How to Start Making Money as a Photographer

One of the hardest parts of becoming a professional photographer is that initial jump from amateur work to being paid to create photos. This quick and helpful video will give you some tips on how to start making money as a photographer.

Coming to you from Jeff Rojas, this great video talks about different ways to start making money as a photographer. Of his tips, I think rewiring how you think of and speak about your photography is particularly important. The value of photography differs from genre to genre: it could be that you're documenting life's important moments, giving a client the confidence they need, etc. However, the point Rojas is making is that it's better to get away from selling products and services and start framing what you do by the value it offers your clients, which is more likely to resonate with them on a deeper level and encourage them to work with you. By doing that, they measure your work less by monetary standards and more by things that matter to them on a personal level. 

And if you really want to dive into creating a successful photography business, check out "Making Real Money: The Business of Commercial Photography!"

Lead image by Bryan Schneider.

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Jeff Rojas's picture

Thank you infinitely for the share Alex! :)


Mr Hogwallop's picture

I made $600 last week...I sold one of my lenses :)

Jeff Rojas's picture

How much was the depreciated value? 😏

Hope you’re using that humor to reel in new clients! 😁

Jeff Walsh's picture

what the hell...How to get clicks from photogs by putting Make a 1000 in the title. That's the more truthful header. If you wanna watch 4.5 min of someone saying practically nothing...enjoy

Jeff Rojas's picture

I normally don’t reply to comments like this because the fact is that they come from a place of ignorance. Let be clear, I don’t mean that I'm a disrespectful way. However, the truth is that you have ZERO idea of what you’re talking about.

The fact is, EVERYTHING I gave you for free in that video is how I draw income as a photographer. This isn't a get rich quick scheme. VALUE is how I’m able to charge my clients thousands of dollars for shoots people who’ve been shooting for 3 years would more than likely do for exposure. Hard work is how I guarantee it.

Your mindset, my friend is a cup half empty and therefore is why you’re not seeing the value in the information that I provided.

Feel free to reach out to me directly if you’ve EVER needed help or guidance making a living a photographer. I mean it. I am ALWAYS here to lend a hand. ;)

Jeff Walsh's picture

Aight, I'll bite.

First point (but you call point #2 point #1): give value in your photography...great, I read that in business for dummies and the 10k other videos that use the "make X amount of dollars doing Y" that are out there. So, right off the bat this does nothing for anyone because its vague triggers words backed up with no actionable advice.

Second point/First point: Seek opportunity. Once again, trigger words. Sound great mean nothing when followed up with zero actionable advice. Seek opportunity is like telling a hungry person, just go where food is. See how dumb that sounds.

Third point. Assisting other photogs. Legit don't know what to say here as it's the point in the video where I knew you weren't saying anything. So, what you're trying to sell here is that assist you forget to mention, or even hint, how that translates to my 1k.

It was after this part that I honestly believed you made this video to get free help in exchange for "learning."

Third point: Networking...seriously...did you snag all three of these from a generic "How to build a business" book? No shit going out and meeting possible clients helps you meet possible clients. You know what you didn't cover, how to do any of that. Where a person might go, how they might go about it, what "value" they can bring to such a networking event.

See where I'm at with this? You spent four and a half minutes saying nothing, giving no actionable advice, and really put out nothing of value in the video. Unless the point was clicks, and the possibility of you getting free help for your business because "learning."

Also, I'm sure you're going to read this with all the snark in the world. This is how I talk, but legit, everything you said was vague and rather meaningless without a single step of advice on any of the points.

Ask yourself this, "If I was starting fresh, with zero actionable knowledge on starting a photog business, would anything I said in that video lead me to business?" Maybe, maybe the networking point, but again, do you know how many garbage ass networking groups are out there lead by people who have no clue what they're doing? If you were coming from a place of zero knowledge you wouldn't know where to look, or where to start, or what things to look for in a good networking group.

I'm not hating on your effort, but if youre going to throw out a title like that, have substance rather than fluff.

Jeff Rojas's picture

No snark. Here are the short answers:

1. Value - I discussed two tangible ways of making revenue that were not generic. A. Doctors who need great images to market their businesses. B. Billboards around your local city with sucky photos that you can cold call and pitch.

2. Seek Opportunity. Again, Billboards around your local city. I can GUARANTEE you've never called a single company seeking opportunity the way that I outline... and in the unlikely event you have done so; you've probably failed at it and therefore are fearful of attempting again. I get it. Rejection sucks.

3. Networking is the BEST way of earning a living. Many of the referrals I've had the past have been through recommendations from people that I've met, or people who've known of my work. People don't hire portfolios; they hire people.

The simple point is this... instead of looking at things from a negative perspective. ASK QUESTIONS! That's what I'm here for... a RESOURCE for you to ask questions to. A quick email with "Hey, Jeff! I wanted to know more about which networking events you go to" or "Hey Jeff! Can you explain how that cold call works when you're pitching that potential billboard client," would have gone a lot further than where you currently are​.

Instead of being negative, use me as a resource. I've been in your shoes. I've made the mistakes. I share those with you. I have NO products to sell you. I'm here to provide you with direction using lessons I've learned the HARD WAY.

Jeff Walsh's picture

Fair enough, and you're not wrong about needing to go positive instead of negative.

Jeff Rojas's picture

Side note, my email is if you'd like to take this conversation offline and ask more relevant questions to your specific situation.

Sam Morgan's picture

I've got an idea about how to earn some extra money when you're a paid photographer - add a photo slideshow to your customer service package. From this article, I've learned that there's professional slideshow software that allows you to create really cool themed presentations:

great post