If you’ve ever wanted to be a photography blogger, now’s your chance! There has never been a better time to learn photography. With so many free blog resources, online courses, and Youtube tutorials out there, anyone can succeed at creating a successful photography business and blog.
Many people assume you need lots of experience, skill, and an expensive camera to get started. But that’s not the case! There are photography bloggers out there right now who are killing it with just their iPhones and standard DSLR cameras. As with everything, it will take a little investment of either time or money (mostly both!) to succeed, but getting there is possible.
In today’s post, we’re taking a look at how much photography bloggers make – and how you can replicate that success, and possibly earn a living as a photographer.
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How Much Do Photography Bloggers Make?
With so many successful photography bloggers nowadays showcasing their creative shots on Instagram and their blogs, there’s no doubt there’s good money to be made in the photography blogging world.
Photography bloggers can make thousands to millions – all depending on their focus niche, style, income streams, and so on.
Take Eric Kim for example. Eric is a professional photographer who got his start photography blogging when he was 18. It took time, lots of hard work, and honing in on his own unique style of street photography, but eventually, he was able to earn over $200,000 from his photography blog. To him, earning as a photographer and blogger means not only increasing your income but decreasing your expenses. He also shared that photography bloggers should branch out of the typical photography niche.
So, for instance, while wedding photographers have to scale down their rates because of competition, unique wedding photographers with an ultra-focused niche (i.e. film-only wedding photographers, or drone wedding photographers) will be able to charge a premium for their work. Eric also explained that time is money, and he estimates his time to be worth $1,000 per hour.
To get a better look at how much photography bloggers earn, let’s see a few more examples:
- Digital Photography School – A multi-million dollar photography blog (source)
- Modern Market – Elena is a millionaire “momtographer” who has been earning over $30,000-$60,000 in the past few years.
- Handcraft Films – Earns $1,600 primarily from selling stock photography
Aside from a photography blog, the New York Institute of Photography estimated that photographers can earn from $25/ hour (beginners) up to $500-$1,500 per hour (elite photographers). That’s on top of whatever your photography blog could earn from affiliate sales, ads, and your own photography products.
Keep in mind that many photography website owners focus on “getting work”, i.e. taking photographs for people and getting paid for that work. It's entirely possible to build a photography blog about a niche topic and promote products for commissions, without ever landing any gigs at all. That's the world I come from – the world of affiliate marketing!
How Do Photography Bloggers Make Affiliate Sales?
One of the top ways photography bloggers earn from their blogs is by earning commissions on affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing works just as well on a photography blog as other blogs. Why? For the simple reason that nowadays, there’s SO much photography gear that is sold online.
Take Amazon’s Affiliate Program for example. Photography blogs can earn commissions on any products purchased on Amazon once a blog reader has clicked through and made a purchase. The pricier the product, the higher the commission. And because readers of photography blogs are interested in photography gear, if they click the affiliate link and buy a camera or camera lens on Amazon (which can cost upward of $1,000), the blogger could earn $40+ just from that one transaction. (Note: Amazon’s commission rate for sales in ‘Electronics’ is pegged at 4.0%).
Plus, there are dozens of other photography affiliate programs bloggers can use to increase their earnings from the blog.
Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Adobe – Every photographer uses Adobe, from amateurs to professionals! As the number one leading software used by creatives all over the world, it’s one of the best affiliates to promote on a photography blog.
- Canon – No photography blog is complete without camera reviews! Canon is one of the best names in the photography industry and any sales from their affiliate could earn you passive income.
- Digital Photography School – Bloggers can earn a 40% commission by promoting the DPS photography ebooks and courses.
- Olympus – Another award-winning camera brand. If you’re an Olympus enthusiast, you can earn up to a 3% commission. Average orders total $400, meaning you can earn $12 from just one sale.
Products you promote don’t have to be only photography gear (unless you own a photography product review blog). You could also recommend courses to learn about photography’s various sub-niches like how to sell nature photography or how to earn a living as an event photographer.
You could market camping gear and long-exposure lenses to people who want to capture the stars in nature, or baby props and professional lighting equipment to people who want to start their own local infant photo shoot business. The possibilities are endless!
How Do Photography Bloggers Earn Ad Revenue?
Advertising on a photography blog is ideal for raking in that passive income. According to Fat Stacks, the average CPC (cost per click) in the photography blog niche is around $6.00, which is considered quite high for such a gigantic industry. (For reference, average CPC rates generally land between the $0.50-3.00 margin.) If you have a decent amount of traffic on your blog, it might be worth considering setting up ads.
With that said, there are thousands of potential ad networks to join. The right one for your blog will combine quality with quantity. Aim for ad networks with reputable reviews and that cater to your profile.
