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How To Make Money As A Photographer (Scripts and Templates to copy)


Neville

Make money as a photographer

If you have a boss-ass camera that can take boss-ass pictures, then you can start a photography business!

This post is designed to show newbie photographers how to get their first paid gig. Let's get started:

A classic way to generate some side income is when you have a piece of equipment others don't have. In this article we'll be assuming you have a camera that can take sweet pictures.  You can then do one of three things:

1.) Use the camera for your own personal use (-$).

2.) Rent the camera to others for a fee (+$$).

3.) Use the camera to do photoshoots for money (+$$$$).

I've come across a ton of people who enjoy photography, and WANT to take the leap into getting paid to do it on the side, but they are either a bit afraid to start, or don't know HOW to start.

So instead of telling you what to do, your old Uncle Neville is just going to map out the entire process for you!  Just copy/paste the scripts I make for you, or copy the scripts other people have successfully used.

These steps are specifically ordered like this to maximize for least effort and maximum results.

So let's get started to get your very first photography client!

 

 

Step 1.)  Identify the specific service to sell:

Obviously within photography there's several TYPES of photography that tend to be easier, and some require more experience and lots of time commitment:

  • Professional head shots.  (Easy).
  • Family photoshoots.  (Easy).
  • Dog portraits.  (Easy).
  • Photographing a business.  (Easy).
  • Wedding photos.  (Harder).

If you don't know what you specifically want to sell, then let's just keep this mindset:

That promise is simple, to-the-point, not a huge sum of money, and not a huge time commitment (and you can change that formula to whatever amount or hours you think is right).

So we're now in the business of selling photography sessions! So where do we first promote our little service?

 

 

 

Step 2.)  Post your photography offer on Facebook:

We're not asking for professional prices. We're not promising the best pictures on the entire planet. We're just putting out a small request to our friends that for $100 we will do a photography session for them.

Your personal friend network is going to be the easiest place to score a photography gig for several reasons:

  • These people already like and trust you.
  • They've probably already seen your great photographs on facebook or social media.
  • They are highly likely to refer to you to other people.

 

It's often a scary prospect for people to "sell" like this, so that's why I've typed out a template to help you. You can literally copy/paste this script onto your Facebook (obviously change up the contact info), and you will quickly find out if people want your service:

This is a VERY simple and low-risk thing to post on Facebook. Most people are actually shocked how quickly this script works.

Often within 1-hour to 24-hours people get gigs (if not MULTIPLE gigs)!

It's simple as copy/pasting the above script onto Facebook, just like this:

Example Photographer Facebook

If you do anything else from this post, just do this ONE step as a small "experiment" and see what happens.

Side Note: Some people are afraid they sell themselves too short with this initial offer.  To them I say: WHO FREAKIN CARES.

Every single high-paid person I've ever met started out doing stuff for super-cheap.  The point was they first GOT STARTED, then as their demand increased, their prices increased too.

Am I expecting you to make a career out of $100 photoshoots?  No.

I am expecting you to GET STARTED by offering a fairly low price compared to professional photographers.

 

 

 

Step 3.)  Post to Facebook Groups:

This part requires being part of groups on Facebook where your photography services might be useful. Since we’re selling photography sessions, it would be useful to post in groups where people might be interested....since these sessions will be in-person sessions, post to groups that are local to your area.

Since I live in Austin, I would post to these pages:

  • Austin Entrepreneurs Facebook Group:

    "Hey Austinites, I'm offering a professional set of headshots for only $100...."

     

  • Austin Photography Group:

    "Hey professional photogs, if you need an extra shooter for a gig, let me know. Prices start at $100."

     

  • Austin Startups Group:

    "Hey Austin Startups, I'm a photographer that can come and take professional headshots or team photos. For only $100 I can come do a 1-hour long photoshoot for your company."

