Pay & Salary

How Much Does a Photographer Make (And Ways to Increase Pay)

September 27, 2021

Photography is the perfect career choice if you're passionate about taking pictures and you want to develop your knowledge of this exciting field. As a photographer, you can capture people's magical moments with the aid of your camera. There's a chance to explore new places as you travel to meet your clients across the country and even abroad with the opportunity to work with industries outside photography. In this article, we answer the question, 'How much does a photographer make?', and explore ways to increase this value.

Related: Photographer Skills: Definition and Examples

How much does a photographer make?

If you're considering a career in photography, it can be important to know the answer to 'how much does a photographer make?' The average national salary for a photographer is £23,807 per year. This value can vary depending on your location, experience and whether you work freelance or for an organisation.

A career in photography offers the option to be freelance or to work as part of a company. Freelancers can exceed the salary earned through working as part of a company, but work is heavily dependent on having a good client base.

Related: How To Become a Photographer

What is a photographer?

The job of a photographer goes beyond taking pictures with a camera. Photographers use a wide range of expensive equipment and software to bring life to their pictures and to make them look high quality. Planning and research play a major role in a photographer's day-to-day life, which can include a discussion with a client to understand the client's needs and what equipment they need to fulfil these needs on the day. Photographers also use equipment to help with their work, from backdrops to stage lighting and camera lenses.

This career offers lots of choices to specialise, from working within social events, like wedding ceremonies, christenings, birthdays or family reunions, to fashion, helping designers to advertise their clothing range. There is also photography in the media and in editorial functions, providing images for books or magazines. Depending on the type of photography you choose to pursue, work often requires fitting around other people's schedules, so hours often include weekends. Photographers earn their living by making sure they take and edit images to a high quality.

How to improve your earnings as a photographer

There are a number of different things you can do to increase your earnings as a photographer. Consider following these steps so you can earn more for your photography work:

1. Increase your company's presence

A simple way to improve your earnings as a photographer is to increase your presence. Social media is great for advertising. You can quickly reach thousands of potential clients by creating a group and sharing this on your own homepage. As a photographer, having a page dedicated to your business is a great way to show your skills without having to share your personal life.

On your business page, upload images. Social media makes seeing your business journey easy to do, thanks to social media time stamps, helping you to see how well your company is developing. Likes and followers can also help you to see which types of images clients like and where you focus your work on (if you are new to the profession and are still finding which type of photography to pursue).

2. Create a portfolio and brand

Make sure the name of the photography company reflects the service and the impression you want clients to have of your business. Show a portfolio of your image work using your best samples which show you are capable. Include recommendations for past work (if you can), and after you have completed work for a client, encourage them to post a review. Advertise your company on local area pages.

Also, consider offering discounts to new clients so you can establish a relationship that can be shared through social media. If you complete the work, you might even be able to find clients from their recommendations. One of the best ways to gain experience and business can be through these relationships. For example, for wedding and anniversary events when people want to know and trust the photographer before the event.

3. Offer workshops and courses

There is always someone who is looking to become a photographer. If you have been practising a while, you could share your skills with beginners. Examples of skills you might want to focus on include helping beginners understand how to use a camera or more advanced skills like image software editing. Workshops can be set up to work around your schedule and can be held face to face or virtually (using video conferencing). Virtual meetings are perfect for those who are looking to minimise the cost of renting a space.

There are also online platforms that are set up specifically for industry specialists to create their own courses without interacting with their learners. This is also something which could be useful for those who are still trying to build their confidence when working with other people.

4. Sell images online

Selling your images can be a great way to earn additional income. A challenge for websites is finding images that show their exact service and in a unique way. As a photographer, your image might be exactly what fits the website's message to their clients. It's also simple to set up an account with a quick online registration on a website and then upload the images you're selling. After that, you can begin selling your images to a wider audience.

5. Make notepads or calendars

Something to consider is using your photography for creating your own notepads and calendars featuring your images. If you specialise in wildlife photography, you could make a calendar where each month features an animal. For other types of photography, featuring your images on the product might be a great way to advertise additional products, like a piece of clothing. If making your own products might be a challenge at the moment, you could always add your images to other items, for example, as part of a gift box for a valentines day present.

Related: How Much Does a Fashion Designer Make? (With Skills)

6. Attend events

Attending events can be great for meeting influential people, even if the event isn't photography related. Pack some samples of your work and business cards, and share your passion for photography with people at the event. There's always a chance that the people attending might need a photographer or even the event's organisers might take up your service for a future event.

7. Collaborate

Something you could also consider is to reach out to other photographers. Connecting with more established photographers can be great for gaining valuable advice, and there's a possibility of being offered work during busy periods. You could even offer help as a photographer's assistant where you support weddings and other important events to set up equipment and ensure everything runs according to plan on the day. The experience gained on the day can help build confidence.

8. Work with other industries

Joining with other industries can also be a great way to increase your likelihood of work, especially at the beginning of your career. Make-up artists and website creators are always looking for extra services to offer their clients. Some studios charge a small fee for renting their space, which can be a great way to advertise your services. Something else to consider is approaching small businesses to check if they need images for their business page or for leaflets to be posted to local residents.

9. Look professional

Showing professionalism online and outside in public is vital if you want to succeed in any customer-focused industry. Consider having a social media channel that is private to ensure clients can't see your content. When you are in public, be aware that the image you show outside does reflect your business.

10. Develop other essential skills

Developing other essential skills can benefit your photography work. For example, take a free creative writing class and use the newly formed skill in writing alongside your pictures or consider a marketing course and use the knowledge to improve your branding. This can help you further develop as a photography professional and offer a better service to your clients. In turn, you can charge higher rates because of your expanded skill set.

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