Building an Online Business in the Landscape Photography Genre

We all dream of becoming full-time doing what we love, and in 2022 it seems more possible than ever. The landscape photography genre, however, isn’t always as lucrative as wedding or portrait photography can be. So how do you create a sustainable and solid income in this field, which channels are the ones to focus on, and which are not worth your precious time?

Landscape photographer Mark Denney suddenly lost his corporate job of 17 years. Like so many of us during covid, he explored his options online with a focus on turning his passion into a profit. In this video, we get an inside look into the revenue streams that didn’t produce a cent, right through to the ones that made up more than 70% of Mark’s total income. Photography Youtuber has become an aspirational title for many of us who otherwise thought their career was either not viable in a full-time capacity, or were resigned to the idea of working freelance, perpetually at the client’s mercy. 

But as Mark outlines in the video, ad sense revenue from YouTube is inconsistent and highly variable. Even someone with Mark’s subscriber count doesn’t rely on just this income stream. Instead, he has zoomed out and looked at how he can offer the experience of landscape photography, and build a business surrounding that. Pairing it with a few other channels and sharing his growth in numbers and dollars, this video provides great insight. It is valuable viewing for anyone wanting to build an online photography business. 
 

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5 Comments
josep cg's picture

According to his site: "I began working as a part time freelance photographer in 2016 creating outdoor photography content for local brands and in 2018 rolled the dice & became a full-time landscape photographer.", so a bit hard to become full time photographer due to the Covid.
Also, I'll never get how he gathers that much attention in Fstoppers, I've seen videos from him posted here since I registered(before the Covid ;) ) & never found anything special other than another YouTuber going outside for a walk or throwing those unnecessarily long "5-tricks-you-absolutely-need-to-know-in-lightroom" videos.
It's my opinion & I take full accountability for it, but starting 2018 to me, it seems like newcomers in landscape photography have been relying too much on YouTubers.

Lucy Lumen's picture

Hello, thanks for reading. I wasn't implying he lost his job due to covid, but I can see how it read like that so I apologize. This is the first video of his I have seen as I don't watch much landscape photography content on YouTube. I found his income streams interesting to hear about and I enjoy seeing how someone has managed to make a living full time in any creative field. I would assume landscape is the hardest one to monetize and he seemed to be offering good advice in that selling prints will only get you so far etc.

I will double check my facts next time and be more clear in my writing.

Dennis Adams's picture

Living in a world where virtually everyone has a camera, making a living as a landscape photographer is as easy as finding hens teeth.

Tom Reichner's picture

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The way I see the market these days is that it is virtually impossible to make a full time income thru actual landscape photography. Landscape photography, as a profession, means selling landscape photos or being hired to photograph landscapes - as in being paid for a commission or assignment. Not much of that work exists any more.

But even though people can't make enough money to live on doing landscape photography, they can do things that are parallel to the field:

They can work as a guide and lead landscape photo tours.

They can work in education and offer landscape photography workshops.

They can create content about landscape photography and be YouTubers or vloggers or influencers, and generate income that way.

But we do, of course, need to be very careful about the semantics. If someone is making their income in any of the three ways I listed above, then they are not working as landscape photographers. They would not properly be considered "professional landscape photographers". Rather, they would be tour guides, educators, and content creators, respectively. All of those are very different from actually making one's full time income directly from landscape photography itself.

Mark Denney seems like a really good guy, and I am happy for him that he has had the success that he has. But he is not making his living as a landscape photographer. He is making his living as an educator, a tour guide, a content creator, and a speaker.

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Ken Strieby's picture

This guy seems really nice and has some great informative information. I've watched 3-4 of his video's and he seems good at doing them. But I agree with Tom R. for the most part I would consider him more like a teacher than what I would consider a professional landscape photographer. Reason being I think you need to be selling at least 50% prints and making a living at it to be considered working as a true professional landscape photographer. There's no doubt it's really easy to get discouraged if you're just mainly trying to sell prints it's very hard. You really need to be very good in advertising (several business advertisings courses would be very helpful) and it probably helps to have been recognized for your work a few times and have some achievements under your belt too, but that will come in time with consistent quality work and people will start slowly more and more taking notice of you!