     

  • Austin Young Entrepreneurs and Job Seekers:

    "Hey there, if you want your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Resume to look far more professional, I am offer a 1-hour photograpjy where we find you the perfect headshot! Here are some recent examples of my work....."

 

 

 

 

Step 4.)  Post to Craigslist:

Craigslist is still a super hot place for people to buy services like Photography!

You will first need to navigate to the Services –> Creative section of Craigslist:

craigslist-photography-services

Then you can copy/paste this script into an ad:

Depending on where you are in the world, you can post this same script as a "visual picture ad." I made you a sample one below. You can click the picture and it will bring you to a Google Drawing which you can save as an image.

To edit the document, just do File --> Make A Copy:

craigslist-photographer-template

 

The other way to get gigs from Craigslist is to actively seek out photographer requests and followup. These can be found in a little section found under Gigs --> Creative.

photography gigs craigslist

It could be worth your time to check this section everyday looking for photography gigs. HOWEVER, you'll generally get a better match when you post your own ad (It's Craigslist, so a lot of the listings are still pretty shady) :-P

 

 

 

Step 5.)  Make a One-Pager flyer to post:

Honestly this is the step most people skip, because the other methods get them clients so quickly!

A One-Pager is a single sheet of paper you can hand out that gives people a high-level overview of your service.

The best part about these One-Pagers is that we can stick em up on a wall in front of everyone's face!

Here's a One Pager I made for our new photography service:

Photography One Pager

(You can click that image and go to the Google Doc it was made in.

Then click File --> Make A Copy to edit your own version).

This ad isn't designed to be pretty...it's designed simply to get people who are interested in a photography session to call us:

photography flyer template

You can print a bunch of these babies out and plaster them all around town!

  • Post one in a college union center...maybe a student wants some professional headshots.
  • Post one at a local coffee shop...maybe some cool hipster dude will grab a session.
  • Post one at a music store...maybe a band will grab a group photoshoot.
  • Post one at a daycare...maybe someone will want a family photoshoot.

The best part is these can be printed on a regular ink-jet printer for extremely cheap. Just $1 worth of flyers can potentially bring in hundreds or even thousands of dollars!


Now some people are still quite timid when trying to promote a service for the first time....and that's 100% normal.

So maybe instead of just TELLING you what to do, we also SHOW you three examples of people who've gone from "person with a camera" to "paid photographer."

 

 

 

Example: Linda's $240 email

 

 

 

Example: Rimp's first gig was a birthday Party:

 

 

 

Example: JohnRoss gets free dinners:

 

 

 

Example: Christina's first $75 gig using a Kodak point-and-shoot camera:

 

 

 

 

Download this post and all templates:

Click here to subscribe

--Keep this entire post and templates for your own files--

--Download as PDF, Google Doc, or Microsoft Word--

--Share with colleagues and friends--

Sincerely,

Neville Medhora

 

P.S. What was your first gig as a photographer?  How much did you get paid?

Share your story here. It may just help someone a bit nervous about starting!


User Feedback

Recommended Comments



Neville this is awesome thank you so much. Few friends at work keep talking about doing side photography gigs but never get it done, forwarding this to them!
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Guest startupily

Posted

Neville, I love your articles. You provide great content and go into so much depth that it seems easy to do. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and the example templates are great for anyone who is looking for photography gigs. I will definitely try it out too.
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Guest Neville

Posted

Thank you Reese! Hope your friends take some action with everything laid out for them :)
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Guest Neil Powers

Posted

Your articles are always so insightful, I just wanted to share that over the years I've learned a lot about photography and it started with one of your copy writing articles. My best photo shoot was doing food shots for client to use on his menus and advertisements, it was amazing and we had a lot of fun, ended up doing it for about five hours, and I walked away with 620 bucks in my pocket. Sometimes you don't think about it, that was $120 an hour which is way more than I made at work during the week. Keep up the good work and I highly encourage anyone that has a camera to try this for some extra income on the weekend.
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Guest Dan Ceballos

Posted

As always Neville , you over deliver on the content.

