In any type of profession, there are components that determine your future success in any endeavor, such as Skill, desire, motivation, and dedication. The same is applied to different careers in photography as well.

Usually, it all starts with a hobby, which can eventually grow into a high-paying profession, because a hobby is something that we are initially interested in, respectively we easily devote ourselves to our favorite thing without thinking about time. Thus, we acquire a skill with interest, and only after that, we can think about how to turn this skill into an income. Therefore, if money is your primary goal, this approach most likely will not allow you to succeed, here you need a desire and interest in the profession in the first place. Money should be just an additional incentive for you to do what you like. Today we will discuss a number of professions in the photography career which can promise you a high income if you take the right approach.

List of photography careers

We defined the Top 5 careers for photographers based on income popularity and accessibility.

Those are:

  • Wedding photography
  • Stock photography
  • Fashion photography
  • Pet photography
  • Photo Editor

Wedding photography

The first mention of the wedding ritual dates back to the days of ancient Rome. In those days, men simply stole their brides, and after that, it was fixed in the culture through rituals. With the advent of photography, such rituals took a new form, now we want to capture such a joyful moment, and everyone wants their wedding photo album to be unique. Wedding photography will always be relevant and popular, there will always be a demand for it. And demand breeds supply as well as competition. Therefore, because of the growing popularity of wedding events, an entire industry has appeared in photography. Wedding photographers earn different money in different regions. For example, in California as of 2022, the average wedding photographer makes between $50,000 and $66,000. But to get to those numbers, you need to fully dedicate yourself to the business you love. There are as many offshoots in wedding photography, from bridal photos and creating professional wedding photo albums, to niches like bridal boudoir photography, where you have a one-on-one photo shoot with a bride in almost a nude style to present to their significant other. Many people start by photographing the weddings of their relatives and acquaintances. That way you gain some experience, and if you do a good job you also make a name for yourself. Every engaging couple has an issue with choosing a photographer before the wedding, and where do you think they look for it in the first place? Of course in a close circle and on the advice of acquaintances in the first place, because they are usually the most reliable and not the most expensive options, and the family budget is very fragile in the beginning. So if you want to succeed in this kind of profession, first try to get experience and make a name for yourself - a brand, to become recognizable in wider circles.

Stock photography

Stock photography is a great way for aspiring photographers to make a name for themselves. There are many different platforms on the Internet where all the images from different photographers are stocked. You can do absolutely any kind of photography and place them on these or those photo stock platforms. By means of keywords, you can start to enter the companies and get commercial offers through the affiliate programs, such as the shutter stock affiliate program. But at the very beginning of your career, you will see stock photography more as a passive source of income. Stock photography is a great tool to start making money and making a name for yourself. You just do what you love to do, taking pictures of nature, people, and portrait photography, then you just put your photos in stock photography and earn from downloads of your photos. Those who are engaged in stock photography at a professional level say that the first $100 is the most difficult. Gradually studying the stock photography market, you will begin to understand its supply and demand and will be able to earn from $ 350-600 per month on average. But the most advanced are able to make from $100 daily. So you can look at stock photography as a source of passive income as well as active income if you decide to dedicate yourself to this area of photography. Stay tuned for updates on our blog, soon there will be an article devoted entirely to making money from stock photography.

Fashion photography

If you take a step in the direction of fashion photography, the 1st thing you need to decide is what kind of fashion photography you actually want to do. There are different types of photography under the fashion photography umbrella:

  • E-Commerce
  • Advertising
  • Fashion editorial

Decide what you are most interested in, do some research, and find out about each of them and what appeals the most to you. If you aim at studio photography, look for tips covering studio lighting installation. If you are more about outdoor photoshoots, then look for street photography tips.

Shooting for a fashion editorial you are shooting for a fashion magazine, and they usually do not have that much budget for that.

Whereas in advertising you are working with a brand to sell a product which leads to earning more money.

