’re also a passionate and prolific writer. Bloggers make money by selling ad space, as well as via sponsored posts. Get popular enough and you could be looking at a pretty sweet income stream.

Not much of a writer? More excited about working with visuals than words? You could start a YouTube channel instead. It could just as easily contain the tutorials, product reviews, and other content you’d post on a blog, but in video form.

  1. Sell prints of your work.

There’s nothing like a beautiful photo to brighten up any space! If your best work would look right at home on the wall of a living room, bedroom, or office, you should really consider selling prints of your work. You may also want to consider this option if you have a loyal social media following.

You don’t necessarily need to set up your own ecommerce site in order to get started (although that’s certainly an option). You can just as easily sell your photos through sites like ImageKind or DeviantART. Alternatively, you could sell prints locally on consignment, at art fairs, or through local art galleries. If you have clients, don’t forget to make sure they’re aware that you sell prints as well.