I have a boss ass camera I am going to use for a you tube channel about chiropractic and my office, I never considered using the camera as a side hustle.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Dr. Dan

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Guest Robert Bednarek

Posted

Another quality, highly useful and inspiring post.

Crazy good with no fluff at all. And it's free.

What a saint!

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Guest Tibi Iorga

Posted

Thanks for the templates dude, applicable to other creative businesses as usual, in my case, video:

So I was hanging around this afternoon, super lazy, super downed cause I wasn't creating stuff for a while. Reverse engineered it to the fear of not making something less than what I thought in my head I was capable of.

So I was watching this Tasty BuzzFeed videos a lot of course, and I was really craving hummus that day. So I figured out I'll challenge myself to make one of those videos and try to figure out how to do an over the table shot without a special rig. Either way, this turned out in the end: https://vimeo.com/144971633

Later on I was browsing for freelance jobs on UpWork and I found this Dog Company that was offering 75 dollars for Buzzfeed style cooking videos but for dog friendly recipes so I figured I'd at least try, but try a new method.

No BS, no '' I am a hard working individual blablabla''. We both knew why they were there and as soon as everyone got to the point faster we'd both save time.

So I sent: Hi, I just recently made a video in the style that you are looking for : *insert link*

His response: http://imgur.com/a/zqjYY

I then managed to get around 1500$ in videos from them, and I would shoot 3 back to back for about 1 hour of footage.

Main thing that I'd wish I'd knew from the start:

- Put yourself in the skin of your client, the more you know about what he wants the better you can offer him. And above that, when a client feels that the freelancer ''just gets it'' he'd stick for a while. I went from videos to graphics and animations for the same guys just because we already established a connection.

It's very easy to do this but I think it's very easy to forget : act like you'd be hiring for that position. You'll know all the qualities you'd be expecting from someone and then it's just a matter of filling them.

Thanks again Nev

Tibi

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Guest Uncle Mike

Posted

I listen to 4 copywriters each have a different take on how to come across with clarity. Uncle Neville has a down to earth way, not just by the numbers, real examples, the one I like is the pressure washing, I looked how I can redo it for a business I have. What really got me was the income layout, if you sold this many it would get you this much , I showed that to a few people and it gets the point across easy so thanx you made it to the top 4 that is not easy, goldfish have a 7 second attion span mine is 5 lol thanx
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This email in particular caught my eye because I just started a camera business this week. I also landed 2 clients already. I am using Thumbtack at the recommendation of a friend. It's like shooting fish in a barrel because of the Niche I chose. DRONES. I bought a DJI Phantom 3 Standard on eBay for $350 with a one year warranty. I'm getting my commercial drone license today (yes that's a real thing) from the FAA. My second script was actually for a wedding video and it turned into a real estate job shooting multimillion dollar condos in Denver. The script is so simple I am embarrassed to post it, but here it is: "I have a professional camera drone capable of recording ultra hd. It also doubles as a handheld camera gimbal which is great for recording moving shots without any camera vibration. I have an editing teammate so you will have two computers and editors working together to perfect your video. I'm offering you this low price in trade for a testimonial once we are done and for a referral." This landed two jobs so far. Building a website this week and the rate will go up to $2000 per day once I have testimonials, video proof on my site and demand.
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Guest Jarrett

Posted

Neville,

Awesome post thanks. I recently bought a nice Nikon and nice lens to go with it for my trip through the Amazon jungle. When I got back I put it to use taking photos of herbal medicines for a holistic pharmacy. I hired someone on fiverr to edit on white backgrounds. They came out awesome and client was super happy.

I've done a couple other paid shoots with models for a sign company and will be taking some photos of a restaurant. I've never posted or advertised these have been more referral jobs. I will test out the scripts as it's a great way to continue practicing photography.