A lot of photographers start in editorial in order to promote themselves for advertising campaigns.

Pet photography

This type of photography can be categorized as niche photography. The reason we added it to the list is that if you excel in a particular niche, you will be recognized more quickly due to low competition. Most people have pets, and many of them have entire photo albums for them. There are also specified pet photography directions literally by animal species. You can become a professional dog or cat photographer or more exotic and rare animal species. To do this, you not only need to know how to handle your camera and equipment but also understand how to handle different pets and how to get them to look into the camera and pose for a photo shoot. Everything else works on the same principle, as in the previously described careers of a wedding photographer, for example. You gain recognition, get social media, put your portfolio out, do targeted advertising everywhere, and earn from $15,000 to $60,000 a year on it. The average earnings range from $18 an hour. It all depends on your region, of course, so this information is better to google individually.

Photo Editor

The photo editor is not directly involved in taking photos, but in bringing the photo content to a state of publication and review in magazines, books, or websites. The photo editor himself can participate in photo sessions as an organizer, so you hire photographers for your organization, establish connections and contacts, and solve all organizational issues related to it. The quality of content supplied by your company will directly depend on you. That way you can get contacts with photographers and learn from their experience, as well as make connections for potential cooperation in the future if you decide to go into direct photography. If stock photography allows you to create a source of passive income, this profession will allow you to gain contacts and experience.

Photography career paths

Regardless of your chosen career in photography, there are certain things to do to begin your path.

  1. If you want to enter photography and make it a career, you have to have your website and all of your social channels ready. The reason for that is that we are in a different age now in terms of photography and the industry has changed drastically. A lot of photographers are found online through social platforms, while others are found through their websites and contacts through their friends and networks. But if you do not have those fundamentals available, it is really hard for our brands to discover you, and it is really hard for people to find you. So first and foremost get that website up and running, collect your best work put it up there together, and as much information as you can on your website, so people do not have to think too much scrolling through your page. Make sure you have pages describing your personality, why you are into photography, and also a page representing your best jobs done as your portfolio to look at.
  2.  One of the best ways to empower yourself as a brand or a photographer is by creating your own style – visual style.

When you work hard over the years, you end up creating your own certain aesthetic that will differentiate you from others. It could be not just the composition in your photographs, but also an editing technique that people could resonate with. By doing so, you create an environment where people recognize your work, and that is the most important aspect of becoming a photographer. That allows you to stand out and become recognizable, make a brand, and make your name in the industry. In order to create your own style, you have to think about a lot of things, you have to think about the way that you edit your images and the type of photos you are capturing, whether they are portraits or architecture. This will allow your future customers to identify you amongst the other photographers. The best way to understand this is to scroll pages of different photographers and you will start noticing certain key elements that really distinguish their feed and photos from everyone else’s.

  1. Be as creative as you can.

Try new techniques, do research to understand what photography is, and its rules of thumb, like leading lines, rule of thirds, lighting, etc. Learn about the settings in different conditions for different types of photography and how to make creative compositions based on that. Nowadays, technology is always one step ahead of our imagination, which is why being creative and finding the use of certain devices is the way to stand out. For instance, drones were not that affordable back in the days, but those who got one were able to do stunning shots. Nowadays, you can afford top-notch equipment like drones, photography lenses, and cameras itself more and the only issue is getting to know how to use it optimally.

  1. Collaborate with others.

Most of the time, it is hard to start on your own. There is nothing bad in starting as someone’s assistant or editor. That way, you can share their experience while doing your part and raise your own skills. Then you can start your own business based on that experience, or extend your and your partner’s business to new levels. Photographers also collaborate with filmmakers, doing stills for cinema advertisements. You can also collaborate with other photographers to do some interesting photoshoots together. It will allow you to share your experience and come up with new ideas. Do not be afraid to send e-mails or DMs to other photographers if you have interesting ideas for your collaboration with them. Initiate your conversations and become a part of something bigger than you could’ve done on your own.