Making Money as a Photographer

Hey guys!


Today, I want to touch on a topic that not most photographers talk about. I’m going to go over how much I make as a part-time photographer, and I’m also going to start documenting how I transition from being a part-time photographer to a full-time photographer!

If you don’t already know, I’m a photographer based in Los Angeles, and have worked with multiple agencies to create stunning photos for their new faces, as well as their main board. Living in Los Angeles, it’s been hard trying to make a living from photography due to the amount of competition, so I actually worked as an Assistant Manager at a luxury apartment community to pay the bills, and then worked on photography as my “side-hustle”.

This worked for about 3 years, but after being so miserable at my job, I decided to quit to do photography full-time. It’s too expensive to do this here in Los Angeles, so I booked a one-way ticket to Seattle, and I’m going to be chasing my dream! All of this being said, I want to document what it’s like to have my own business, and all the steps that goes into making a living from photography!

This is something that I’ve been dying to find online from popular photographers, but it seems as though everyone beats around the bush, being very vague when it comes to how much money they actually make from their business. I don’t only want to cover how much I make, but how I made it! This will include how I reach out to agencies, how I market myself, and which tools I use to make the whole process easier for me, as well as my clients. I’ll even be going over my expenses to give a full idea of how much I’m making versus how much I’m spending.

I feel like this will be a great way for aspiring photographers to see exactly how the business works, and I also feel like it will be great for me to track my progress from when I started to see how I’m improving.

I’m going to post a financial report at the beginning of every month, to cover the financial information from the month before. It’ll be a great way for me to reflect on what I could improve in the future, as well as keep a journal of what has been working for me already.

So to start things off, I want to let you know how much I’ve made this year so far, as well as how much I’ve spent. Keep in mind that this is how much I’ve made from January 2018 up to now, not from what I’ve made this month. I won’t go into too much detail on how I made this money, but I’ll be going much more in-depth in future posts.

So far in 2018, I’ve made $10,543.78 from my photography as a side-hustle. This includes payments from:

  • Private photoshoots

  • Agency photoshoots

  • Patreon

  • Preset/Print Sales

Now, I know it might now seem like a lot, but so far I’ve been making around $1,200 per month from photography, only being able to shoot on Saturdays and Sundays. The way I look at it, at this rate, if I were to spend a full 40+ hours per week on photography, I’d be able to make around $3,000 per month. Obviously, this is only a projection of what I think I can make, but with the right work ethic, I’m confident I can make it work!

Even though it looks like I’ve made a pretty penny, I’ve also been spending a lot of money on photography, and it’s important that you remember to take these kinds of things into consideration. I won’t go into how much I’ve spent on photography since my situation will change once I’m in Seattle. That being said, most of what I spent my money on this year were:

  • Ubers

  • Workshops

  • Models

I feel like it will definitely be fun creating my own business and documenting everything I learn from the experience, and I hope you join me on my journey! Who knows, you might learn a thing or two!

If you’re interested, you can subscribe below to never miss a post on this series!

Until next time,

Tristan

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