Here are some recommended ad networks to join:
A lot of people starting their own blog are shy to “hard sell” any type of products, and display ad revenue is a great way to get around this feeling. You don't have to sell anything at all. As long as you can get people on the page, whether it be through written or visual content, then you can make money for each ad impression and click.
How Much Do Photography Gurus Earn On YouTube?
What do Youtube and photography have in common? They both depend on getting seen. Starting a Youtube photography channel is a great way to get your photography skills seen. Even if you aren’t a professional photographer (yet) you can use Youtube as a tool to share your photography insights, tips, and tech reviews. Videos like these are highly sought-after. And with more people preferring video over written content these days, it’s wise to get a head start and start a Youtube channel early on.
Earning from Youtube is similar to earning from ad networks. In fact, it’s pretty much the same. Youtube’s CPC rates can jump from $1-10 and beyond, so there’s no final say on how much a photography channel can earn. It all depends on the number of video views, watch time, and of course, how much the advertiser pays Youtube so you (as the publisher) can earn higher rates.
(Note: If you’re observant, you’ll also notice that many Youtube users include affiliate links in the descriptions of their videos!)
Watch this video by Nicole who details how much, on average, photographers can make in the United States a year. Estimates place it at around $65,000 or more! She doesn't explicitly say how much YouTuber make from posting content on their channel, but like any other subject matter, it depends on how many views you get.
There are many ways to get views on a photography channel. You can give tutorials about the best gear (i.e. “GoPro versus DJI Osmo Action”, etc,.), or share your best travel photography and videography tips. There’s no one right way to go about promoting your photography on a Youtube channel.
Since you're earning for each 1,000 views you get, any type of interesting content you post could earn you money. Even if you are not savvy enough to be posting tutorials, if your content is entertaining or interesting enough, you could earn ad revenue on YouTube.
Here’s another video by a pro-photographer Peter McKibben (4+ million subscribers!) detailing how to make money with photography:
Other Ways To Make Money With A Photography Blog
Photography blogging, and how you can monetize it, is largely left up to the creator. While the below ways to earn from a photography blog are inclusive, this list isn’t definitive!
- Selling stock photography
- Freelance photography
- Setting up a local photography business
- Offer photoshoots for clients (newborn, pet, portrait, etc.)
- Hustle side jobs doing photo or video editing
Sponsored Posts & Partnerships
Sponsorships in photography are like a stamp of “success” in the photography world. Sponsored posts and collaborations have the ability to earn you a full paycheck on their own as a photography blogger. Paid collaborations can range from hundreds to several thousands of dollars. If you’re just starting out, it’s normal to accept some freebies and exchanges. But as a photographer, you’ll need to charge accordingly based on how you value your time and your portfolio/experience.
Selling Your Own Prints (or Other Digital Products)
People love to pay for your photography. After all, it’s a work of art! Selling prints online (via your blog or on sites like ImageKind) is a brilliant way to earn extra cash as a photography blogger.
Likewise, if you’re an adept writer you can sell ebooks or blogging courses on photography.
Another option is to upload your work to stock photo websites. Usually, to earn decent money in this type of medium you need to do volume AND unique topics. It can take some time to build a portfolio, but once your photos are online, the revenue stream can be pretty passive.
The same “passive” nature is true of creating your own photography courses. If you create an effective sales funnel and market them to the right audience, then people will continue to buy your products over time. Keep in mind, you don't have to create yet another “how to be a photographer” type of online course. Pick a niche topic like drone photography, or how to start a wedding photography business, or how to repair vintage cameras.
More specific = higher conversions = less competition.
Selling the Photography Blog
Photography is exploding as a niche and the trend is likely to continue that way. Meaning, if you were to sell your photography niche blog, you could potentially earn 2-4x its annual earnings! This is a great exit strategy for anyone looking to take a couple years off and travel the world to do fun photography work. A simple blog earning $20k/month could sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars and provide you a cushion for a couple of years to travel the world.
Then you can start a travel blog, amirite?
Paid Media Content
If your photography blog really stands out, you can turn a profit by selling ad space on your blog. While it’s unlikely you’ll succeed if you approach the big guys like Canon, Nikon, or Sony, it’s possible to target the smaller brands who are trying to get their products out in front of the eyes of photography enthusiasts. And what better way to do that than on a website whose audience is already the perfect target?
Want To Start Your Own Photography Blog?
Today, anybody can become a photographer. In fact, most photographers around the world aren't professional, but that doesn't mean you can't earn from a blog or from a Youtube as you learn and grow. It's about the journey and not the destination, right?
Remember, everyone has to start somewhere. The elite photographers earning millions today also started out once with no camera and no skills!