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How to Make Money as a Photographer in College
How to Make Money as a Photographer in College
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How to Make Money as a Photographer in College

Money254
Sheila Brenda Andoi
July 14, 2022

College life can be expensive and challenging.  

When you're managing school, studying, and life, knowing a few basic strategies to make money can come in handy.

At this stage in your life, there are some creative ways you can make money without having to put your studies in jeopardy. You will not only make money but also potentially launch yourself into a successful career even after graduation.

Lights, camera, action! - Photography!

Getting a good camera that can set you out in this venture could cost you as low as Ksh30,000. As a student, your budget may probably be too tight and fully dependent on what you either get from your parents or guardians so buying a camera could look like an uphill task.  

Don't fret! You can focus on getting a used camera.  You can save up any little money you get until you raise enough to buy yourself a camera. If possible, ask your parents or siblings to help you with some funds or rent a camera whenever you have gigs.

You could also volunteer for some time to help you develop your interest and expertise before moving on to paid work. As you progress in your art, so does the potential of earning more and getting yourself an even better and more effective camera increase.

Photo editing tools? That can be solved with a few free, basic photo-editing apps such as PicsArt, Snapseed, Adobe Photoshop Camera, and Pixlr before progressing to more advanced and professional ones.

So, how can you break into the industry?

Read Also: 5 Short-Term Financial Goals for College Students in Kenya

Photograph Small Businesses and Organisations

A business without a website nowadays is very rare. Almost everything has shifted to the online space. From gyms to hotels, and restaurants, fashion businesses, real estate companies, salons, etc,  all have websites that need to be stocked with beautiful pictures for marketing. 

This is where you come in and offer to photograph their stores, offices, or organisations to showcase the products and services they offer. How will you find them? 

Take a walk around your neighbourhood and spark up casual conversations with business owners regarding who you are, what you do, and how you can help them bring in more clients with stunning photographs. Carry a couple of pictures that you have done along to better market yourself. Better yet, show them your online photography portfolio which could be simply a page on Instagram.

You can also get businesses to work with from the internet. Cold pitching through direct messages and email may be looked down upon today, but it can work wonders if you do it right. You might be surprised at how many people truly require a competent photographer like you.

Read Also: Should I Get a Job Or Start a Business After College?

Work Under Someone Else as an Assistant Photographer

Do you want to make money with photography but aren't yet prepared to take on your own tasks? Consider assisting other photographers.

Helping an experienced photographer is one of the best ways to learn the craft and get on the fast track to making money. If you want established photographers to give you a chance,  ensure that you have a strong portfolio and work ethic. You may not be the main camera person here, but it is a great way to build your skillset. 

The most challenging part here could be finding an experienced photographer that you can work with without being manipulated. That shouldn't discourage you though. 

Look for professional and active photographers around you, contact them to see if they require any assistance, and offer to work with them.

Read Also: Campus Money: Frugal Advice For Fresh College Graduates

Become a Freelance Photojournalist

Regional and local newspapers, travel magazines, online media sites, and photo agencies are all possible places for you to make money as a freelance photojournalist.

The media is constantly in need of images to accompany breaking news articles or pictures that portray an unusual event. Professional photographers within the media houses can't be everywhere, even if they are frequently present at newsworthy events. So, if you saw an interesting occurrence and took photos of it, you can make good money by approaching the media houses, and that's just one instance.

If you want to become a freelance photojournalist, contact the media house, or editorial departments directly and ask if they would want a freelancer. Most if not all media houses in Kenya have their contact details online and on their websites. Make Google your friend.

If you can also get in touch with the editor or the picture editor of a certain media house or publication, the better and you could start selling your pictures to them. Certain publications may insist on exclusivity, making it even better since exclusive photos mean more value and more cash.

If your photos are rejected the first time, try again and again. Continue to propose new ideas if one, two, or even five of them say no. Be consistent, patient, and professional while at it.

Read Also: 5 Financial Hacks for Recent College Graduates

Create a Photography Blog or Website.

Do you want to channel your inner creativity? Create a blog! 

It will not only make your work visible, but will also position you as a subject-matter authority, and, most importantly, eventually make you some money. A photography blog can be utilised to make money in a variety of ways.

The first involves placing adverts through Google AdSense or other alternatives such as Media.net and being paid every time a user clicks on them.

The second method is via affiliate marketing, which includes agreeing to include a link in some of your posts. As with adverts, you will be compensated each time readers click on those links. 

The third method is to review different products or services from certain businesses/companies. This can be very profitable if you stick to the photography niche and become an expert reviewer of cameras and photography accessories. 

Whatever path you pursue, if you want to make a living from your blogging, you'll need to generate a lot of traffic and that will require quality content, consistency, and patience. 

Read Also: College Life: 7 Red Flags You're Making a Bad Financial Decision

Sell Your Photos on Stock Photography Websites

If you have a strong portfolio, consider selling your photos on stock websites.

These platforms amass millions of photographs and videos, which they subsequently make available to periodicals, businesses, and advertising agencies. Photographers are reimbursed for each download of their work. 

The cost per download is affected by the platform, the type of licensing you have, and a variety of other factors including types of images. If you want to make money, you should bet on quantity and release new photos regularly. All these will determine how much money you can make from these sites.

The first step to getting started on this is to register on stock websites and start feeding your account with content. Each shot you submit will be examined before it is published, but you'll be able to handle the entire process in a matter of days. iStock, Shutterstock, and BigStock are some of the most well-known stock photography websites. 

Read Also: 8 Common Money Mistakes that College Students Make

Paid Photo Shoots

This is very common in college. Photoshoots are the order of the day and that’s a great place to start from. If you want to provide more professional photo shoots you might consider renting a studio or doing indoor shoots.

You have lots of possibilities here as well because many people prefer outdoor or site photography. People will always need a professional photographer to help them capture some of the great occasions in their lives, whether it's in a studio or not.

To get started, all you need to do is create a great portfolio, create your website, or an Instagram page to start with, tell your friends and family, publish your work on social media, and do anything else you can to promote your services.

You can organise: pregnancy photo shoots, headshot ads based on pictures of real estate fashion photo shoots, graduations, birthdays, newborn photography, or family photography.

Do your research and find out what other photographers in your area are charging to be competitive when setting your rates.

Read Also: Small Business Ideas to Start while on Campus

WRAPPING UP

There’s no one specific way to succeed in this field, so find your path and run with it. 

Due to the growth of social media, YouTube, and influencers, you have the opportunity to go your way and make it big. 

Consider getting personal photography gigs or working as an assistant to a seasoned photographer. You can also start a blog, a YouTube channel, or simply use Instagram to share photographs of your work and establish a name for yourself.

The good news? You get to enjoy and have fun while at it!

Sheila Brenda Andoi is a communicator, journalist, editor, and writer passionate about human-interest stories. You can find her on Twitter @sheilaandoi

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