How to Make Passive Income as a Photographer: Top 12 Recommendations

Learning how to make passive income as a photographer is a wonderful way to generate as much income as possible with your talent.

Regardless of if you’re a pro or a hobbyist, you’ll quickly learn there are multiple ways photographers make money with their skills.

Let’s look at some of the best ways to make passive income to help diversify your monetary stream.

Why Do I Need Passive Income?

If you’ve never looked into it before, passive income methods can help you live more comfortably.

Even most professional photographers make just enough to manage their living expenses.

Passive income is a fabulous way to pad your pockets with extra cash at the end of the month.

The best part about it is that it requires far less effort than your standard job.

With passive income opportunities, you’ll use your existing products or talents to make money in the background.

While you’re photographing a wedding, your digital prints also sell and bring in income.

How to Make Passive Income as a Photographer

Undoubtedly, there are several ways photographers take their talent and transform it into an income stream.

With the help of these ten fabulous solutions, you can earn even more without putting in as much effort as your main gig.

Below you’ll find a great passive income idea for all photographers to consider to grab a little extra cash.

1. Selling Lightroom Presets

With the popularity of social media and blogging, everyone is looking for ways to make their content stand out.

Lightroom presets are an excellent option for photographers to help their followers and hobbyists transform their photos for their socials.

Also known as filters, they’re most often made in Adobe Lightroom.

What makes presets unique is that you can make them on your own using your photography skills.

Customers can then purchase the photography presets to apply to their own photos, ensuring you earn income for your efforts.

All you have to do is develop a website to sell the presets on, and you’re good to go.

2. Managing Your Packages

If you’re a photographer offering packages for your customers to buy, you must have competitive prices.

There’s no doubt that photographers are everywhere, whether for baby photos, engagement photos, or wedding photos.

You want to make sure you’re offering the right services for the right price.

The best way to get an idea of managing your packages is to look at the competition.

When you have a clear idea of what other pros offer, you know what you can do to stand out.

You might find that adding an extra service can help you grab more of the market.

For example, if you’re offering a wedding shoot, you might include a complimentary engagement shoot in your professional photography package.

The top recommendations for things to include in your package are:

  • Reasonable pricing
  • Photo editing
  • Reasonable hours
  • High-quality gear
tips on how to make passive income as a photographer

3. Blogging

Blogging is as popular because it’s a highly monetizable hobby and career for many.

You likely already have a portfolio as a photographer, so why not begin a blog?

You can provide professional insider tips to your audience, helping to transform them into pro photographers at home.

Another massive benefit of blogging is that it can be a fantastic way to share your art outside your photography portfolio.

For example, if you’re writing a blog about shutter speeds, you can use your own photos to guide your readers.

You might be surprised to see how many people flock to your blog to learn more about your tips and tricks.

Apart from building an audience and offering knowledge through your blog, there are other ways it can generate income.

One popular way is affiliate programs, in which you blog about a specific product, link to the product, and earn revenue through your reader’s purchases.

Another popular option is to offer memberships in which your audience pays to access your written and visual content.

There are other methods you can make your blog generate extra income, such as selling apps, placing ads, or selling digital products.

Not to mention it’s a simple and quick way to connect with your audience and spread awareness of your talents.

4. Selling Prints

We slightly touched on this part when discussing blogs, as selling prints is a popular revenue stream for photographers.

In fact, plenty of artists sell prints as their primary source of income.

However, as someone just starting, it can be a helpful passive income stream.

All you have to do is set up a website that allows potential customers to browse through your collection of photos.

When they come across a shot they love, they can purchase it.

What makes print selling unique is customers can choose from different sizes, framed or not framed, and other customization options.

If you want to start small, you could always consider making the prints yourself rather than through a third-party service.

Although this will require more effort, it can be a great way to refine your printmaking skills.

5. Renting Your Gear

Did you know that it’s incredibly popular for photographers to rent their gear out to generate extra income?

Remember, cameras, lenses, filters, lighting kits, and other items are costly for an amateur photographer to buy.

With rental companies, prospective artists can get their hands on high-quality items for a fraction of the cost.

In fact, there are even professional photographers that rent specific pieces of equipment.

For example, renting one would be better than buying one if you need a specific flash for a wedding.

With that said, renting your gear comes with its fair share of hazards.

First, you’ll want to make sure you use a trustworthy service with experience connecting owners and renters.

Otherwise, you’ll be stuck trying to rent your gear in person, which leaves you open for theft.

Many reputable sites also provide insurance, ensuring your equipment is always returned in its original condition.

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6. Collecting Royalties

Like any artist, photographers can collect royalties on their photographs as an extra stream of income.