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Guest CharlesPower

Posted

This is really an eye opener. Never before have I thought of this. Now I can follow your blueprint. Thank you, dude.
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Guest Janused Edward

Posted

Really straight to the point. If I buy a camera I can definitely use this as a side income. Love your articles
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I teamed up with a company that provides motorcycle escort for sporting marathons such as cycling events and running events. I work as a subcontractor to provide event photography such as finish line photos for the event to give to their participants in exchange for fee to me or to have me market on their website directly to their participants.
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My first photo gig got me some free golf! Not bad for offering to do work for free. Here is my first email that landed me a photoshoot.

----

Hi Andy,

First of all, I love Broadlands. I think it's one of the best tracks in Wisconsin. There is such a great variety to the holes and some awesome elevation changes.

That being said, I'll keep this quick.

I'm a photographer, and I would love the opportunity to come out to shoot your course. Because I'm building my portfolio and I'm passionate about Broadlands, I would do this at no charge.

Here are few links to my work:

Portfolio - http://brianpmccann.com/#golf

http://brianpmccann.com/arlington-lakes-golf-club/

http://brianpmccann.com/spring-valley-country-club/

I know you're busy, so no need to reply to this message. Just keep me in mind if you're ever in need of updated photography for your website, emails, social media or brochures.

P.S. - I'd be happy to come out to shoot an event like the Broadlands Packer Scramble or the Halloween Scramble too!

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Guest Therese

Posted

I was terrified on my first shoot and it totally showed. This was gotten through word of mouth. I was always talking about my photography and showing people some of the images I had taken. Finally, a woman came up to me and asked if I'd do a maternity shoot for her. I very hesitantly said yes. This was in my film days (no checking the image immediately to see how it came out! Yikes!)

Indeed, it was a yikes experience. The photos were awkward clumsy and my client hated them. I almost hung up the idea of photography altogether but it was not possible for me and I kept trying. I kept taking pictures and showing them and after going through all of my family and friends and finally getting it right, I started to hang my shingle on Facebook and eventually created a website.

Lesson - don't give up simply because one shoot goes horribly wrong! Refund the client's money, offer to reshoot and move on. You will get much better and more confident over time - but only if you don't quit!

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Guest Neville

Posted

Well I'm glad I played a part in pushing you in the right direction Neil :)

$620 for 5 hours? That's awesome! That's like half the cost of a camera right there!

Thanks for sharing the story Neil, it really helps give people the courage to drum up their first gig.

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Guest Neville

Posted

Oh nice! My dad loved taking pictures back in the day when you had to use film and all that jazz, so he would kind of "moonlight" as a photographer for friends weddings and parties.

A lot of people find photography fun and enjoyable as a hobby.....and any money that comes from it is just a bonus!

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Guest Neville

Posted

Heh heh....I stayed up till 5:45am modifying that post so it was good enough for everyone to read when it was auto-scheduled to send at 7am!
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Guest Neville

Posted

Dude, that video looked AMAZING!!! You just made that on a lark?? That's some damn good stuff there.

Even cooler that you took some small action that led to $1,500! Definitely a NevBox-worthy post :)

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Guest Neville

Posted

Hahahah, thanks Uncle Mike! I try to make sure my articles aren't just "me telling you what to do..."

I enjoy putting numbers, examples, scripts etc to make the content better :)

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Ah, thanks for featuring my story, friend! I'm back to zero bookings in February (my one fell through). Thanks for publishing this guide. Will use some of these tips to be more active about finding clients. THANKS NEVILLE.
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Guest TonyBMe

Posted

AWESOME - but not the photography - I don't have a camera.

BUT saw a link to the $100 with wordpress gigs and I'm going to pop that lil experiment off now ... EEK! I'l llet you know how I did in 72hrs!

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I credit the end product to the love of hummus. Thank you dude I really appreciate it!
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Guest Neville

Posted

Interviewer: "Hey Tibi, what's your secret to success?"

Tibi: "Hummus."

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