Teach a digital photography course
If you love photography and enjoy sharing that knowledge with others, a great way to earn extra money is through teaching. You can start by partnering with a local camera store, community college or park district to help you spread the word. You’ll need students if you want to share your knowledge. Once you’ve found a good community partner you need to practice, practice, practice. Teaching doesn’t come easy for everyone, but it can be learned and perfected just by doing it. Remember, anyone who signs up for a class is already interested, so that’s the easy part. They are there to learn what you do, how you do it and what you use. The more you share with them the better the experience and the more you’ll be appreciated. Generally, your fee structure should include one price for basic instruction and an upgrade price for an on location or hands on experience. For on location or hands on experiences you’ll need to limit the number of students so you can give enough attention to each student and make it worth the price. If you make the experience engaging and intimate the experience will be better for everyone and create a loyal following.
Teach private lessons
Once you’ve established yourself as an experienced teacher you offer private lessons. Private lessons will help you build your reputation and give you greater satisfaction. You should charge a higher base price per student per hour for private lessons. Start your pricing at a reasonable rate and as you grow you can increase your fee structure to reflect your experience. Generally, pricing starts at $150 per lesson (1.5-3 hours – depending on the students needs). If you have an interest in mentoring other photographers in the business aspect of photography you could charge more and build your brand within the industry. Consider your market and make sure you’re not teaching your competition. You should market to people outside your area or to people who shoot different subjects/genres than you do. Our friends at Charleston Photography Tours offer tailored private workshops to meet your skill level and take your photos from ordinary to extraordinary. Check them out at Charleston Photography Tours.
Make sales on affiliates.
If you enjoy writing blogs or creating videos on YouTube or Vimeo, you should take advantage of affiliate programs. People who subscribe or follow you look to you as the expert and will likely purchase the products and services you recommend, especially if you’re mentoring new and unseasoned photographers. Contact the brands you use and find out if they are willing to set up affiliate links for the products you use and recommend. Affiliate links allow you to earn a percentage of the purchase price when people buy products you recommend. It’s a nice form of residual income that requires little effort. Be passionate and loyal and regularly tell people why you love the products you use. Don’t be afraid to share your tips and tricks about products either. People love honesty and nothing is really all that original these days anyway, so share away and enjoy it. People can tell if you’re just phoning it in and not really passionate. If you don’t love it, don’t share it.
Market to your prior students
Maintain an ongoing relationship with your previous students. Loyalty is very important for small business and it can also lead to partnerships or collaborations. Meet up with former students to shoot or collaborate. You should regularly promote or partner with other photographers and create a community network that you can use to refer or receive jobs. Keep an open mind and look for opportunities. One day a former student may just become a partner or be in a position to hire you for a job. Life is full of twists and turns you don’t see coming so always look for opportunities to grow, change and adapt.
Create photo tours & workshops
Photography tours are becoming more popular and are a great way to enhance your photography business. Not everyone is cut out to do photo tours though. If you aren’t passionate about it, don’t do it. It is hard work and will require more time than you anticipate so you need to have a passion for people as well as photography. It helps too if you have an engaging personality and live in a historical area, near a national park or in a tourist town. You can and should take advantage of the attractions near you. Photography tours include on location shooting so make sure you know your area well and at least some history of it as well. As part of the tour you can also include how to edit the photos, how to use different equipment (i.e. filters, lenses, tripods or accessories). In the beginning, you can have your patrons meet you at a location, but as your tour grows you’ll need to consider the legal and insurance ramifications of running a bigger business involving people on location. If you want to see how it’s done, we recommend you check out two really great photography tours. If you’re in California, check out Michael Ryan Photography’s personal photography tours of Northern Marin and Sonoma Counties. Michael Ryan Photography Michael offers photography tours of some of his favorite local areas for individuals and small groups (up to 4 people). His tours are intended to be informal, fun, and with the sole purpose of maximizing the photographer’s success in the field.
If you’re interested in tours in the Southeast check out our friends at Photography Workshop Company. They offer awesome workshops and photo tours of their beautiful area. They have open spots for the fall trip to the Smokey’s Blue Ridge Fall Foilage or their Charleston Spring workshop that includes full access to a private plantation and astrophotography at a barrier island. Charleston Spring Workshop.
“Teach Photography and Make Money” sounds easy but the reality is far from it. It requires a passionate person that will work harder, work smarter and be more creative than all the others. You must adapt to consumer needs and wants. Be a great leader, an amazing listener and thrive when the S#!t hits the fan; because it will. But for those few that can create that “secret sauce”, the reward is making a living while sharing your passion with other photographers. And it doesn’t get much better than that.