A fantastic way to get extra money in your account is to create promotional images.

Every time a company, blogger, or designer uses your work, they will have to pay you a certain percentage.

It’s important to note that beginners are unlikely to see many royalties, especially since your name isn’t renowned.

However, if you’re capable of creating eye-catching content that evokes the right emotions, you could get discovered.

This reason is why it’s essential photographers watermark their work.

If someone wants to use your content for their own profit, watermarks make it challenging to steal your digital images.

Instead, it ensures interested parties pay you a reasonable amount for your work, creating a reliable stream of income.

7. Selling Made-to-Order Merchandise

Have you ever wondered what your images would look like printed on a mug or a t-shirt?

If so, made-to-order merchandise is a hefty way to generate passive income.

There are dozens of high-quality retailers that will help you sell your pictures on stickers, mugs, lanyards, t-shirts, shorts, and more.

All you have to do is choose the products you want to sell, upload the photos to the platform, and the print on demand service does the rest.

Customers will select what they want to buy, and it will be printed and shipped directly to them.

What makes made-to-order merchandise unique is that you don’t have to worry about overhead costs while getting additional income.

You’ll have to pay a certain percentage to the company per order, but you won’t have to find storage for the gear yourself.

Also, you won’t have to worry about working with manufacturers along the way.

It’s a fantastic way to get extra income while keeping your hands out of the business.

8. Shooting Stock Photography

Slightly in line with collecting royalties, focusing on stock photography can be a great way to have your photos make money for you.

Stock photos are used in relatively every industry and are one of the most important parts of marketing.

From digital publications to physical billboards, stock images can sell a product or set an advertisement’s ambiance.

If you have a collection of generic yet high-quality stock photography, you can easily upload them to a site that sells the photos.

Alternatively, you could open your own site, so you don’t have to pay a percentage to another company per sale.

This option can often be preferred over collecting royalties, as it can be less expensive for purchasers.

9. Sell Wedding Guest Portraits

Undoubtedly, wedding photography is a large part of many photographers’ lives.

Surely, you’re getting paid to photograph the main event, but what about the rest of the evening?

The number of brides and grooms that wish they had pictures of cocktail hour and dancing is remarkable.

In these instances, you have two choices. You can either offer a specific package at a higher cost that covers the entire event or sell guest portraits.

You can get impromptu shots of guests looking their best during the hours when you’re not capturing the wedding.

You can consider selling them the prints afterward if they want to remember the moment forever.

Selling wedding guest portraits is a fantastic option because it covers two bases.

First, you’re generating an additional revenue source.

Second, you’re spreading awareness of your talent, which could get you more clients in the future.

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10. Selling Education

Every professional photographer has gone through trial and error, testing new tricks and techniques.

Likely, you’ve even done some research or attended classes to help refine your skills.

Why not offer other amateur photographers the same benefit by selling what you know?

Whether you decide to open your own workshops or sell photography help digitally, the options are endless.

You can create digital guides, online courses that you can do from home, or even host events at community centers.

It can be gratifying to help people pick up a new hobby or turn their hobby into a valuable profession.

11. Photograph Rental Properties

Photographing rental properties isn’t the most efficient method for getting passive income, as you’ll have your hands in the work.

However, it can be a second revenue stream that requires less effort than expected.

With the impressive number of short-term rental companies, prospective landlords are always looking for tenants.

What better way to get your property rented than to have professional photos of your property taken?

In most instances, you’ll be able to contact the company directly rather than working with individual landlords.

You can begin to build a client base to help you generate even more leads.

The better your photos are, the more likely landlords will recommend you to their friends.

Also, if they love your shots, they’ll use you for their other properties.

It can become a highly profitable way to get extra cash with great dedication.

12. Take Advantage of Contests

Contests aren’t a guaranteed source of income, but they can be beneficial if your talent is selected as the winner.

There are thousands of photography contests posted online annually, with prizes ranging from hundreds to thousands.

It will also require a little effort, as you’ll need to capture shots that meet each contest’s criteria.

If you want to make it even more passive, you can use your existing photographs as your entry pictures.

There are a few key benefits to signing up for contests outside of potentially winning prize money.

It’s a fabulous way for photographers to spread awareness of their brand and content.

When your pictures get posted on the contest’s website, many people will see them, especially if they’re watermarked.

It’s a sure-fire way to bring more traffic to your portfolio or site where you’re selling your prints, webinars, and other digital goods.

Making Passive Income Through Photography

When you begin looking for ways to figure out how to make passive income as a photographer, there are many options.

You can get very creative, from selling your prints online to having a more hands-on approach like hosting webinars.

It’s time you put your talents to good use beyond capturing memorable moments and used your talent to generate more income.

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