Photography: how to go from hobby to a successful side hustle

That’s right. Who could say that there’s no chance that your hobby could also be the foundation of your first business venture? There are a lot of people out there who are in need of a good photographer to capture images of their son’s wedding, their daughter’s graduation or their very own wedding. Why couldn’t you be the one to supply your photography services to their needs?

For many hobbyist photographers, that is the dream!  To turn their passion for photography into a thriving business.  But how?  For the transition of photography from hobby to your very own business, there are several tasks that you have to accomplish first.  Over the many years of owning my own photography business (15 years – yikes I feel old) I have compiled a list on the very basic skills and requirements that you need to get you on the path to starting your own photography business. 

You will want to market your photography skills – Sell yourself, in other words! Let people know about what you can do in the field of photography, why they need your skills and why they should hire you. Make sure, however, that you charge them reasonable rates since you’re still more or less an amateur in the field of photography but do charge!  I have seen some many new photographers not charge in the very beginning of their businesses and it becomes a hurdle later in the life of thier businesses.  People start to get to know that you are not charging or that you are charging very cheaply and will expect that from you in the future, thus making raising your rates harder later. 

Next you will want to join photography groups – This could be the local photography club in your community or the association of young photographers in your school. It could also be a facebook Group or a photographer monthly club that you could easily join. Usually, these groups are able to hold regular or annual exhibits of their works and it wouldn’t hurt to expose to the world the beauty of your works in photography.

Another way to strengthen both your skills and see what other photographers are doing is to join photo competitions.  Two things that you could enjoy when joining photography competitions: fame and fortune. Both are equally important. Fame would do wonders to your career in photography because it would let the world know about your skills and winning a photography competition may also offer the prize of having an apprenticeship under a world famous photographer. And when it comes to wealth – well, when did extra money ever hurt?

Offer Your Skills For Free to Government Projects – The government is always on the lookout for professionals who are willing to work for free and you should take advantage of this. Offer your photography skills for free because this would give you the opportunity to show them what you got.

Offer Samples of Your Work to Newspapers and Magazines – This is just like joining a photography competition. When you offer samples of your work to newspapers and magazines, you’re improving the chances that you’ll get noticed by the people who matters.

Although we can’t say that the road to victory is easy, never give up, never stop taking pictures and you’re sure to go far!  If you are interested in developing your photo hobby into a full time business, I invite you to take a look at  Giliane Mansfeldt Photography Education.  We offer many classes for affordable pricing as well as a membership to the site.  Check it out!


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