How This Photographer Got to $500 Per Day

The internet is wall-to-wall packed with people telling you they make ridiculous amounts of money in all different ways, only to go on to sell you a course that does make them money. Well, in this video, Evan Ranft gives his honest breakdown of how he has managed to get his income to such a desirable amount.

When I first started my photography business, two things were true: I wasn't making much money and I was obsessed with figuring out some magic revenue stream. I wasn't naive enough to believe that there were get-rich-quick schemes, but I did believe that there were ways I could generate a lot of revenue with low effort and time. I wasn't entirely wrong, but what I dreamed of was unlikely to a degree where it made no sense to spend time attempting to figuring out.

This error was all the more damaging because what I really needed was simply time and consistency. Innovation is fantastic, and there will be times you figure out an easy revenue stream that pays above what you'd expect, but to truly extract longevity from these methods, you still need time and consistency.

Many of the top YouTube photographers are turning a healthy profit and it's easy for newcomers to watch a video and think, "I could do that." You possibly could, but could you do multiple, high-quality videos per week, for years on end, that people enjoy? This path to high income isn't exclusive to YouTube either; if you can do more than almost anyone in an area you know money circulates, the rewards will follow. This video is a great (and comprehensive) example of just that.

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7 Comments
Stephen Franchek's picture

$500/day is an absolute garbage rate

Brook Brown's picture

My first reaction to the title was “how can you live on $500 per day?!?”

Jacques Cornell's picture

Just FYI, in NYC, the market rate for an experienced corporate event photographer is about $250 per hour of coverage. The challenge is to consistently book enough hours every month, especially with all the inexperienced bottom-feeding competition.

David Cannon's picture

It would be really tough to be a legitimate business and pay yourself a salary worth all the hours, expense, and risk it takes to run a business if you can only make $500 in revenue for each day you shoot (because you can’t shoot every day, or if you do then you are charging enough to contract out editing and administrative duties).

Jason Berge's picture

What Stephen said!

Mike Ditz's picture

From what I could figure out TLDW, he does a lot of things that are not "taking photos" with various revenue streams. I don't know if he is working 5 days a week or 7 or 3.

Gary Pardy's picture

$500-$1100/day is pretty amazing for a self-produced photographer/content creator. If you aren't employing staff, and your expenses aren't high, I'd be very happy to earn that from a combination of shoots, sponsorships and passive revenue from a growing catalog of content, all while doing what you love. A lot of people seem to confuse this with a daily rate, which of course it isn't and to think it is would be silly - even an entry level wedding shooter can earn more from a wedding day, but of course, you can't shoot a wedding every day. What's being communicated is average daily earnings, which of course fluctuate based on seasonality of your market niche and other factors.

There's a bit of a romanticized element to being a "successful/celebrity YouTuber" - it seems fun and lucrative, but it's essentially grinding in an entertainment industry. Finding niches within your local photography market and being able to compete within that market is a far more accessible means of building a revenue stream, and by proxy, generating content for your YouTube empire.