According to Indeed, the average pay for freelance photographers in the US is around $37 per hour. This is a decent salary and most people in this country will be happy to make this much money.
However, between the pandemic and other things going on across the globe, getting freelance photography work is getting a bit difficult.
Everyone wants to work for themselves but this market is fairly saturated. If you’re interested in making money and thinking outside the box, we’ve got the post for you. Today, we’re talking about how to turn your passion for photography into profit. Let’s get started.
Build a Photography Website
This may seem counterintuitive to some folks. Why should you waste your time building a website when you can be out there pounding the pavement, chasing clients and staying on the grind?
What makes photography so special is that there is always going to be more than one way to make money. Building out a niche or authority website is one way to do it.
Here’s how it works:
- Build a website
- Generate content
- Monetize this content
- Promote your work
At the end of the day, it’s as simple as these four bullet points. However, why the basic principles are simple, building a successful website is never easy.
Find Reliable Hosting and Choose a Theme
An easy way to think about hosting and themes is in real estate terms. The WebHost is your landlord. They own the digital real estate you want and so you have to pay them rent every month.
Think of your theme as the apartment or house itself. It’s the front end of your website. It’s going to have all of the pretty knick-knacks and doo-dads that your community will find attractive.
As in real life, you have several options when it comes to digital real estate. You want something fast and reliable.
Location, location, location.
Shop around to find the host that’s going to offer the service you want that fits your budget. Good places to start your research are with well-known companies such as Bluehost, SiteGround, and HostGator.
The amount of money you pay for this hosting mostly depends on how long of a contract you sign up for. Paying for 1-3 months at a time is going to be more expensive than signing up for 1-3 years.
Free WordPress themes are fine for some beginners, but they’re hacker bait. They offer no support and are rarely updated if they’re updated at all. Premium themes give you peace of mind and the ones we mentioned offer 24/7 support.
When building websites, hosting and themes are going to be your main expenses in the beginning. Think of your site as an extension of your photography business and the money you spend on website setup is an investment in that business.
Create Content for Your New Website
It would be really nice if you could just throw up a bunch of pictures on your website and have it rank in search engines. Unfortunately, this isn’t the way the world works.
To convince Google to rank your website, you’ll need a substantial amount of high-quality content. Here are a few tips:
Practice Proper On-Page SEO
Google has a lot of control over how your website is ranked. But you can help them by making your website stand out. You do this by playing by Google’s rules. This is something you have complete control over.
In the world of marketing, this is called on-page SEO, which is an acronym for search engine optimization.
The first thing you want to do is focus on content. This includes posts that have keywords. A keyword is a focus word that gives your audience and search engines a good idea about the topic of your articles.
Your main keyword should be in the title, at least one header, and then sprinkled throughout your content. Two to three times throughout the text, especially in the first one hundred words, and you should be fine.
Secondary keywords should be part of your keyword strategy as well. You can easily find ideas for secondary keywords by doing a Google search and using terms in the People also ask box.
Many niche website owners like to jam these keywords into content with FAQ-style headers after the main article is complete.
This will allow your content to have a larger word count and hopefully increase ad revenue by keeping your readers on your page for a longer period of time.
Next, keep your text skimmable. Two to three-line paragraphs are plenty.
A lot of people overlook their intros. They think it’s ok to fluff out a post with nonsense and jam in a keyword. It’s a great opportunity to hook your readers in and the first chance to convince them the whole post is worth reading. Use it well.
Lastly, you want to set up your website to load as quickly as possible. This includes using the best caching plugins. As someone who will be running a photography website, using image optimizers is especially important. Google will penalize you if your size does not load fast enough.
Structure Posts Properly
Structuring blog posts is an art form that takes a while to master. And that’s ok. Learning is part of the process. When you first started taking pictures, the initial set of photos probably wasn’t that great, right?
Here’s a solid formula for setting up your blog posts so they are easy to read. This setup will be an informational blog post about helping other photographers set up their own websites.
- Title - Include a keyword, should be H1 header - Example: Top 10 Reasons to Have Your Own Photography Website
- Intro - Relatively short. Include a keyword. Hook your reader.
- H2 header - Here you can jump in with your top 10 reasons or you can start with a header that includes secondary keywords
- H3 headers - These will be your reasons and will be the “meat” of your post
- H2 header - FAQ/conclusion - Try to include a call to action at the end of the post
Throughout your post, there are going to be opportunities for you to include internal links to your own content that may contain difficult-to-rank keywords.
As an example, if you have an article about the best photography affiliate programs for beginners, find a place to link to that in this one. You won’t rank for it in Google but if your audience enjoys your content, they may check out more content you offer on your blog.
Monetize Your Content
Now that you’ve put in some serious work to build your website, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of that labor before you get into even more labor.
There are several ways to make some extra money through your website. While most niches make money through ad revenue, you should be careful with your placement. Bumping ads up against your image content will be distracting and give your blog posts a clunky feel.
Affiliate programs are great for photographers. You can discuss, and review everything from physical equipment like cameras to editing software.
The third possibility is one of the best for photographers because many niches don’t have this as an option. You can add a store to your website and sell prints of your work.
Promote on Social Media
The only thing you need now is an audience. Your readership can be aspiring photographers, people who appreciate this art, and of course, potential clients.
Stick with image-heavy social platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and possibly Twitter.
One of the most underutilized ways of promoting your work and your website are stock photography websites like Unsplash.
These websites have options to include links to your website and social pages and many photographers find new clients by posting up free work for bloggers and businesses to use free of charge. It’s not required to be successful, but you shouldn’t sleep on this idea either.
Conclusion - How to Turn Your Passion For Photography Into Profit
Passionate photographers are always looking for an excuse to start snapping away and capturing the beauty that is life around them.
Even if you never make a dime from your website, it will keep you busy and give you a sense of fulfillment you may not be able to find anywhere else.
However, with plenty of hard work and mastering social media, you may give your bank account a sense of fulfillment as well.
We hope you enjoyed today’s post. If you have time, check out this one on if camera UV filters are worth it.